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Lewd Lullabies

It’s our beloved bedtime ritual: In the dark of my son’s room, at the edge of his small bed, I sing him to sleep every night. From the day he was born, I’ve been lulling him off to dreamland by warble-whispering the random anthems filed in my musical memory. Lullabies. Folk tunes. Soulless pop songs from the 1980s.

I love our routine so much, love sending my custom soundtrack — like a mommy mix-tape — resonating through his subconscious as he slumbers. It relaxes him. It relaxes me. It’s achingly peaceful.

Until the vulgarities start flying.

You see, he’s a musical child. Sings with conviction, dances with abandon, and hopes to play the tuba someday … when he’s bigger than one. The kid’s got perfect pitch, impeccable rhythm, and — herein lies the problem — uncanny recall for every lyric he’s ever heard. Ever.

So if he recognizes a song during our nightly tunefest, he sings along boisterously — negating the whole “lulling” objective. If I “sshhh” him in that gentle-but-I’m-dead-serious way that only mothers can, he begins dancing horizontally to the ditty, thumping its backbeat on the pillow, making James Brown faces and kicking his legs in spastic homage to a mosh pit he clearly visited in a former life.

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