I’m tired. This comes from being a new mom. Pre-parenthood, I tried very hard to take care of myself in various ways – getting enough sleep, exercise, time to be alone and quiet – so that I could be fully present with my clients in music therapy and with my family and friends all the rest of the time. I’m still trying to do that, but the fact is I now have an adorable little human being who is depending on her parents for everything. This means I’m not getting much sleep – my attention span is very short – my frustration tolerance is much lower than I’d like it to be. I’m sure this is a familiar experience for all of the parents out there.
So what has been my musical saving grace in the last several weeks? Lullabies. You would think that as a music therapist, I would automatically know how to use music with my child, but I was definitely grateful to listen to the podcasts from my music therapist colleagues at A Perfect Lullaby. They reminded me of many benefits of singing to our baby: music is great for bonding with our child, soothing her when she is upset, and helping me to cope with my own frustrations and anxieties. Singing familiar songs such as “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” “Jesus Loves Me,” “You Are My Sunshine,” and (in this season) “Away in a Manger” comes naturally with the oh-so-automatic rocking motions, and since these songs are so familiar, I don’t have to think much at all to sing them. I don’t need an accompanying instrument, I don’t need to think about what key I’m singing in, and I really don’t have to think about the words since I can just hum if I want to. This is especially important for the sleep-deprived! My husband gets in on the singing action, too – no professional training required. (“Daddy’s Going to Buy You a Mockingbird” is his special song!) Plus, these songs that are so special now will continue to be special in our family as our daughter grows up, and maybe someday she will be sharing them with her own family in more precious moments. What a gift to be able to build these musical bonds, even when I can barely see straight!
What are the special songs you’ve sung to your little ones or that were important in your family? Please share in the comments section!