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)

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