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Today, Melody, from Little Home Blessings, talks about song and how meaningful it can be for parents and for children. I too have been utterly amazed at how song has calmed my children and has helped them to do things they are resisting. In fact, if A Good Man wants to tease me, he often does it in a sing song voice… and I smile inwardly, knowing that Waldorf has seeped into his heart too.
Music Through the Day by Melody
Born the daughter of a dancer and musician, I didn’t come by the name Melody by accident. Music has always been a large part of my life and I’ve come to a new relationship with it since starting a family of my own.
One of my first memories as a mother was stepping into the shower for the first time after giving birth, starting to hum a song and reaching to gently rub my tummy, as had become my habit in the last nine months, only to be startled into remembering that my tiny boy was no longer there! It’s true that from the very, very beginning, I not only spoke to, but sang to all of my babies regularly. The songs that they became accustomed to in the womb are the same ones that soothed and comforted them outside.
With the birth of my second son, corresponding with my delving deeper into the Waldorf philosophy, I went from only singing lullabies at night, to singing throughout the day. By the time our third child was born, we had joined a family folk chorus and singing for the pure joy of it, with our community, had become a regular event for us. It was during this time that it became really clear to me what a vast difference there is between listening to music and making music. The music that we made spoke to us all in a way that the music we only listened to could not. I’ll never forget the day that my infant babe in arms started humming “Hot Cross Buns” with amazing accuracy, after hearing his older brother practice it over and over again on the recorder (with someone’s voice accompanying it, more often then not).
Another option is to make up your own little songs. An easy way to do this is to take a verse you know and make up a little tune to go along with it, or come up with some lyrics and sing them to a tune you already know! An example of this is my daughter’s bedtime song. It’s a silly little thing, but it brings her comfort and the ritual of singing it, every time I lay her down to sleep, is such an important part of our day. It always makes my heart swell to hear her little two-year-old voice singing it back at me.
Sung to the tune of “Rock-a-bye Baby”:
Mama, and Mairi na-nas* in bed
So Mairi can rest her wee sleepy head
Cuddle her gently, tuck her up tight
So she will sleep soundly, all through the night
*”na-na” is our word for nursing
Songs like the one above can also be useful for difficult transitions. For one of my children who hated getting dressed for the day, I made up this silly tune, sung to the tune of “It Had to Be You” (yes, really!):
It’s time to get dressed! It’s time to get dressed!
Put on a shirt, pull on some pants, maybe a vest.
It’s time to get dressed…it’s time to get dressed.
It’s time to get dressed, time to get dress, it’s time to get dressed…
One more very simple tune is the one that I sang one morning, many years ago, as some of the little ones were getting up. It was requested so many times after that that it kind of stuck. You’ll have to come up with your own tune for this one, as the tune I sing it to is my own.
Good morning! Good morning! Welcome to the day!
Good morning! Good morning! Morning’s here to say
(repeat 3 times)
Good morning! Good morning! Welcome to the day!
Good morning! Good morning! Let’s get up and play…
Sharing music together can also be a way to bond and connect during difficult times. I was extremely ill when my second son was a toddler. I was so ill that many days I was unable to get out of bed for any length of time. It was painful to know that his babyhood was passing by and that there was so little that I could do for him. On the days that I was well enough, when I had strength enough to sit up and breath enough to do so, we would sit together in the rocking chair next to my bed and sing. Some days, good days, we would go through a whole song book from cover to cover. That time was a ray of light for us both, during an otherwise dark and difficult period. I was so glad to be able to give him at least that one thing. And so very deeply, profoundly, thankful for having that time with him. Indeed it’s one of my favorite memories from his early years. One of the few ones that isn’t overshadowed by the stress of illness.
However you find a way to incorporate music and song into your life and your family time, I hope that you’ll enjoy the richness that the sharing of song can bring to daily life.
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I love your little songs, Melody. You show us that all we need is a tune we already know and some well thought out words, relevant to our own families. How very sweet… thank you for sharing your family memories with us.
Melody has a lovely blog, Little Home Blessings that is a treat visit. I have just spent the last hour drooling over all of the beautiful Birthday Sweaters she has made for her babies… oh, I wish I was a knitter.
Here are the other posts in the Discovering Waldorf series.
If you have a Waldorf related topic you wish to share on Discovering Waldorf. or wish to learn more about, pop me an email at vined(at)ymail(dot)com.
Blessing and magic,