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January 20, 2003

Balancing Out The Lullabies

When Ngnat was younger, when her attention span was still too short for bedtime stories, I sang to her at bedtime, as we rocked back and forth in the chair by her crib. That came to a fairly sudden end in August, after she got her first big girl bed. We still sang songs, for a while, but reading books aloud took up more and more time. She eventually discovered the pleasures of listening to night-night songs on compact disc, so multiple bedtime songs became a rarity.

She was tired tonight, though, so I turned off the light after reading Curious George Takes a Job and a couple of poems from the Tasha Tudor edition of My Brimful Book, and sang to her. I sang Rock-a-bye Baby, and Little Rabbit Fu-Fu. I sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, the ABC song, and Baa Baa Black Sheep, all of which annoy me no end, as they have the same tune, and Ngnat likes them sung all in a row. I sang her favorite, The Gypsy Rover, which I had probably sung to her every night for a year up until August. I'd never even heard of it until I downloaded a Clancy Brothers version of it from Napster just after she was born. Their live version is probably one of the prettiest songs I've heard, ever. I can't find it on any of their cd's, though.

Aside: If for nothing else, Hilary Rosen, I hope you burn for that one day.

And we sang the four Songs of Balance. I don't remember the exact thought pattern that led to the creation of the Songs of Balance, but it had something to do with my feelings, just after I started singing good night lullabies to Ngnat, that possibly religion was over represented in the lullaby category, and some redress was required.

So, whenever I sing Jesus Loves Me, I also sing Why Does the Sun Shine?*

The Sun is a mass of incandescent gas,
a gigantic nuclear furnace.
Where hydrogen is built into helium
at a temperature of millions of degrees.
The Sun is hot, the Sun is not
a place where we could live.
But here on Earth there'd be no life
without the light it gives.
We need its light. We need its heat.
The sunlight that we see,
the sunlight comes, from our own Sun's, atomic energy.

Chorus
The Sun is a mass of incandescent gas,
a gigantic nuclear furnace.
Where hydrogen is built into helium
at a temperature of millions of degrees.

The Sun is hot...
The Sun is so hot that everything on it is a gas--
aluminum, copper, iron, and many others.
The Sun is large...
If the Sun were hollow, a million Earths would fit inside.
And yet, it is only a middle-size star.
The Sun is far away--
about 93 million miles away, and that's why it looks so small.
For even when it's out of sight,
the Sun shines night and day.

We need its heat, we need its light
The sunlight that we see,
the sunlight comes, from our own Sun's, atomic energy.

Scientists have found that the Sun is a huge atom-smashing machine.
The heat and light of the Sun are caused by nuclear reactions between
hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon, and helium.

And whenever I sing Deep and Wide, or Jesus Loves the Little Children, or It Only Takes a Spark or any of the other 300 billion religious songs I learned as a PK, I also sing about evolution.

The Amphioxus Song

A fish-like thing appeared among the annelids one day.
It hadn't any parapods nor setae to display.
It hadn't any eyes nor jaws, nor ventral nervous cord,
But it had a lot of gill slits and it had a notochord.

Chorus
It's a long way from Amphioxus. It's a long way to us.
It's a long way from Amphioxus to the meanest human cuss.
Well, it's goodbye to fins and gill slits, and it's welcome lungs and hair!
It's a long, long way from Amphioxus, but we all came from there.

It wasn't much to look at and it scarce knew how to swim,
And Nereis was very sure it hadn't come from him.
The mollusks wouldn't own it and the arthropods got sore,
So the poor thing had to burrow in the sand along the shore.
He burrowed in the sand before a crab could nip his tail,
And he said "Gill slits and myotomes are all to no avail.
I've grown some metapleural folds and sport an oral hood,
But all these fine new characters don't do me any good.

Chorus

It sulked awhile down in the sand without a bit of pep,
Then he stiffened up his notochord and said, "I'll beat 'em yet!
Let 'em laugh and show their ignorance. I don't mind their jeers.
Just wait until they see me in a hundred million years.
My notochord shall turn into a chain of vertebrae
And as fins my metapleural folds will agitate the sea.
My tiny dorsal nervous cord will be a mighty brain
And the vertebrates shall dominate the animal domain.

She's trying, but so far she can't pronounce "Amphioxus" worth a damn. She's got "Jesus" down pat, though. I suppose I'll have to start singing "Jeebus Loves Me" until she catches them up.

*It's been covered by They Might Be Giants, but you can listen to the original version here.

Posted by Bigwig at January 20, 2003 10:36 PM | TrackBack
Postscript:
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