1) "Brahms' Lullaby." When Ellie was a newborn and we were very green (and somewhat incompetent) parents, my husband and I used to quietly sing this classic as we rocked her to sleep. Except, we didn't know the words, so the song went something like:
Lullaby and goodnight...
meow meow meow, meow,
meow, meow, meow...
2) "He's a Tramp" by Peggy Lee. Ellie adores this song; sometimes we sing it together, sometimes she does a solo, sometimes she asks me to sing it while she listens. Over and over and over. In the last two years, I have probably sung this song 978 times. No lie. Till the day I day, I will know this song cold, and if you buy me three drinks (OK...one) I'll sing it for you, too.
3) Theme songs to various PBS kids shows. On demand. Just try me. I can do obvious choices, like "Curious George", "Reading Rainbow", and "Arthur", but can really bring it home with lesser-known weirdos like "Jakers!" and "Sagwa." (For those of you without small children, I may as well be writing in Sanskrit, right?)
4) And, speaking of theme songs, at least weekly I serenade the kids with the theme song to "Webster". Yes, you read that correctly. (If their father is around, we sing it in harmony, but that's a story for another time.)
5) Let's cleanse the palette. This one is actually nice: "Blackbird" by the Beatles. I love singing this to our children, and I love when Ellie asks, in a tiny, sleepy voice, for me to sing Buh-lllackbird. If I'm feeling particularly hormonal, I can barely get through you were only waiting for this moment to arise without choking up.
6) "Bye-lo, Baby." If you need a lullaby for your repertoire, this one is achingly lovely, easy to memorize, and very sweet because you can insert all the names of your child's loved ones. "Bye-lo" is a winner. For a really great rendition, check out The Innocence Mission's Now the Day is Over.
7) Lastly, and I'm not proud of this, but if Ellie is whining in the car and generally making me grit my teeth, I sing "Suddenly Seymour." Really, really loudly, Merman-style. This results in either shocked silence (or is it awe?) or "Maaaaaaaamma! You're hurting my ears TOO much." Well, checkmate, pal.
So, what do you sing again and again to your lucky kids? And how long before they beg you to stop?
(Big, Mermania shout-out to Nora at Whopping Cornbread.)