Tag Archives: lullabies

daily autism : SLEEP 2/3 – the toddler years Or the sleepy train is pretty late tonight. oh well..

This is a 3 part series about SLEEP in our house. Today – as a toddler.

Before Nemo was one year old, our ‘precarious domestic situation’  (sic), ended and we went into a phase of tremendous changes, adventures even: There were reasons for me to be rather unsettled and worried.  We went on extended overseas travels due to severe family illness and for immigration, we moved house a few times. Finally, we fully settled in Australia and ‘we got married to Awesome’.

Looking back, I believe I managed to do one thing : For Nemo, these were years of safety, activity and presence. He finally slept his nights through. We spend our days outside, on playgrounds, in parks, exploring cities, meeting children, people, animals. Wherever we lived, we played, read and crafted together. Every day. He was a very happy toddler in a happy toddler world.

And bedtime ? The ‘sleepy train’ I had been waiting for in vain for so long now came in the form of clear, understandable signals! So easy : standing one hand holding his head meant “uh, getting tired”; holding his head with two hands meant “ready for my bed !”. And it looked pretty cute too.

Now I remember clearly my parents’ “You’re tired. Time for bed” – always when little me was ready to party with the grownups! (Or so I thought). Not so with Nemo. With or without regular naps in the day, most nights, Nemo was happy to be put in his (travel) cot, and after some bedtime routine, it was ok for me to leave the room. Did he fall asleep ? No.

he would stand for hours in his cot and play with his hair, as if he just needed a bit of ‘a moment’ to think about the day.

My son has never ever fallen asleep while I was reading to him. He would occasionally fall asleep with a song – or the repetition of the same song for a good 20 min – on a very tired day. But most days, he would just stay awake – forever. Peacefully, he would sit or even stand in his cot and play with his hair, like he just needed a bit of ‘a moment’ to think about the day. And that moment lasted an hour or two…I would check stealthily, passing by his half-open door – and he would look right at me, like a little ghost!


But actually, I wasn’t worried about it. Ever seen the horror scenes of kids in “supernanny” not going to bed? Exactly. He got lots of sleep with the naps in the day.. Certainly, this would somehow arrange itself ?

Next part : sleep today.. shortly here.
Read here about Nemo, “Like a baby. Sleep.. pretty PLEASE!

"The Banks of the Ohio" – a strange lullaby…

Do you still sing lullabies for your little ones ?
I will just assume you do. Anybody should sing, at any age. No matter how.
Everybody should sing to and with children.
motherbirdSo I come from a musical family and it came instinctively to me to sing some soft and gentle song to my newborn right from the first time I held him in my arms. (Ok, maybe the next morning because the first day my voice was a bit off from all the screaming with all that pain…)

Now, to start off, like most of us I guess, I would sing the old tunes that my mother sang to me and here I was, humming traditional German lullabies.
I had to read up some lyrics, but, cradling my bundle of happiness, it was total bliss.
A few months down the line, going to sleep still was a little bit of an issue to say the least, and singing these same old songs over and over again would have given me a serious headache. Not to mention that I had in the meantime figured out that my son fell asleep almost instantly on “white noise” from the radio…
But my bedtime routine (battle) still included a lot of singing.
I extended the repertory.

First, as an expat,  I added the most common French ‘berceuses’, with the help of my local nanny (i was working back then).
Yeah, jolie et tout, but nothing very exiting here either.
I soon moved on to singing whatever slow and sweet song or ballad I could think of, folk songs, shanties, blues, you could say my son was doing the full Baby Einstein experience at bedtime.  (I’ll be back on that!)

One of those random songs was “Banks of the Ohio”. A very melodic US traditional, written by no one in special, interpreted and recorded by many. Now I must say to my defence that most probably I have learnt this song when – to my mother’s pride and delight – I was the angel-like preteen voice to my brother’s guitar playing..around 1980? Before I learnt English too.


Johnny cash may or may not have sung it in Folsom Prison.

I always only remembered the first verse. The lyrics were a bit odd but it allows fun variations for a female voice. I go for it pretty ‘country’ most times.  “I asked my looooooove, to take a waaaaalk…” and so forth. Well.

I recently started singing it again. My son now really likes it!  We are almost getting a real polyphony going  but also have a lot of fun with all the ‘loooove’ stuff. He figured out some ‘actions’ (gestures) to accompany the words.
But..we still only sing the first verse and those of you that may know the song, would know why. It’s not really a love song.
It’s a murderer’s ballad.
Yep. Maybe as a teen, he’ll think it’s kinda cool. But now he’s 5…

Wikipedia about “the banks of the Ohio” (with lyrics)
Olivia Newton-Johns version on youtube
Article on how popsongs replace lullabies (askamum.co.uk)

Have you taught your kids any weird songs at a somewhat inappropriate age or did your toddler pick up on some uncensored rudeness that came on the radio ? I have more examples (worse?), I can’t be alone with this?