sovay: (Default)
sovay ([personal profile] sovay) wrote2017-03-10 07:21 pm

זאגט זשע נאך א מאל און טאקע נאך א מאל

Barring the presence of two cats in my cousins' house, I am at the moment entirely alone with a baby for the first time since my niece was the right age: [ profile] rushthatspeaks has gone to pick up [ profile] gaudior from work, leaving me (not unpleasantly) with a tired, slightly fretful, not yet sleeping Fox. The good news is that Yiddish folksong has once again demonstrated soporific properties where this small person is concerned: after listening attentively to "Oy Dortn, Dortn," "Tumbalalayka," "Dona Dona," and "Sheyn Vi Di Levone," they conked out on "Oyfn Pripetshik." It made me happy because that is one of the oldest lullabies in my family: I learned it from my mother who sang me to sleep with it, as her mother did with her, and her mother before her. Then I finished the song and they promptly opened their eyes. I picked up the song again and they blinked sleepily out. I stopped singing. They made a small noise. I started singing. They went back to breathing quietly. Repeat. At this point I have spent the last ten minutes or so humming whatever comes into my head in the superstitious fear of waking the baby if I stop. Maybe their parents will come home soon. [edit: Thank God, they did.]

"I must have played, sung, whistled, and hummed everything I ever knew, and twice over. I was sure I'd have to keep plucking and strumming for the rest of my life."
—Lloyd Alexander, The Castle of Llyr (1966)
yhlee: Flight Rising Spiral dragon, black-red-gold (Flight Rising Jedao baby Spiral)

[personal profile] yhlee 2017-03-11 01:59 am (UTC)(link)

When the lizard was a baby, she didn't fall asleep to song. She insisted on being picked up and walked around for up to an hour. If I stopped at any point, she would wake up and cry and I would have to start over from the beginning. I have noodle arms, but I discovered that when absolutely desperate for the baby to fall asleep, to say nothing of the necessity of not dropping the baby? Even noodle arms will hold out.
thistleingrey: (Default)

[personal profile] thistleingrey 2017-03-11 03:41 am (UTC)(link)
hee. Yay, folksongs!
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (Default)

[personal profile] larryhammer 2017-03-13 03:18 pm (UTC)(link)
the superstitious fear of waking the baby if I stop

Oh do I know that feeling ...

[identity profile] 2017-03-11 01:04 am (UTC)(link)


[identity profile] 2017-03-11 02:01 am (UTC)(link)
This is the unique enchantment that babies can cast. <3

[identity profile] 2017-03-11 05:35 am (UTC)(link)
You set a very high bar for future lullaby-attempters! Fox is going to have very high expectations of what a babysitter's singing should be like.

[identity profile] 2017-03-12 06:13 am (UTC)(link)
Apparently as soon as I could talk at all, I told my mother (who indeed could not carry a tune very well) not to sing me lullabies because she sang them wrong. Dunno if our babysitter could sing any better; it has only just occurred to me that that might have been why I had any other idea of how the tune should go. I must ask my older siblings if D. ever sang to us.
drwex: (pogo)

[personal profile] drwex 2017-03-13 07:27 pm (UTC)(link)
That's adorable. By my parents' generation the Yiddish lullabies had largely fallen by the wayside in favor of folkie tunes so I got only Tumbalalayka and failed to pass that on to my kids. I am now somewhat wistful about all that, but there you go. Maybe if my kids let me near grandkids some day I can make up for it :)

[identity profile] 2017-03-14 06:46 pm (UTC)(link)
There's a phenomenon here where the toddler only falls asleep if I'm sufficiently focused on the song I'm singing, or at least something-calm-and-not-whether-or-not-she's-sleeping. I don't know how she can tell.

On the other hand, I can generally stop singing only a couple of minutes after she has fallen asleep.

So I think I come out even?