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Lullaby Karaoke

I’ve read about moms who invent handy gizmos for other mothers and make a mint from the small businesses that grow around their inventions.

My contribution to the genre–which I will never produce–is lullaby karaoke. Simon loves to be sung to. The problem is that I now realize most songs come in a few distinct categories:

  1. Appropriate lullaby songs I don’t know the words to: This happens to me all the time; it sounds like this: “There are places I remember, da da, ta da, la, la, la, la..Though I know I’ll often stop and think, ta, da, da….In my life, ta da da ta” Abort. Great song–too bad I don’t know it well enough to sing it. Sigh.
  2. Inappropriate lullaby songs I know all the words to: “I’m back in the USSR, You don’t know how lucky you are, boy, back in the US, back in the USSR…” Not the material to get Simon to sleep with. But of course, I know every single word. Sigh.
  3. Great songs I know the words to but can’t sing: Another classic. I’m halfway through some k.d. lang song or a show-tune when it happens: I come to the note I cannot hit at all. I croak or squeak–depending on whether I’m reaching too high or too low for me– wince, and then try to think of a better song to sing. Sigh.

After several weeks of singing, I realize that the repertoire of songs I can sing, know the words to, and are appropriate is very, very limited. On a typical night, I start with the one lullaby I know the words to,”Little Goldie Goldfish.” Then I run to lullaby-like showtunes “Dites Moi” (South Pacific) or “Edelweiss” (The Sound of Music”. After a few of these, I run to a couple of gentle pop tunes like “Yesterday”.

Then I start to panic, as Simon’s lids are getting heavy and any break will result in his awakening. “What else can I sing?” I’ll sing to Simon. “What else do I know the words to?”

Somehow, inevitably, this is when I end up reaching to the Hebrew songs I learned as a kid from camp, Hebrew school, B’nei B’rith, etc. They are all in the minor key, I can sing them all, I know all the words, and being in Hebrew means I can zone out and not focus on the meaning. Who cares what they are about?! I’ve caught myself singing everything from Shir HaMa’alot (Psalm 121) to Hatikva (Israeli national anthem) to Taps in Hebrew. Seriously. And seriously disturbing.

What’s needed is a lullaby karaoke machine. I don’t need to be entertained with odd videos shot in some Eastern Block nation, I just need backing music, quiet vocals to help me out, and scrolling lyrics to keep me on track. Can someone please invent that? Because honestly, I think Torah readings I learned for various Bat Mitzvahs are up next.

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