November 4, 2012

Bye Bye Lullaby

You CAN stop the music. Apparently.
 John and I have always sung to the kids at bed time, sending them off to the Land of Nod on dulcet waves of softly crooned lullabies.

With Jack, my train-obsessed boy, I could do no wrong with a little engine action via Morning Town Ride, the Thomas theme song and, at Christmas time, a medley of both popular and historical carols. In fact, even at age 9, Jack still insists on a couple of tunes before I'm allowed to leave the room each evening.

But that's it! I am only allowed to sing at night, in the dark, and very quietly. At any other time, singing from Mum is not allowed. I'm not sure whether it's because my singing is embarrassing, or unpleasant to the ear (gasp!), or he's just envious of my fabulous singing voice (possible but unlikely!), but Jack really, really dislikes me singing along to the radio in the car, the ipod in the kitchen or ANY OTHER TIME. He tries to be polite about it, bless his Catholic-school-manners, but judging by the way he cringes/grinds teeth/leaves room/turns radio over, my singing voice is somehow equivalent to nails on a blackboard to my first born.

Which is fine. I'm still the boss of him so I'll sing if I want to. Suck it up kid. Besides, I have to put up with his endless (ENDLESS I TELL YOU!!) renditions of Gangnam Style so I reckon a little pay-back is in order.

But it makes me wonder, is my voice less melodious and more malodorous?

Evidence For The Defence

When I was 11, I sang Christmas carols and strummed along on my guitar at the family Chrissy bash and my nan told me I had a lovely singing voice. That, in itself, is a winning testimonial but it gets better.

When my aunt then questioned where I got my lovely singing voice from because "it couldn't be from her mother", my mum took umbrage and, well, let's just say that ensuing events culminated in half the family walking out and going home while I plaintively warbled 'Away In A Manger' amidst the rapid disintegration of Christmas cheer.

So people actually FOUGHT over my lovely singing voice. I bet Beyonce couldn't lay claim to that!

In somewhat more convincing evidence, I have regularly been able to achieve SINGSTAR status ($$ka-ching, ka-ching$$) on the PS3. And everyone knows you can't argue with Singstar. It's not your Nan. It doesn't care if your feelings are hurt. It tells the TRUTH goddammit!

Evidence For The Prosecution

When Francesca came along, I decided not to tempt fate. I got in early by singing to her while she was in utero and I sang to her from her very first day out in the world. I went with the ultimate silky-voiced songstress, Norah Jones. The song of choice? 'Come Away With Me'. She LOVED it. It would always calm her down.

But then somewhere along the way, it didn't.

In fact, she would hear the opening lines "Come away with me in the night" and she'd get upset. I maintain it was due to the association of me singing that song and imminent cot-time. That song equalled being put to bed and was suddenly anathema.

Way-hay! I thought. No problemo! I'll just start the good ol' winning combination of train and Christmas songs. But no. Francesca now speaks. As soon as I start singing, she yells "NO MUMMY SONGS. DADDY SONGS!!" and continues to chant "DADDY SONGS! DADDY SONGS!!" until John comes in and rescues her from Mummy's shitty medleys and crappy singing voice.

Good grief! Is that why she came a week early? She needed to get the hell away from 24/7 contact with my voice?! Or do all kids hate the sound of their mother's singing? I bet JLo's babies cry when she sings. Really. I bet they do.*

So John sweeps in with his deep, melty Kamahl voice and croons a blend of Gordon Lightfoot, Bruce Springsteen and the Beatles and she freaking loves it! In fact, he has to go back in for an encore every single night. And even after the encore, she's still calling "DADDY'S SONGS!" like some demented One Direction fan.

Meanwhile, I shuffle off to drown my wounded vocal chords in sauv blanc and, in a little while, I smile smugly to myself. Neither John, nor Jack, nor Francesca have ever beaten me in the independent, unbiased, all-knowing, very-clever game of Singstar. Ka-ching!

* Don't take that bet. Please. I beg you. Just agree with me.

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