I have 3 kids and am married to the most amazing woman and mother. Oh, and side note, the kids are all boys, a fact that my wife is ever so pumped about. Bennett, you were supposed to be a girl dammit! Like all parents, we’re constantly tired and sleep deprived and my wife has it way worse than I do in this department. These boys are active, super fun, but also exhausting, and then there’s the not so minor issue that they all suck at sleep, or did so at one time. We tried sleep training, admittedly, not as militant as you should be, but honestly, parents who have kids that sleep through the night from six weeks on and think it has anything to do with sleep training can suck it. Some kids just aren’t wired to be amazing sleepers. You can influence it for sure by sleep training, but I’m convinced the sleep gene exists, and I know this because it sure as shit isn’t present in any of my 3 sons.
So sleep is a battle or more aptly put a war, and these mofos are like Napoleon before he lost his way or what I imagine Khal Drogo would’ve been like had he had the chance to plunder Westeros. When they were young, my wife was the primary sleep person because, well, you know, the boob, but sometimes she’s had to tap out and that’s where I enter. I can’t leverage the nip strategy and none of them really fell asleep with a baba so I had to start experimenting. Long car rides, being held, running, patting on the back, done them all, but the soothing stroke of music in conjunction with one of these has been my go to method. This blog is just one man’s ranking for the top 5 songs to get your child to f’ing sleep.
Lime Tree – Trevor Hall – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88N6wCYab2I
This is the song that started it all for me. For my birthday one year, shortly after our first child was born, my wife got us tickets to see Matisyahu in the city (she wasn’t a fan of his but because she rules and knew I liked him, she went with me). Well, at the end of the show, Trevor Hall comes up and does a duet with Matisyahu and it’s the Lime Tree and we are both like dude, this guy is the freaking man. A little iTunes 99 cent or 1.29 later and the Lime Tree is on my iPhone and one desperate sleep day, I just put it on to shake things up , turned my son on his side, right arm dangling down and just started moving slowly around the room in circles singing along to that voice. That deep, guttural voice that is just so unique and so powerful. And as his arm went limp after maybe a few renditions experimenting with when to hum, or to sing along, or improvise, he passed out and my go to move was born.
Hey Hey – Dispatch – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAl5vx1fL20
Insert any number of songs by this band to my list. Definitely in my top 5 bands I haven’t seen but would like to, but save that for another post. Until The National supplanted this with baby boy #3, this was my most played out song on my phone. This is definitely one my heart wants to belt out and pretend that I’m on an American Idol tryout, but then I realize that if sleep is the goal, then let’s let the experts do their thing. The crescendos, amazing harmony, and just overall power moves me every time, and luckily for me, it put sweet little Olivey to sleep in a matter of minutes. Do I dare try and transfer? How about we just make sure he’s passed by doing one more time through.
I need my girl – The National – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-Tod1_tZdU
I first remember hearing this song on The Mindy Project in a tense sexual moment between Mindy and Danny and I downloaded it from iTunes instantly as I thought it could be integrated into a future playlist and stir those same emotions since my wife and I watched the show together. Yeah, about that, that ship sailed the first time I tried to put our youngest son to sleep after he either unsuccessfully transferred from the boob or just flat out laughed at trying to be put down for a nap. It’s mellow, has a repeatable pattern, and the voice is just so hypnotic. I shit you not, when my son hears it, his eyes immediately start to roll back in his head, probably because he knows that this song will be on repeat until he goes the fuck to sleep or because he knows that I won’t be singing along, just rhythmically and consistently singing sh along to the song as if I’ve layered in a new instrument on top. If you’re having the same issues that I do with a child who fights sleep, trust me, this song doesn’t disappoint, but make sure to put it on repeat.
Back to the Earth – Rusted Root – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9ZCIg8jEkA
I’ll caveat this one by saying that once they transition this to more of a fast paced groove, it’s right back to the beginning for me. My memory is hazy of when I first heard this song but it was probably in college and when I started this music/sleep experimentation thing with my first son I didn’t remember what it was called, just hey, hey, hey, heya and not of Outkast fame. So I just decided to start chanting it over and over and over until one day with phone in one hand and restless child in the other I had had enough and was like I’m finding this mother fucker. Boom, downloaded and on my sleep rotation play list, so that someone other than me was singing that hey, hey, hey, heya on a loop. But remember, you’ve been warned about looping back at 3 minutes in!
She Sells Sea Shells – Music together – (buy the cd, don’t Google any of the various YouTube renditions. #nightmare).
For the other 4 songs I’ve written about during my flights today, I’ve had each song on while I’m writing about it hoping to capture some inspiration or shit like that. But for this one, I just can’t do it, can’t even have it on my phone. I swear my oldest kids have nightmares about this song and they still cringe when I try and use it with the little one in the car. But man, this tune just works so well when you’re riding. Personally, it brings up the “nap trail” that many Three Village parents are familiar with that starts when you enter Old Field and drive down to the lighthouse and just turn around. I swear, 50 percent of the riders on that road don’t even live in Old Field but make the same journey that I do hoping to hang a right turn on the way back after a successful ride and head to West Meadow beach for a few minutes of zen. Music together rules, thank you to my sister in law for introducing me, and this song is my official all else has failed and we’ve now decided to leave the room, jump in the car, and just start driving tune.