Hospitals should send a lyrics book or a CD of lullabies home with the parents of newborn babies. I know that I would have greatly appreciated some lullaby help the first night home after my daughter, Tara, was born in June, 1983.

After I had nursed her and put Tara into her little bedtime outfit, I was rocking her and trying my hardest to remember any lullaby to sing to her.

My mother had never sang to me, or to my two youngest brothers, so we grew up not knowing much about lullabies. So I continued to rock Tara, wracking my brain to see if I could remember any song, anything, to sing to her.

A lightbulb finally lit up! I did know the lyrics to one song, “Dream a Little Dream of Me” sung by Mama Cass Elliot. It seemed a little bit appropriate but it was the only song I could come up with at that time. Here are the lyrics:

Stars shining bright above you
Night breezes seem to whisper “I love you”
Birds singing in the sycamore trees
Dream a little dream of me

Say “nighty night” and kiss me
Just hold me tight and tell me you’ll miss me
While I’m alone and blue as can be
Dream a little dream of me

Stars fading but I linger on, dear
Still craving your kiss
I’m longing to linger till dawn, dear
Just saying this

Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you
Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you
But in your dreams, whatever they be
Dream a little dream of me

So that was the song that Tara best remembers me always singing to her. Tara and I have sung that as a duet in many karaoke bars and we usually receive rave applause. “Dream a Little Dream of Me” means a lot to both Tara and I.

However, several nights after I had started singing “Dream a Little Dream of Me” to Tara, I got bored so I once again searched through my brain for any other songs to sing to her. Then I thought of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”.

I began to sing that to her but my memory went kaflooey right in the middle of the song. I couldn’t remember all of the lyrics! So I eventually came up with what I thought were the right ones. I found out several years later how wrong I was though.

Here is my version of “Twinkle, Twinkle”:

Twinkle, twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the sky so bright
Like a diamond in the night
Twinkle, twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are.

When Tara was in 1st grade she was very upset one day when I when I picked her up after school. She said, with tears in her eyes, that her whole class had laughed and laughed at her because she had sung “Twinkle, Twinkle” all wrong in their choir. And that it was all my fault that they had laughed at her because she had only sung it the way I had been singing it to her for the past 6 years!

Amazed, chagrined and apologetic, I asked Tara, “Well, what is the right way to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle”? And so she sang it using these apparently standard lyrics:

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are.

I felt horrible for having been the reason why Tara’s classmates had laughed at her. Everybody but me apparently knew that those are the correct lyrics to that common song, oops.

But then as I went over the traditional lyrics and then my lyrics, I realized that I liked mine much better anyways. They were more poetically realistic and descriptive and just plain prettier, in my humble opinion.

So “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” has become a long-time running joke between Tara and I as the song that traumatized and scarred Tara for life.

But I still like my version better lol!


5 thoughts on “Lullabies

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