Can a 3-month-old baby talk some sense into its parents by singing a song? Can a father play the role of the soap during a bath? Can a child too young for a kindergarten hitchhike? And can inhalation be enjoyable? The answer to all of these questions is: yes! All you need to do is to change the lyrics of well-known songs and write them down to make a songbook for your child.
Some people have asked me about creative gifts for a child. Our baby is too small to enjoy creative presents. It is of no importance to her whether she plays with an old or a new toy, as long as we play with her. This does not mean, however, that we do not prepare creative gifts for her. We are just waiting to give them to her until she is old enough to appreciate them. A songbook with songs written especially for her is one of such presents.
I was at least partially inspired to make such a songbook by my grandmother, who gave me a “Collection of Songs and Rhymes of Three Generations of Kiddies”. In a small notebook with turquoise covers, she wrote down the texts of 93 children songs and poems, which she illustrated with her own drawings. I remember most of them from my childhood, but I’m sure that I would have forgotten many of the lyrics if they hadn’t been recorded. I am positive that it has been the most valuable and treasured gift that I have ever received from my grandmother.
Nowadays, many songs can be found on the Internet. Even if we forget their melody, we just have to type their title on e.g. You Tube. Nevertheless, the one thing that we won’t find there are songs written especially for us (unless someone uploads them, that is). I know that many parents compose for their offspring. When our daughter was too small to understand our words, we actually sang to her more than we spoke, using modified texts of contemporary hits. If we liked what we had come up with, we wrote it down. In fact, we still do.
My favourite remake is that of the “Colours of the Wind” from Pocahontas. I composed it when my daughter was less than 3 months old, and we had difficulties finding a common language. To begin with I changed the title into “Daughter-hontas” and pretended it was my baby who was singing. In the first verse she wonders how come we – her parents are so big yet so ignorant, just like Pocahontas complained about John Smith. Then she explains to us that not only adults are people, but also children and infants, like her. Next, she clears a misunderstanding between us, stating that she doesn’t cry to the moon to annoy us – that’s just the way she is. She encourages us to run with a pram, carry her in a baby-sling and not to worry about their prices. She informs that poo and spat milk are her friends. And finally, she ends with a call for love, admitting that she loves us very much, too – we just need to realise it.
I would love to give you some more examples from my family, but they are all in Polish, and translating them makes little sense if all the rhymes and references to Polish songs were lost. However, if you have any knowledge of Polish, click on the Polish flag on the menu bar in the top right corner to change the language version and have a look.
Please, share your songs in the comments below!
- Rhymes don’t have to be perfect, and the number of syllables doesn’t have to match. The point is that you write about your child and for your child.
- You also don’t have to remake the entire song. Sometimes a funny or catchy chorus is enough.