Recent bedtime song requests and other notes on the Little Man

Before the Little Man was born, I was fascinated with the idea of being able to watch him grow and learn over time, of being able to witness every step. In part this was because I couldn’t see those early steps clearly in my own growing up. I don’t recall the first word I said, don’t really remember learning to put sentences together or anything like that. I thought it would be incredible to watch it closely in someone else. And it is incredible, but also extremely difficult, as I have come to discover.

The Little Man is simply moving too fast for me to keep up with him.

You might recall that I never really sang him lullabies. Instead, I would sing him old Bing Crosby crooner tunes, and he seemed to really enjoy those. In fact, when it seemed like all he would do is fall asleep when I was singing to him, he was really listening to the songs, for eventually, he would sing parts of them with me.

Recently, he’s really started to put more complex sentences (and therefore, thoughts) together. You can see him making logical leaps, you can see him developing a sense of humor. And a sense of preference. For some time now, he has been sleeping in a Big Boy bed. After climbing out of his crib twice, we decided the crib was no longer for him and got him the bed. It was a little challenging at first, but only a little. The most difficult part is that he wants us to lay there with him and for a while, it was taking him an hour to finally fall asleep. He’s gotten much better, however. Usually, I’ll sing him a song or two, read him a book, and then say, “Okay, buddy, can I go downstairs now?”

“Okay,” he’ll say. I’ll head downstairs and he’ll play on his bed for a short time before falling asleep.

And the songs that I sing him? Well, it used to be that I’d do a pretty much random selection from all of the Bing Crosby songs I know. Now The Little Man has a preference. When we get upstairs and lay down, he said, “Daddy sing train song.”

Of course: he’s very into trains, as any two-year old boy would be. What is the train song, you ask? Is it the theme to a Thomas the Train special? Is it some nursery rhyme? No, when he asks for “the train song”, he is very specifically asking for “On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe“. I think he likes it for two reasons: first, because of the “whoo-whoo” section in the song; and second, because I replace the non-railway names in the song with his name. When I’m not around he’ll ask Kelly to sing that song, and she doesn’t know it. And when she can’t sing it, he gets upset.

When that song has been sung, he will say, “Now fishy song, Daddy.” The “fishy song” he is referring to is the Bing Crosby/Louis Armstron duet, “Gone Fishin’

I find it incredibly amusing that he asks for these songs. I find it equally fascinating that he is developing a sense of what he likes, what he thinks is funny, and what he thinks is proper behavior. For instance, early last week, I took a shower just before putting the Little Man to bed. He was already in bed when I got out of the shower and so I laid down next to him. I had no shirt on, as I’d just dried off.

“Uh-oh, Daddy,” he said, and pointed at my chest.

“What’s wrong, pal?”

“Daddy no pants.”

“You mean shirt?”

He crinkled his brow as if to give me a stern look, pointed toward our bedroom and said, “Daddy room pants!”

So I went back to our room and put on a shirt. He seemed quite satisfied when I returned.

It really is amazing to watch him develop a little personality all of his own. I only wonder how he will react to having a little sister arrive in just over a month. That will be interesting. Stay tuned.


  1. I had two train songs as a kid. The one your boy likes, which was among my father’s songs of choice, and I’ve Been Working on the Railroad which was my grandmother’s choice of song. So I can relate to your kid growing up on Bing Crosby songs. I sometimes sing them to mine but they look at me like I’m from another planet. They tend to take after their father’s taste… English folk songs.


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