Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Ants Go Marching...

Lani gave me the advice early on to sing to WEB when I'm trying to get him to go to sleep. He enjoys the sound of my voice (as most babies enjoy the sound of their parents' voices) but he also loves music (as most babies do). I found it hard to remember old nursery rhyme songs to sing to him, especially ones that were long enough, so I didn't have to repeat them 10 times while trying to get him to sleep. I'd often run through Mary had a Little Lamb, Row Row Row Your Boat, Three Blind Mice, and then would maybe throw in the Boom Boom Pow chorus.

Then my mom came over one afternoon and was putting WEB down for a nap. I heard her in his room singing this song that I had totally forgotten about. I remember her singing it to my sister when she was a baby. Hallelujah for The Ants Go Marching! This seems to be the perfect song for putting WEB to sleep. It's the perfect amount of time. In case you're unfamiliar with the song, you can check out the full lyrics here:

Here is the gist:
The ants go marching one by one.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching one by one.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching one by one;
The little one stops to suck his thumb,
And they all go marching down into the ground
To get out of the rain.
Boom, boom, boom, boom!

Then you just count up from there, two by two, tie his shoe; three by three, climb a tree (or "take a pee" if my mom is singing it...). I can't always remember what words are supposed to rhyme with eat number, so often times I make them up. The ants go marching six by six, the little one stops to take some pics (it's supposed to be pick up sticks, but that's hard to say when you're tired sometimes...). Then I found some interesting variations when I looked online to check my accuracy:

The ants go marching eight by eight,
The little one stops to roller skate
- or - shut the gate

The ants go marching nine by nine,
The little one stops to scratch his spine
- or - check the time - or - pick up a dime.

It's not like your child is really listening to the lyrics, so you can be as creative as you want, I suppose...

It cracks me up how this works so well with WEB though. By the time I get to four or five, his eyes are rolling back in his head but he's still trying to fight it just a little bit. It's freaky to see the whites of his eyes sometimes because he's just fighting closing his eyes that much, but it cracks me up. By the time I'm at seven or eight, I'm laying a blanket out with one hand to wrap him up in. On the rare occasion he really fights a nap, I'll run through all ten and then start over, but I usually don't need to do more than two runs.

I guess when he starts to understand what I'm saying we'll have to switch to reading a story because he'll be too busy laughing at some of the ridiculous rhymes or none rhymes I make to fall asleep. ;)

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