Songs I Use For Lullabies and What Makes Them Work

So I haven’t been around lately to do some blog work. It’s really my fault, because I like to do more stress-relieving things in the spare time I can manage instead of trying to intricate words. (It also seems to get harder and harder every day, on account of all the baby talking.) But apologies aside, here’s some interesting information.

Having a child will drastically decrease your self-consciousness about singing in front of other people. Sometimes that’s the only way they’ll stop fussing, or other times there’s nothing to really fill in the gaps between oohs, aahs, and blank stares. Whatever the reason, it’s a good thing, because songs are obviously God’s gift to mothers.

Now, my personal philosophy is that every old, cliche lullaby is entirely overrated. I don’t want to be singing them over and over. I’m not interested in rocking babies and diamond rings, I’m interested in songs that won’t drive me crazy. Trust me, when you’re singing a song you actually enjoy and has more meaning than implying you’ll buy things for your child or that they’re going to fall out of a tree, it’s a lot more enjoyable to bond through music. So I’ve developed a short list of appropriate songs and why I use them.

The Only Exception by Paramore:

When I was younger I saw my daddy cry, and curse at the wind.
He broke his own heart and I watched as he tried to reassemble it

And my momma swore that she would never let herself forget.
And that was the day that I promised I’d never sing of love if it does not exist.

But darling,
You are the only exception
You are the only exception.

The reason for this song is for a few reasons. The first being that it hits home for me, and the second being that my baby tends to smile brightly every time I repeat “only exception”. The point is that it’s a song I enjoy, on top of being something slow and perfect for us to have a quiet moment with. That brings me to my second song:

Anything For You by Ludo

I’ve gotten drunk and shot the breeze with kings of far off lands 
They showed me wealth as far as I could see.
But their kingdoms seemed all shrivelly and they cried with jealousy 
When I leaned in and told them about you.

This song might not be as slow or lullaby-worthy as some of the other songs on this list, but it paints a beautiful adventure with eloquent words that will be fun for her to listen to for years to come. It talks of travel to all the corners of the galaxy and the willingness to sacrifice anything for one person. I think that is one of the best definitions of love.

They Call Her Blossom by Philter

They call her Blossom
They call her winterstorm
They call her blade sharp
They call her soft, and silky

While not being a very wordy song or that complicated, They Call Her Blossom tells a simple story about a girl with a strong personality whom everyone would love. Out of all the songs on my list, this is probably the most lullaby worthy – Unfortunately, it’s not very long, and because of this I tend not to sing it as often as I sing the next song.

Homeward Bound by Marta Keen

If you find it’s me you’re missing, if you’re hoping I’ll return,
To your thought I’ll soon be list’ning; in the road I’ll stop and turn.
Then the wind will set me racing as my journey nears its end,
And the path I’ll be retracing when I’m homeward bound again.

Oddly enough this is a song I sang in my Vocal Ensemble in middle school. It is one that’s always stuck with me, and as a result it’s my typical first choice. Yes, it’s probably about a horse. No, I don’t own a farm. This song is full of analogies that can be interpreted in many ways but every way says “I love you.” Nobody can dispute that. The next song carries some of that same message.

The Call by Regina Spektor

It started out as a feeling, which then grew into a hope
Which then turned into a quiet thought, which then turned into a quiet word
And then that word grew louder and louder ’til it was a battle cry
I’ll come back when you call me, no need to say goodbye

This song tells a message about constant changes in life. It states that sometimes, things will change, but that those things could have been that way already without realizing it. It says to remember where you come from and not to be afraid of where you’re going. On top of being a soft song by the queen of soft songs, it comes from The Chronicles of Narnia, which will be a fun addition to my baby’s knowledge base as she grows older.

There are plenty of other songs I have yet to encounter that I may sing sometime. These are simply my top 5…if I had made the list any longer I’m sure it never would have made it up onto the blog. I hope that you’re imaginative in coming up with lullabies for your children. Or don’t be. It’s entirely up to you. I just know that the way I do things is perfect for me, and for my little Lilly. And that’s what counts.

