If someone were to ask me, "Auntie Vi, do you have some words of wisdom for young mothers?" The answer would be,"why, yes, I do. Sing to your baby."
I have always loved babies. Before I became a mother, I baby sat my godchild on my days off. I would play with her and sing to her all day long. When it was nap time, I’d hold her and sing her to sleep. She’d watch me with big brown eyes and raised brows, going to town on a pacifier.
I’ve sang to all my baby loves. I hounded my poor cousin Lizard after her son came along. I’d drop in on my way home from work to hold my little boyfriend for a few minutes. She was polite and said, it helped her start supper, but I had to be a pain. I’m a baby groupie, so what, ya wanna fight about it?
It doesn’t matter if you sing well, I sound like Lucy Ricardo, but babies think it’s beautiful. They watch your face, and mimic, I mean, you gotta sing like you was in one of them there Hollywood musicals. Not for nap time though, church songs sung soft and low are best for that.
Mel is 13 years old and will still sneak under the covers when she can't sleep and ask me to sing to her. Her first request is “Country Roads”, then “A, You’re Adorable”, and always “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” for the big finish.
I learned this from Dot. That’s right. She was not all bad, it would be wrong of me to let anyone think that. I’ll sure my kids will have negative things to say about me when they are compelled to share their stories. Mel will say I’m too over protective. Chris will say I nag her when she’s driving. That’s something else I got from Dot, back seat driving.
“A, You’re Adorable” is the song I remember Dot singing. She and I had a rousing duet of “Winter Wonderland” that we sang on any road trip, no matter the season. She’d sing Mills Brother’s songs to me, songs her Dad used to sing to her mother. She didn’t do hymns, but she knew some show tunes.
I think the world might be a friendlier place if people really did just break into song. Chris and I have a rousing rendition we do of “The Inquisition”. If you are riding in my car and “Drops of Jupiter” comes on the radio, I will kick you out of my car, if you do not sing along. (Friendlier place, see?) Other songs I must sing along with are “All-Star”, “Mohair Sam”, the “Jane” part in “Guitarzan” “Flowers on the Wall” “Tuesday’s Gone”, “Rock and Roll All Night”……….the list goes on and on.
Singing to your baby enhances bonding, at least it has in my experience. And the bonding continues. I’m amazed often by Mel, who has inherited her father’s by ear skills but has not tapped them yet, sings along with an oldie, every word and nuance. “Where’d you learn this song?”
“You used to sing it to me”