Lullabies (HLD 248)

25 Nov 2020

The worlds best grandson (so far) is peacefully sleeping in the spare room, with the gentle sounds of piano lullaby music playing softly to distract him from the sounds of the coffee machine keeping Grandma alive.

When he was little (because he’s nearly 2 now and, as anyone who has to carry him around for any length of time will tell you – he ain’t little!), I sang him a particular lullaby. The words were largely irrelevant, but the tune was “The Battle hymn of the Republic”, which coincidentally happens to be the tune for the club song of two of my favourite sporting teams.

When I started singing a lullaby to this tune for him, I’d start off the first line always as “Little Baby Georgie really wants to go sleep”. There were then variations along this theme until the last line which was usually “so Grandma can have a coffee”.

Depending on how much Grandma really needed that coffee, was how sweet and kind the words of the song were. Sometimes the words chosen might have convinced anyone who understood them that Grandma may well be an axe murderer. Of course she isn’t, but as long as the tune stayed the same pace, and with the same peaceful tone of the singing voice, any number of dire threats could be issued.

The tune still works to settle him, although I haven’t had to use it very often now that he’s so much older. And is so much more aware of what grandma is actually saying….

I do hope, though, if he ever represents Subiaco playing football, that he doesn’t nod off during the club song..

When my own kids were little, the tune of choice for a lullaby was “Shortnin Bread”. The same threatening dialogue was again sung to a soft sweet tune – I believe from memory it went something like: “Mummy’s little baby is very tired, Mummy’s little baby wants to go to sleep” – because if they didn’t “Mumma’s gonna rip your arms off, your legs off, Mumma might rip your head off too”.

The song always kept Mumma amused and distracted her from any actual homicidal tendencies. Both children survived childhood.

Comedian Tim Minchin does a similar Lullaby on one of his albums – which for comedic purposes is actually a very sweet lullaby for a full verse or two before turning macabre. But I definitely related to it.

As long as the tune is slow paced and getting slower, and the singer doesn’t struggle to rhyme the word ‘dismember’, the sweet little cherubs pop off to sleep none the wiser 🙂

Until they get old and can read.

Do you have a similar lullaby story?

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