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Colic, and What I Did About It

I love my little girl, but recently she’d become a drama queen around bedtime. Right after the boyfriend went to bed, she resorted to (in a slow buildup) waking up, trying to feed, unlatching, trying to re-latch, and failing. Eventually she just began to shriek inconsolably and wildly flail her little arms around.

Research on the internet revealed to me that yes, my baby had colic. More research gave me suggestions for causes and treatments. There are a million and one ‘remedies’ for colic…and just as many causes, so I didn’t know what started it. She was fine, she was happy. During the day she rarely fussed and even more rarely cried, mostly resorting to more friendly vocalizations like cooing in order to get what she needed from me.

At first I thought it was because around bedtime it was ‘Daddy bye-bye’ time, when he would not return to her for almost 20 hours. I then went on and began to rule out things in my diet as possible causes…I loved what I ate normally, but if it was making her distraught at bedtime, I didn’t want anything to do with it.

I knew it had nothing to do with the way our day went – They’re quite methodical, and from what I can tell make her more than happy. We wake up. I feed her, change her, talk with her. We spend a little extra time in bed just in case she’s still tired. We get up and get dressed to go out and check the mail, getting a nice walk in in the process. We get home, and if she’s asleep I let her be in the soft carrier until such time she wakes up hungry, and we spend our day sitting together entertaining ourselves until Daddy arrives. Daddy gives her a bottle. If she’s still hungry, I feed her. We spend time with Daddy, he goes to bed, and we go to bed ourselves not long after.

These fits were driving me crazy, and on night five, I finally decided enough was enough. I decided I would just let her cry. It would make both our lives easier. So I left her on her own to throw a fit for 20 minutes before returning to her and picking her up. With minimal soothing she was out cold. I was fully prepared to do this every day until she was 3 months old, when most colic ends. I had no idea the very next day I’d find the problem.

My cute little baby has a habit of holding her arms down and curling her hands up toward her face. You rarely see her arms in another position, whether she’s sleeping or awake. She also holds them down forcefully, making even dressing her difficult…let alone getting her in the car seat afterwards.

So I was less surprised than you might think when I lifted her arm and saw the bacterial infection underneath. Of course, that doesn’t mean I didn’t freak out any less. It was actually a mix of panic and relief. What would have happened if I had never seen it? Would the infection have progressed? How long would my baby have had to suffer? Thankfully, the use of butt cream is moderately universal in all things rash-y and red, of which this was both.

It just led me into the realization that every time a baby cries, they are sending a message. We might not know what it is yet, but you should be bound and determined to find out. It’s not just to stop the noise, it’s about the health and happiness of your baby. I hope I never have to handle another bout of colic in my life, and I don’t think I will. We are safe and sound and doing just fine.

What To Expect When Your Pregnancy Comes To An Abrupt End

The internet is so full of intriguing information. Everything from natural labor to Cesarean Sections and all the in-betweens. Thanks to this, it gives first time mothers (like me) an unrealistically happy view of just what to expect at the hospital when you arrive. Firstly, they tell you to fill out a “birth plan” which will solve the problems for you should the problems arrive by letting you make the decisions with a rational head on your shoulders. Then they tell you how to deal with the pain…deep breaths and relax. Lastly, make sure you pack all your necessities…you’re going to need that shampoo and conditioner to shower after all that hard work!

I admit that I’m naturally an optimistic person. I assumed incorrectly that all the above listed would occur. I packed three bags worth of things and filled out a five page birth plan making sure that I had stated I did not want an epidural assuming I would be able to handle the pain because that’s what women are born to do.

Let me begin with my story. I was smiling happily to the nurses when I first entered the hospital and told them I was in labor. Optimistic, see? I told them I was having fairly often contractions that were lasting about a minute. They led me to a triage room where they poked and prodded at me, checked my baby’s heartbeat, and shoved their fingers into me quite unceremoniously to check my dilation. And then they shot me up with Morphine and told me to go home.

