When Amanda was pregnant with Ezra our interests in music took a slight detour. We continued listening to the same types of music we always enjoyed, but heard songs from a new perspective. We would listen to a song, in most cases one we had heard dozens or even hundreds of times, and realize, “this song could be a lullaby,” a genre we previously did not need in our lives.
We sing to Ezra to help him fall asleep. This is a playlist of our bedtime songs:
Some of the songs, like Puff the Magic Dragon and Rainbow Connection, are common choices for a lullaby playlist. They are songs from our own childhoods, and Amanda and I probably filed both in our brains long ago as songs we would one day sing to our children. The rest of the playlist came from songs Amanda and I heard while she was pregnant or Ezra was an infant, and we recognized their potential to sedate.
As we look back at the playlist, we realize that the melodies of many of the songs may be calming, but the lyrics less so. The songs deal with intense subjects like social injustice, racism, unfit working conditions, drug use, poverty. These are not peaceful topics, and may explain why Ezra takes so long to fall asleep.
In our defense, the lyrics are pretty subtle. They seem more likely to soak into Ezra’s subconscious and encourage social awareness rather than encourage nightmares. Then again, maybe effective lullabies are meant to unnerve.
The most traditional song in the genre begins with a soon to be slumbering child peacefully rocking to sleep. He then crashes to earth “cradle and all.” Why is the baby sleeping in a tree anyways? This is the type of scenario that would keep me awake at night not put me to sleep.
Now that Amanda is pregnant again, we are thinking about new lullabies. We listen to music, and we search for the songs that might be the perfect addition to our new baby’s bedtime playlist.