The art of baby whis­per­ing

Townsville Bulletin - - Front Page -

PRE-mother­hood, I had an inkling that I’d have to mas­ter a few par­ent­ing tricks.

I knew I’d need to learn how soothe an un­set­tled baby at all hours of the night and day. I knew I’d need to grasp the art of jug­gling an over­sized nappy bag and a baby while be­ing shel­tered from the rain un­der a too-small um­brella. And I knew I’d need to get ac­cus­tomed to never-end­ing nappy changes and of course, lit­tle sleep.

But no­body, not even my mother, ut­tered a sin­gle word about the time-hon­oured prac­tice of singing to my baby. It didn’t take long to take hold though.

Gemma was about a week old and un­set­tled. It was about 2am. De­spite be­ing fed and cud­dled, Gem’s wail­ing was in­sis­tent. I didn’t know how to soothe her.

It was in that wail­ing mo­ment that the no­tion of singing a lulling nurs­ery rhyme to my child came to me.

Only trou­ble was, I didn’t know all the words to any nurs­ery rhymes that I felt would help soothe my baby to sleep. I doubted Humpty Dumpty Fell Off The Wall or Row, Row, Row Your Boat would do the trick.

‘‘ Rock-a-bye baby in the tree top – then what?’’ . . . ‘ ‘ Twin­kle t winkl e l i t t l e s t ar . . . t hen what?,’’ I mused as I cra­dled my wail­ing new­born.

I also couldn’t help but con­cede my singing voice was far from ideal. I didn’t want to scare my lit­tle baby with my tone-deaf, of­fkey, barely re­mem­bered nurs­ery rhyme. So I started hum­ming. I hummed to a song I re­mem­ber my mother singing to me: Grand Old Duke Of York.

I hummed that song for nearly two weeks. I know it doesn’t seem the best choice, but that’s all I had. And be­sides, it seemed to work. Gem would lull into a slum­ber within min­utes of me hum­ming the mono­tone tune.

But then my lit­tle an­gel baby de­cided enough was enough. No more Grand Old Duke Of York hum­mings. She seemed to be crav­ing the real thing: my singing voice.

So at 3am two weeks af­ter my first at­tempt at singing, I sang my first song to my pre­cious Gem.

It was not a nurs­ery rhyme, but it was my ver­sion of the 1950s pop clas­sic He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands. I don’t know to this day why that song came me at that un­godly hour. I per­son­alised the song to ‘‘ I’ve got the whole world in my arms, I have my lit­tle Gemma in my arms, I have ev­ery­thing I want in my arms’’.

I sang that song so much that when I start singing it to­day, Gemma has been known to say: ‘‘ No sing mama, no sing no more.’’

But usu­ally Gemma and Sophia love noth­ing more than a sin­ga­long session with me, with cur­rent f avourites i nclud­ing If You’re Happy And You Know It, See Saw Mar­jorie Daw and She’ll Be Com­ing Round The Moun­tain.

Af­ter three years of mother­hood, I can proudly say I’ve found my singing voice. I’ve col­lected plenty of nurs­ery rhymes to keep me in good stead for many years to come. My voice is still tone-deaf and off-key, but I don’t care.

I find plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties each day to add singing to my chil­dren’s day.

I sing at home,

I sing at the

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