Which lullabies do you sing to your child? We recently started singing one that works like magic…

When Toby was a newborn, I would sing The Beatles’ I Will, which always made me weepy. The lyrics are really sweet when you imagine them coming from a mother to her child. Another favorite of ours has been Edelweiss. By the way, did you know the song is not actually an Austrian folk song? Instead Rodgers & Hammerstein composed it solely for the Sound of Music.

But the song that Toby is most crazy about—and requests every single night—is a “Toby song.” My mom used to sing us similar songs to us thirty years ago. It goes like this…

1. Choose any basic melody, such as Twinkle Twinkle.
2. Then make up words every night to tell a story about your child’s day or week—say, how you had pizza for dinner, how you went on a plane, how Daddy played his guitar.
3. My mom would always end with the line, “Mommy loves Joanna, Sweet and kind and gentle, Mommy loves Joanna, Sweet as she can be.”

Thirty years later, I still clearly remember my mom singing these songs to us. I remember how soothing it was to hear someone sing about your life—showing how much they “get” you—and then hear how much they love you. We now sing these songs to Toby every night at bedtime, and the promise of a “Toby song” actually makes him WANT to get into bed.

The funny thing is, even though the songs are simple, they can teach you so much about your child. Toby will request topics that I never would have thought he’d care about, like a time when Alex took him to Uniqlo and Toby hid in the jackets. And even once I’m singing about an adventure we had, he’ll add funny details that I’m surprised he even noticed, like how my mom’s husband wore goggles into the swimming pool, or how we put onions in guacamole. You really get to know your child through these songs in ways I hadn’t expected, and it’s a lovely way to reminisce about the highlights of your day (or week, or month). Thanks again for the idea, Mom!

Here’s an example of a current favorite…

Toby, Daddy and Mommy
Walked with the stroller
To the restaurant
To meet Raj and Kaori

We sat down at the table
Looked at our menus
Toby chose oatmeal
With raisins and yummy nuts

Daddy got french fries
He let us eat some french fries
Raj and Kaori got sandwiches
And mommy got some soup

We talked and laughed with our friends
Raj and Kaori are our good friends
Then it was time to leave
So we said thank you to the waiter.

That’s it! :) Which lullabies do you sing to your child? I’d love to hear (and get more ideas)…

P.S. 25 genius parenting moments and and the funniest bedtime book.