Peanut has a very specific nighttime routine. First off, she requires to be held the ENTIRE time this routine is taking place. Because my arms were getting tired, I told Raylo that we needed a chair for her room. He mentioned that his office was getting rid of a chair and he would take it if no one else wanted it. So, in my daughter’s beautiful aqua room with white butterflies all over the wall there is a hunter green wingback chair with claw feet. This is known as The Holding Chair.

We start off with a bit of negotiating. See, I’m not going to stay in there for 5 hours like she wants me to. So, I tell her she gets 2 things. 2 stories, 2 songs, or 1 story & 1 song. She always tries to get me to do extra. I am rather stubborn because I know if I EVER tell her a story and then sing her 2 songs, then I will have to do that FOREVER.

I already feel like a lullaby jukebox.

The songs themself go through various rotations. When each of our kids were born, we picked a certain meaningful song for that child and we sing it to them nightly. Bean’s song is In Christ Alone. Peanut’s song is Before the Throne of God. So, sometimes she’ll say “My Ong.” I know she means Before the Throne. Here’s the other typical nightly requests:

Ow, Ow, Ow — We sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat every stinkin’ night. It’s her new favorite song. And you have to do hand motions. And you start singing it normally, then you sing it with big hand motions, giant hand motions, small hand motions, and ending with tiny hand motions. Everyone in the room MUST participate with the hand motions. Since this blog is a place for me to bare my soul and share my true feelings honestly, I will confess to you: I now hate this song. Enough with the Row, Row, Row!

Tinkle, TinkleYou’ve already seen her sing this. Sometimes she refers to this song as “Mimi’s Ong” since Mimi sings it to her very often. Poor Mimi. The rest of us have very meaningful songs attached to our names. She gets Twinkle Twinkle.

Getty Keese — For awhile we sang On Top of Spaghetti every night. Now it’s quite out of favor. But, to help me through this unusual lullaby, I chose to sing it like an angst-filled country ballad. I got the idea from Jane Baxter Miller ‘s version off the kids’ CD The Bottle Let Me Down: Songs for Bumpy Wagon Rides. We’ve got several tracks off this album & they are great. (Except the song Cheese, Peas, Pickles, & Bananas. That grosses me out too much.) I’m actually sad that she doesn’t want me to sing this any more. I got really good at closing my eyes and pouring out my soul over the lost meatball. And, she would always say “Ahh- Chooo!” whenever I’d say the word sneeze.

Dubby Dubby — Can you guess what this is? I was at an absolute loss the first time she requested that I sing Dubby Dubby. Rub a Dub Dub something? What on earth? But, I used one of my mothering super powers — the Ability to Understand Small Children — and I realized she wanted to sing Skinna-marinky-dinky-dink. Yes. In Peanut language, Skinna-markiny-dinky-dink is Dubby Dubby.

John Jacob — The other latest craze? John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt. (You know that song is now running through your head…. it’s impossible to stop it! Na na na na na na na na….!) Both of our girls have fallen under the spell of this simple song. But, since we are singing it at bedtime and don’t want to get them all riled up, we have to sing it very slowly and sweetly.

Yo Ong — Translation: Your song. I tried to explain that it’s not a regular thing for parents to pick a song just for their kids. It’s not as if the composers of Before  the Throne of God sat down and said: “There’s a kid called Peanut about to be born. We’ve gotta write her song. Let’s get crackin….” But that confused her. So, I just picked a meaningful song that I’ve liked all my life. So, Yo Ong = Victory in Jesus. (Old school meaningfulness… can’t get better than that. And, if I can’t close my eyes and wail on about my lost meatball, at least I can close my eyes and wail “He sought me, and bought me with His redeeming blood.” Oh, the Gaithers should hear me then….. or not.)

Peanut loves her DaddyDaddy’s Ong — This is the sweetest of them all. She actually chose a song that Raylo frequently sings to the girls and said it is his song. It’s another old school song, but not quite as old as mine. It’s a piece of one by Dennis Jernigan called When the Night is Falling. Here’s the part we sing:

When the night is falling
And the day is done,
I can hear you calling, “Come.”
And I will come
While you sing over me.

When the night would hide my way,
I will listen until
I hear you say:

“How I love you, child, I love you.
How I love you, child, I love you.
How I love you!

What I like best? It was written to be a conversation between a person and God, but it also applies to the love between a parent and a small child. Peanut usually just melts into our arms when we sing this.

(By the way…. sweetest picture ever, right? I love it!)

Of course, as soon as it’s over, she’s bouncing back up and demanding that we sing Ow, Ow, Ow again. But I stick with my guns…. “Two songs! That’s it! You’re cut off!” I usually say. Or, maybe it’s something like: “No, sweetheart. It’s time to go to bed. You can sing Row, Row, Row to Dolly if you want to.”

Then we give her a dozen kisses, 15 hugs, just one more kiss, tuck me in, another blanket, no not that one!, one more hug?, can I have water….. you know the kiddy nighttime drill. We head into Bean’s room and sing one song, say one prayer, and she’s ready to kick us out.

These kids are so different.