Lullabies with the Saints

Lullabies with the Saints

One of the most unexpected joys of motherhood has been singing to my children. I used to like to sing as a child. And I have fond memories of my mother singing to me. And then sometime when I was in those fragile teen years I was criticized for my inability to sing on key and I stopped singing so much. Oh I might sing along to something playing in the car or at a concert where the music was too loud for anyone else to hear; but I was always very painfully self-conscious.

But somehow having a baby to sing to changed that. They are so uncritical and accepting. They love the sound of my voice because I am their mother, love to hear me singing to them. Isabella was such a fussy baby and had such a hard time sleeping, I used to sing to her for hours. And when she got to the point of weaning, I would get her to go to sleep without nursing by rocking her and singing little made-up songs. My favorites were lullabies to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle and Frere Jacques that incorporated her name. And you know somehow in the past three years of singing unselfconsciously and with great joy, something happened along the way. I am no longer so self-conscious and I think I’m actually much better at following a tune and singing on key than I ever was before. Even my mom (who sings in the church choir) noticed and commented on it when she was last here.

Anyway Isabella has always been the child I really sing for and who begs me to sing. Sophie has been such a different baby, she was such a good sleeper there was never much need to sing and rock her to sleep. I think she’s missed out on that a bit. But now that she’s getting to the point of weaning, she’s wanting it a bit more. Recently she’s been not so happy at her nap time and bed time nursing. She wants comfort but the milk and suckling just doesn’t seem to be doing it for her. She nurses for a bit and then pulls off and looks to me for something else. Yesterday afternoon she just put her head on my shoulder and snuggled in so I began to sing to her and rock her gently. Within minutes she was sound asleep. I tried it again last night at bedtime and again at today’s nap. It’s so much better than the fights we’ve been having with frantic painful nursing that leaves me gasping in pain and her even more unsettled.

After putting them down for a nap Sunday afternoon, having rocked and sung Sophie to sleep without her once even asking to nurse, I sat down and wept a little bit to Dom. Overwhelmed by the beauty of holding her and singing and not having to fight and also with the new song that came to me just for her, a beautiful song prayer much like the one I sang for Bella but with it’s own special Sophie variations. Sad too as I realized that I’m finally having this tender experience I used to share all the time with Bella just as the new baby is about to come and oust poor Sophie from her place as baby. Dom reminded me that I can still hold Sophie and rock her and sing to her after Benedict arrives, but I know for at least the first few weeks post-surgery I won’t be able to do it so much and I don’t look forward to that difficult time.

Anyway, here’s something like what I sang to them today (I’m starting to try to put Sophie down in the same room with Bella since the baby will boot her out of our room where she’s been napping.) I make up each verse as I go along, adding, changing words, repeating with slight variations. It’s soothing for me too and becomes a prayer for both Bella and Sophie, and sometimes even a litany of the saints, sung from the heart.

O my Sophie, O my Sophie,
God made you.
God loves you.
Jesus and the Father and the Holy Spirit,
God loves you,
God loves you.

Go to sleep now,
Close your eyes now.
Cuddle your blankie.
Don’t be cranky.
It is time for nap now,
Hush and go to sleep now,
I love you,
I love you.

O my Sophie, O my Sophie,
I love you,
Daddy loves you
Bella, baby Benedict,
baby Francis up in heaven,
They love you,
Sophie, too.

O my Bella, O my Sophie,
I love you,
I love you,
Jesus and the Father and the Holy Spirit
Love you too,
Love you too.

Saint Sophia, Saint Isabella,
Pray for us
Pray for us,
Saint Benedict, St Joseph,
St Therese the Little Flower,
Pray for us,
Pray for us.

O St Domenic and St Melanie,
Pray for us,
Pray for us,
Holy Mother Mary,
Baby Francis up in heaven,
Pray for us,
Pray for us.


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  • Melanie, I not much at interpreting dreams so I won’t comment on that.  I just wanted to relate a personal circumcision story.    I know this is a loaded topic and every family has to decide for themselves.  I really struggled with it when it came to our first son, although it was a no brainer “of course we have to do it” for my husband.   

    Anyway, we adopted our second son as a toddler.    It was the first time in my life I’d ever seen an uncircumsized male and I have to say I found it a little bit “yucky”.    Well, he ended up needing major dental surgery under general anesthesia and our pediatric dentist, familiar with internationally adopted children, asked us if we were planning to schedule a circumcision while he was under.    When I told her we were, she whispered to me, “His wife will thank you some day.”

    I laugh every time I think about that.

  • This was a topic when I was pregnant with D3. I left it up to his father and said I would support whatever he chose. He still hadn’t decided and the kid was BORN.
    He talked with the nurse who said it’s really up to the parents, six of one half dozen the other, but it does eliminate the risk of cancer of the penis. While that is an exceedingly rare cancer, you wouldn’t want to be that one for the sake of circumcision.

    If you do, DO NOT USE REGULAR WIPES ON IT UNTIL IT’S HEALED. You will both end up in tears.

  • I know that feelings run strongly on the circumcision issue, though it hasn’t seemed to affect the quality of my marriage or of my son’s life so far… smile When I wrote about the circumcision in passing, I got a comment from someone affiliated with “Catholics against Circumcision”.  I know that there must be a group for everything, but that struck me as a bit odd.  As Christ himself was circumcised, isn’t it a bit odd to have a Catholic group against it?  I mean, it could be called “Informed Parents against Circumcision” or “Americans against…” or whatnot, but seeing as the Blessed Mother put her own son through the ordeal, it can’t possibly be sinful.

    On a personal note— I was prepared for the circumcision to be a wrenching moment for me, but it wasn’t really.  Jack was angry about the whole thing, but he didn’t scream in pain (and we all know what that sounds like).  In fact, it healed very quickly and mostly seemed to bother the changing parent rather than the changed infant.  And now he’s nine months and it’s just a fact.

  • My pediatrician likened the circ decision to baby girls getting their ears pierced.  She said it is a family decision, not a medical one.  Probably will be fine which ever way you decide.  Personally we have one boy circumcised, and two not.  So far, there have been no issues with any of it ( a few questions, but no big deal).