Bedtime Medley

The paradox of bedtime is that a baby won’t fall asleep while you are thinking “Why won’t this baby go to sleep?!?!“. Though the longer it takes, the more you are driven to fixate on that question. Like zen meditation, you have to do it by intently not focusing on the task at hand.

I like to use music and a white noise machine when putting a baby to sleep. I don’t know if those have any benefits for the drowsy baby, but they help distract me while rocking the child back and forth.

When Calvin was born, I created a 50-song playlist titled Calvin’s Bedtime Playlist. I could trigger it by saying, “Alexa, play Calvin’s Bedtime Playlist”. It felt like technology nirvana.

The problem with a 50-song playlist is sometimes the change in themes between the end of one song and the beginning of a new one pique a child’s interest and interrupt the process. Also, starting a bedtime playlist through voice commands went downhill after Calvin learned to say “Alexa, pause! …Alexa, play! [giggle, giggle, giggle]

Also, a 50-song playlist ends.
Not great when a child wakes up at 2am to wonder where the music went.

The solution: play one song on repeat. All night. Do I get tired of listening to the same song for 12-hours in a row? No. Not if my child’s asleep, absolutely not.

As a result, my year-end music review looks like it was sponsored by the Serta Mattress Company. Last year I spent 1,000 hours listening to a single lullaby? Time well spent.

Some of our favorites:

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star | Super Simple Songs

How I wonder what you are.

TTLS is perhaps the OG lullaby. Way more mellow than rock-a-by baby with all it’s bow-breaking threats. The kids like to hoot with the owl at the beginning, and the part 1 minute in where the music swells somehow always fills me with wonder.

Super Simple Songs is a top-shelf children’s YouTube channel. Highly recommended over kid drivel like Blippi, or the juggernaut that is Cocomelon (did you know Cocomelon grosses $120M/year?).

Sandman | Ed Sheeran

​You were loved before you had arrived
And every day that love just multiplies
​Daddy made your bed and your lullaby​
And momma made the mobile in the sky

Ed Sheeran writing a song for his daughter – easy enough to picture.

I love imagining the multi-platinum Grammy-winner Ed Sheeran with a tiny allen wrench in one hand, some screws and wooden pegs in the other, looking up at his freshly assembled crib, then back at his hand to wonder “are these extras?”

Ikea furniture building is great. A quality premarital counseling recommendation I’ve seen is that the engaged couple visit Ikea followed by an afternoon assembling furniture together. If the couple doesn’t want to kill each other by day’s end, then what God has joined let no man separate.

Upward Over the Mountain | Iron & Wine

Sons are like birds, flying upward over the mountain.

The song’s perspective is a son addressing his mother, but the last stanza resonates with me about that son’s uncertainty at the prospect of becoming a father. So much of parenting is just trying hard and making it up as you go.

The Trapeze Swinger | Iron & Wine

But please, remember me fondly
I heard from someone you’re still pretty
And then they went on to say that the pearly gates
Had some eloquent graffiti

It’s the longest song I know without a chorus.

Just a handful of chords played over and over for nine minutes and thirty seconds. To me it’s one of the great American poems in 16 stanzas.

It uses one curse word, at 2:15. I used to sing the word along with the song, in the spirit of authenticity. I’ve reconsidered that as Calvin and Lawrence have learned to talk. Does it really matter if the think the eloquent graffiti on the pearly gates reads forget the man?

Angel | Jack Johnson

She could make angels,
I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
You gotta be careful when you’ve got good love
‘Cause the angels will just keep on multiplying.

Calvin knows all the words to this song. I don’t know think he knows it’s about Mommy yet. I laugh every time he draws out the “Oh-oh-oh-ohh, Mm-mm-mm-mmm,” at the end.

Beautiful Boy | Celine Dion

Close your eyes.
Have no fear.
The monster’s gone,
He’s on the run and your mommy’s here.

Hands down our most-played bedtime song. Our current bedtime routine involves bath, play, music, a story, and then dancing to Beautiful Boy. The dancing even has its own ritual: Calvin gets his tiger, I turn on the sound machine, he turns off the light, I start the song, and then he clamors for me to pick him up before the waves and chimes turn into chords. From there, I hold Calvin in my arms, rocking him back and forth for two listens.

Calvin sings the words, and even does the instrument sounds. He makes me sing too. If I absentmindedly sing Celine Dion’s your mommy’s here, Calvin corrects me that I need to say daddy’s here and makes me start the song over. I don’t mind. Sometimes I sing the words wrong just to hold him a little longer. How much longer will I get to do this?

Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) – 2010 Remastered

Life is what happens to you
While you’re busy making other plans

Calvin recently learned there are two versions of Beautiful Boy: John Lennon’s and a cover by Celine Dion.

(Or as Calvin says, “the original one and the Beatles version”, having been introduced to the Celine Dion version first and not yet fully comprehending that the Beatles broke up).

For what it’s worth, I like the Celine Dion version better for bedtime purposes. It’s shorter, and “the Beatles version” ends with 10 seconds of recorded silence – real frustrating if you are trying to figure out whether you put the song on repeat like you were supposed to.

Bedtime Medley Playlist

Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star Introduction

If you’ve read this far, Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star is a pop-music lullaby cover band you should also check out if you haven’t heard them before.

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