As much as I wanted to, lullabies in Spanish were not something I could give to my children. Lullabies are the quiet songs whispered in the middle of sleepless moonlit nights – songs that come from our hearts, somehow deeply remembered within us but never formally taught, songs our mothers sang to us as babies.
My mother would gently swipe the hair from my forehead and sing “You are my sunshine”, and this was always the song that came to my lips when my children needed comforting.
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine,
You make me happy, when skies are gray,
You’ll never know dear, how much I love you,
Please don’t take, my sunshine away.
That is the song I was raised hearing, and so that is the song that I sung. And sometimes I would inexplicably sing “Blackbird”, among a couple other Beatles songs. My father is a big fan of The Beatles, so maybe he listened to them while my mother tried to put me to sleep. ¿Quién sabe?
Lullabies in Spanish on the other hand, were provided to my children at times by Suegra, but I always found the lyrics puzzling, funny, frightening.
Duérmete, mi niño — (Go to sleep, my child)
Cabeza de ayote, — (Pumpkin/squash head)
Si no te duermes, — (If you don’t sleep)
Te come el coyote. — (The coyote will eat you.)
It loses some of its charm in English, no?
And another one she often sang was:
Qué bonito es mi niño — (How beautiful is is my child)
Se parece a su papá — (He looks like his Papa)
Qué bonito es mi niño — (How beautiful is my child)
Se parece a su mamá — (He looks like his Mama)
(Except when she was mad at me, she’d change the song to repeat the second line at the end.)
I wish I had known lullabies in Spanish to sing to my children, but I’m hoping I will know some for my future grandchildren… I will sing them the silly ones I learned from Suegra, but I want to sing them beautiful lullabies as well. Here is one I recently found que me encanta.
Which lullabies were sung to you? Which lullabies are sung to your children?