I have never professed to have a good singing voice, yet I always find myself singing in the shower, singing along to songs on the radio or just making up silly little rhymes here and there. Boy, am I sure glad I do! It comes in handy every now and then when you might unexpectedly need "the gift of song."
Case in point: This past Thursday, I awoke at 6 a.m., once again to the sound of my daughter babbling to herself, telling me to get out of bed.
"Maaa ... ba ... ma .... DOH!"
I guess that means "Get up ... NOW!"
The problem: I had only gone to bed three and a half hours earlier, and although I was awake physically, mentally my body was not functioning.
On this particular morning, I was hoping she would sleep in 'til - oh, I don't know, maybe 8:30 would have been nice. But, whenever I hope or really want something to happen, it never does.
Emma, who is a vivacious 6-month-old, has her own sleep cycle now. Depending on what time she goes to bed, she will sleep through the night (I know, I'm lucky) and wake up anywhere from 6 to 8:30 a.m.
She will eat her delicious breakfast, which consists of pureed fruit and rice, and then she tops it all off with a yummy bottle. Then, she usually goes back to sleep until about 11 a.m. I did mention I was running on fumes that morning and that anytime I hope or really want something to happen, it never does, right?
Well, Emma has been a little cranky of late. Jeremy and I chalk it up to either her new diet or that she is teething. We're not exactly sure. Either way, on this particular morning, Emma decided she wanted to be a grump.
(I don't know how my sisters didn't hear her that morning.)
So I tried laying with her. Maybe that would calm her down and she would drift off into a deep slumber ...
OK. She didn't like that either. I tried to cuddle with her - oh no, here comes the bottom lip, forget that, not a cuddler. Maybe she wants a bottle. Sometimes she will fall asleep drinking warm milk.
For a little while there, she drifted off, shifting around with her blanket, rubbing her eyes. Her arms started to go limp - and then her eyes shot open, as if she knew she was drifting off into that dreaded land of sleep.
The next thing happened in three phases: Bottom lip, a little pout, and "WAHHHHH!"
On just three and a half hours of sleep, I was a bit more than exhausted that morning. I thought to myself, "You always go back to sleep. Why now?" And then, it just popped into my head. I would sing her to sleep! I was certain I would. And then it just came out.
"If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands!
If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands!
If you're happy and you know it and you really wanna' show it, if you're happy and you know it, clap your hands."
The crying stopped. She just looked at me, somewhat intrigued. I'm not sure if she was intrigued by what I was singing or by how awful my singing was - but the crying stopped. So I continued: "If you're happy and you know it stomp your feet ..."
I continued to sing for awhile, but when I was done, she still wasn't asleep. Those were the only two verses of "If You're Happy and You Know It" that I knew, so I made a bunch up.
Over the next 10 minutes, if Emma was "happy and knew it," she was to do the following: clap her hands, stomp her feet, walk the dog, take a shower, throw a potato, pick her nose, hide her face, jump around, do a dance, comb her hair and go to sleep.
Of course she just laid there, listening to every bit of the awful goodness I sang to her. When I sang the last verse, she was already drifting into La-La Land.
I just looked at her and smiled. I was overjoyed at the fact that I sang my daughter to sleep, and of course, I was able to drift off to sleep right along with her.
Sentinel reporter Tara Maguire can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.