Monday, April 21, 2014

Don't Sing Mom

"No sing," came the emphatic voice from the carseat in the back, "No sing."
Image courtesy of photostock /

It might have have been Oldest Girl's first sentence.*

It actually started before she had words.  We went to a "Mom and Me" class at the library once a week. All the babies sat on their mom's laps and we sang such classics as "The Wheels on the Bus" and "The Itsy Bitsy Spider".

Some of the babies grinned and giggled in pleasure waving their arms.  Some sat there bemused as their mothers manipulated their hands to do the motions.

Not my baby.

I tried to help her do the motions.  She pulled her hands away.

So I did the motions myself.  She turned around in my arms and swatted my arms down.

At least I can sing, I thought, singing out a little louder.

Nope.  She turned around again and put her hand over my mouth.


It was years before Oldest Girl let me sing without protest.

Now I'm no concert vocalist but my singing voice isn't that bad.  They let me sing in the church choir and I haven't noticed anyone wincing at my voice.  Babies are supposed to delight in their mother's voice right?

I blame it all on sleep training.

I got pregnant with Music Girl (who has never complained about my singing voice thank you very much) with all the morning sickness and exhaustion that entails while Oldest Girl was still a wee little thing who wasn't sleeping through the night.  I decided that for all our sakes this situation had to change.

I read all the many conflicting books on how to get your child to sleep from the "let them scream it out forever and lie in their own vomit if necessary" to the "just let them sleep with you and nurse constantly and learn to love it or you will damage them permanently" points of view.  Then I did what I always did in the end with conflicting parenting advice, whatever worked for me that I could live with.

So first I night weaned.  When Oldest Girl woke up in the night I would walk with her and sing until she fell back asleep.  Then I moved to singing without picking her up.  Eventually she was sleeping through the night.

Which. Was. Wonderful.

Except, it apparently lost me the right to sing to her.

The irony of it all is that my current job involves singing to small children.  I teach Creative Movement and my day is filled with me singing, often acapella to preschoolers.  And, if I may be so bold, I am good at my job and the kids love me and my singing.

Take that Oldest Girl.

*I can't be sure because I'm not the kind of mom who carefully wrote these things down in a baby book.  Instead I'm writing them down now, haphazardly, as I think of them.  This has the disadvantage that I don't remember everything perfectly but the advantage is that I can remember it the way I want too.

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