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Bedtime Songs

2013 August 28
by Becky

I’m putting Ethan to bed the other night after we’d brushed teeth, put on pajamas, read three books, white noise turned on, and I ask him what song he wants me to sing during his back scratch.

“Puff the Magic Dragon” he says.

I’ve never sung that song for him. The scene from “Meet the Parents” instantly play in my head. I figure it must be one of the songs Stu sings, so I start in.

“Puff the Magic Dragon lived by the sea…” and realized I did not know a single other lyric to this song. Is there something about a land of Tra-la-lee? Autumn winds? No clue.

So I made up some words, trailed off, and launched into something else. Later that night I asked Stu about the song.

“Oh yeah, I sing that to him all the time.” he says.
“Do you know all the words?” I inquire.
“Oh heck no, I know the first six words then I just make up the rest.”

Since then I’ve listened in to a couple bedtime routines and Stu does, indeed, make up words to the entire song. We’re talking verse after verse after verse. Completely different every time. That’s commitment.


In case anyone is interested, here’s a link to the actual lyrics. Trippy.

I’m happy to improve the occasional tune but tend to stick to one of Ethan’s other bedtime favorites like “Blackbird”, “Baby Mine”, Teagan’s Lullaby, “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, Butterfly, “Twinkle”, “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”.

And then there’s the variations on “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” (AKA “Sharky the Red Nosed Reindeer” and “Sharky the Sharp-toothed Sharky”).

Anything set to Rudolph will bring down the house.

Man those Christmas songs were tough to knock out of the routine. We somehow got it narrowed down to only Rudolph by explaining Santa and all Christmas characters went back to the North Pole. Though my favorite story about ending holiday music was my friend who told her snowman-crazed son, “Frosty melted” (she of course reminded him that Frosty will re-freeze next holiday season).

As much as I love the holidays, there’s a point when it needs to stop.

Whatever the tune, Ethan loves his bedtime songs. He expects back scratching, butt patting, and sweet melodies as he adjusts and re-adjusts his snuggle with Sharky. We are all too happy to oblige.

What’s your kid’s favorite bedtime song? Was it a song sung to you? Do you know the lyrics to “Puff the Magic Dragon?”

4 Responses
  1. August 28, 2013

    We sang the happy birthday song to the oldest for at least a year straight. The only variation was the name she would call out before we began – regardless of their actual birthdays.

    There was a song on an older discovery toys CD that might have been called “I Love You So Much” – anyway, it started with that line. I thought it was sappy at first, but once we started singing it, it seemed like the perfect lullaby.

    • Becky permalink*
      August 28, 2013

      One of my favs is a never-heard sappy song but I can’t help but sing it almost every night. Sappy is ok when singing to our babies. :)

  2. Barbara permalink
    August 28, 2013

    For many generations, my family has been singing a song called “Bye-o”. I have no idea if this was made up by my Great Grandmother Leslie, or someone before her, or maybe everyone sings this song. The tune is simple and you make your way through every person, animal, plant, etc. that you know. It just depends on how long you want to snuggle.

    The first verse of the song goes:
    Bye-o baby
    bye-o baby
    bye-o baby
    bye-o baby

    Pretty tough stuff! It is fun to hear who my kids want to sing about each night.

    • Becky permalink*
      August 28, 2013

      Very cute!! I love incorporating Ethan’s family and surroundings into songs. Very often things become “Ethan had a little shark” (sharks are a constant theme) and he is totally tickled. I’ll expect you to sing me the tune to this song next time we run into each other!!

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