Nursery rhymes and lullabies

Sur le Pont d’Avignon
On y danse, On y danse

That may be all I remember of this song I learned serving a French mission, but I used to sing it to my mother while we “danced” when I was helping her from her wheelchair to the ladies room in the last couple months of her life. I was grateful that it came to mind some 25 or so years after I first heard it, in the nick of time to help her feel (I hope) just a little more comfortable about one of the aspects of her progressing illness that made her the most uncomfortable. So not a lullaby, but hopefully appropriate for someone at the final lullaby moments of their mortal life.

Way up in the sky
The little birds fly
Way down in their nests
The little birds rest
With a wing on the left
And a wing on the right
The little birds sleep
All through the night
Shhhhh, they’re SLEE-PING!
The BRIGHT sun comes up!
The dew falls away
GOOD MORNING! GOOD MORNING!
The little birds say

What is the opposite of lullaby?
I used to sing that to my children, who were inevitably in bed with me, when they awoke. Admittedly, I took some pleasure in singing this rather loudly, especially when we lived in the basement of my night-owl cousin whose roommates sometimes kept us up at night.

Of course my daughter Lindsay, who I often called Susie (short for Susie Q and only one of a handful of terms of endearment she heard from me), got this one:

Wake up, little Su-u-sie,
Wake up!

I’m not sure they would remember, but any one of my children would often here “You are my sunshine” from their mother’s lips. I couldn’t always finish with without choking and tearing up a bit.

I also used to sing the mockingbird song, but I would make up new verses that felt more positive.

Itsy Bitsy Spider and Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star are favorites we like to play and sing with for James along with the animation on YouTube.

If The Three Bears counts as a nursery rhyme, then my older kids should know that quite well, as I used to tell them the story as if they were in it sometimes. They used to wake me up with “Mom, don’t sleep. Finish!” as my words would slur together because I was always so incredibly tired.

Finally, let’s you can take the nursery out of the rhyme, but rhymes are good for a lifetime. I just loved rhymes. And would often make up phrases with rhymes mid conversation.

Wordplay is one of my love languages. I hope my kids felt the love.

[Day 82 of Ann Dee Ellis’ 8-Minute Memoir.]

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