Chris Johnson

My lullabies stand out

BY CHRIS JOHNSON

After my wife and I kept the grandbaby all weekend long, I realized that I still know how to change a diaper, I still know how to hold a baby, I still know how to feed a baby, and I still know that 2-month-old babies still have no appreciation for beef jerky.

However, when it comes time to rock the baby to sleep and sing a little lullaby, I now see that I’ve forgotten almost all the traditional lullabies. I do know how to sing “Rockabye, Baby, in the Treetop,” but that song just seems a little too violent when that cradle comes crashing out of the tree. You might as well rock the baby to sleep with some AC/DC or Metallica — at least none of their songs involve a baby plunging to a disastrous crash. No wonder babies wake up every few hours; they probably dream about falling a lot.

My son’s now 16, so it’s been a long time since I had to sing him to sleep. I used to sing James Taylor’s “Carolina in my Mind” and “Fire and Rain” to him, and those seemed to work. So I tried “Fire and Rain,” but then I hit that line of “sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground” and figured that might be even worse than the cradle falling out of a tree.

I used to sit by my son’s crib and strum Jimmy Buffett songs like “Son of a Son of a Sailor.” It actually worked for him — although it provoked howling from dogs throughout the neighborhood, subsequently waking up every other baby on the street. Actually, now that I think back on it, I’m not sure whether my singing and guitar playing helped him sleep or he was just faking it so I’d leave the room.

As I rocked Jax this weekend, I tried talking to him instead of singing, but he just looked at me like I’m an idiot — which proves he’s quite advanced, already looking at me the way most adults do. He’s looking at me on at least a 12th grade level.

So, I had to sing. I started singing the first song that came to mind.

Well, I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison ...

That, of course, is from the theme song of drunk white people who break into song in bars across America when they come to the third verse — David Allan Coe’s “You Never Even Called Me by My Name.” Jax did appear a little milk drunk at the time, so it seemed perfectly appropriate to me.

My wife, however, deemed that song inappropriate for a 2-month-old. Apparently she’s got some kind of politically correct hangup about serenading babies with tunes by nut-job racists. Go figure. As I explained to her, though, he didn’t even write that song.

“A good friend of his named Steve Goodman wrote that song,” I explained. “And he told David Allan Coe it was the perfect country-western song.”

“I don’t care!”

Fine, I thought. Well, Buffett songs worked for my child, so maybe it’ll work for Jax. “But there’s booze in the blender, and soon it will render ...”

“No!”

She had a good point. You can’t really appreciate Buffett music without a frozen margarita in your cup or your bottle. Besides, 2-month-olds don’t really appreciate the taste of lime … or tequila. Although, I’m pretty sure the latter helps them sleep.

Sure works for me.

Chris Johnson: visit his website at kudzukid.com

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