One of the first songs I adopted as a lullaby for Z was, “Lion Sleeps Tonight”.

There is a very practical reason for that choice.

There is a lot of… “scatting”? The “we-mo-way” and “de-de-de-de” that goes in between actual words allow for a lot of variations and extensions when Z has not fallen asleep by the last verse.

Other songs I know and sing include “Gypsy” by Suzanne Vega, and “Empty Chairs” by Don McLean.

Yes, in my mind, I sing like these a cappella soul singers. 🙂

This video of Don McLean is of a younger McLean and his early interpretation of Empty Chairs.

But this is the versionI “hear” in my head and sing to Z.

The version sung by the younger Mclean lacks the pathos and the poignancy of the older Mclean. The younger interpretation has more flourishes and “extravagance”. There is an “arrogance” (?), an invulnerability that comes from never having been truly hurt, never having experienced truly heart-breaking loss.

The older Mclean’s interpretation seems tinged with experience and perhaps even pain or loss. It is sung more simply, more from the heart, and speaks more personally.

I was just going to embed one video of “Empty Chairs” and I found the younger one, and it felt lacking. So I search further and found the one I wanted.

Then I found the contrast in interpretations quite profound and enlightening. So I decided to include both for a study in contrasting interpretation.

So… basically three lullabies. I can sing them from memory.

It is an amazing sense of accomplishment when I’ve been rocking Z for a while and she’s been crying and seems inconsolable… or is JUST BEING A NUISANCE! (And yes, she does “fake cry” for attention), and I just start singing one of the songs and she stops crying.

Sometimes she wakes in the night crying and looks for me. I think she might have had a dream that I abandon her. Or sometimes she wants PL. Same dream, different abandoning parent.

She must be a mess of insecurities.

When she wants me to carry her, I would usually sing her to sleep and it is incredibly gratifying to have her fall asleep on my shoulder, or cradled in my arms.

Except then I’m stuck carrying her, because if I try to put her down, she would have “altitude sickness”, know that I’m putting her down and wake up. And reach for me.

Gratifying. But hell on the arms and back.

Here are two other songs that would make good lullabies. Except I can’t sing them. Don’t have the voice for it.





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