Go home? Wait, you’re kidding right? By this time the contractions were unbearable. I was whining and squeezing my boyfriend’s hand for support.

That was their call. Go home and wait for the contractions to get stronger. Excuse me? How much stronger could they get? They finally convinced me by saying it would be safer for me and the baby to wait until I was 4 centimeters dilated before coming in again. They then handed me a sheet of paper that showed they had diagnosed me with ‘False Labor‘. I thought it had finally been the day, and they were saying it wasn’t? My boyfriend missed work for this?

Five hours later I returned with a vengeance. The pain was so bad I had vomited breakfast all over my bathroom floor. I couldn’t walk properly for the life of me but did because it distracted from the labor pains. Two sympathetic student nurses let me in to sit down on an uncomfortable plastic chair and a snooty old woman chastised me by asking me rude questions and I swear attempting to kick me out…but I was definitely in no mood this time. By now it was all I could do not to scream bloody murder every time a contraction hit.

They got me into a room about 10 minutes later and got me an epidural in another 2 hours because I was begging for it like a drug addict. I was taking this pain like a trooper. A whiny trooper, but a trooper nonetheless.

Anyways, my point about this post was to point out the uselessness of the information on the internet. So here’s my list of myths and legends about the ideal trip to the hospital.

1.) Do not bother filling out a birth plan. They are entirely unnecessary. You can make decisions perfectly fine, even better, when you’re actually there experiencing it. You will not have a sudden regrettable urge to view your placenta once your baby is out. And the rest of the questions are more than often useless as well: Hospitals no longer perform circumcision on site, you will not actually spend the first stage of labor doing anything specific except cursing this day, and you are in no realistic danger of an enema being administered to you. (These are only examples.) If they have any questions they will ask. Don’t worry.

2.) Remember those bags you packed? They’re useless (If you’re breastfeeding like you ought to be). You will not have time for entertainment. You will not have time for a shower. You will not have time to change your clothes. You will not have time to go to the bathroom. And don’t expect to eat the food they deliver you hot, either, because that’s not going to happen. You are a walking smorgasbord now, my lady friend, and God help you. I know I needed it.

3.) Every mother has their own opinion. Even the nurses. In fact every nurse will have their own opinion. Some of them will feel hurtful to you, some will be life-changing and helpful. The fact is there is no facts when it comes to being a mother. Everyone does it differently and nobody thinks their own shit stinks. If I wrote down every opinion I ever received from every person I could probably publish an entire book. But I didn’t, so I’m not actually making any money. The point is, don’t take them all to heart.

4.) Always do what your instinct tells you. You are built to become a mother. Even if you can’t handle the pain of getting there without being stabbed in the spine, always remember that you will know what’s best for your child when the time is right. They are now your responsibility and they will never hate you for any decision you make regarding their lives. The key is to sort through the paranoia and realize your Newborn is both stronger and weaker than you think. They rely on you for everything and although you might hate it when people say it, you should revel in this stage of their life. It only gets physically easier and mentally more complicated from here on out, but if you listen to your ‘gut feeling’, you will get through it all.

5.) Do not be afraid to ask for help. One night a nurse took her from my room for a few hours just so I could get some sleep. The last night, I had to supplement with formula because I wasn’t producing enough milk for my baby – Something I’d never foresaw. You need to know that everyone needs help at this stage. Rely on friends and family members, and most of all your partner. They can take the load off and they are more than happy to…it does not make you a failure as a parent and you are far from burdening them. They are happy to help you because you are undertaking something remarkably difficult and you need the relaxation time.

So there you have it. It boils down to a remarkable five things that would have saved me so much trouble had I ever come across them. A realistic view of what to expect. This is a hellish undertaking but in the end you will decide it was worth it – Every parent does. You are a brave soul and we are proud of you.