Singing is a wonderful way to communicate with children. I started singing to my granddaughters the moment they were born. The songs just poured out of my mouth whenever I was with them. Soothing songs, silly songs, camp fire songs, hiking songs that I learned in Girl Scouts, Sunday school, summer camp, my college sorority, and women’s groups—they all came back to me like a tide rolling in.
When my granddaughter was an infant, I soothed her fussy spells with a childhood song I learned at summer camp. “She Sailed Away” was about a lady who sailed off on the back of a crocodile and at the end of the ride, the lady was inside of the smile on the crocodile. I did hand motions along with the song and whenever I sang it, I would barely get the first few notes out of my mouth before my granddaughter would smile from ear to ear.
When my granddaughter turned two, I decided to surprise her and record a CD of her favorite songs. I got a lot of my songs from Rise Up Singing. I enlisted the help of a friend who brought over his microphone and I recorded 16 songs. I customized some traditional songs by adding my granddaughter’s name. For example, instead of singing “Goodnight, Irene,” I sang “Goodnight, Juliet.” An artist friend, Suzanne Padgett, created a cover using photos of my granddaughter.
The CD was such a hit, that when my second granddaughter turned two, I made a CD of her favorite songs. By this time I had some new technology that enabled me to do the project myself. I recorded the songs on my iPod using an iTalk attachment. Then I downloaded them onto my Mac and used Garage Band to edit them. Once again I asked Suzanne to design the cover.
Both of these CDs have been played so much that my granddaughters know all the songs by heart. Since I only get to see them twice a month, my CDs have provided a connection when I’m not there. I have to give my daughter credit for continuing to play the CDs over and over, even when she said there were times she could not get the songs out of her head!