Every night, Fatty and I put our kids to bed in the same way. It is a fairly elaborate ritual involving two books being read aloud, two made-up stories being told, and then a song being sung to each child in their bed. We have friends who laugh at our folly, and think we are nuts for committing to this complex bedtime pattern. My friend KP tells me sternly that she has a strict 'one book, then bed' policy. But I like our carryings-on. It is a time when I focus completely on my kids - snuggle with them, chat with them, and sing to them softly.
When I was a little girl, my mother sang to me every night. My favourite song would change over time. At one stage, Mum would sing 'Yellow Bird' to me each night. There was one part of the song where she didn't know the words, so she would sing,"da-da, da-da-dum, da-da, da-da-dum.... you're more lucky than me!". Now, I sometimes sing this same song to Laura. For ages I sang the 'da-da, da-da-dum', too. Now I have googled the song, and know all the words. Funny, though...it doesn't sound as comforting without the da-da's.
When Fatty sings the bedtime songs, he often sings the first 2 verses of a song called 'Two Little Boys'. It is a sweet, sweet song, that brought tears to my eyes the first time I heard it. To hear my children singing these words in their their lisping, clear little voices...it is one of the most beautiful sounds I've heard:
Two Little Boys by Edward Madden (first two verses)
Two little boys
Had two little toys,
Each had a wooden horse;
Gaily they played
Each summer's day -
Warriors both of course.
One little chap
Then had a mishap,
Broke off his horse's head;
Cried for his toy,
Then cried for joy
As his young playmate said:
"Did you think I would leave you crying
When there's room on my horse for two?
Climb up here, Jack, we'll soon be flying;
I can go just as fast with two.
When we grow up we'll both be soldiers,
And our horses will not be toys,
And I wonder if we'll remember
When we were two little boys."