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Words To The Lullabies I Sing To My Children [stories of motherhood and culture]

When I picked my children up after work today, my mother told me that when they heard the song “Los Pollitos Dicen” on an old CD that she had found, they said “Mama”.

I am writing this for you, my darlings, Penelope and Oliver, so that you always remember the words to the songs your mother sang to you before bed time.

Growing up abroad, the lullabies my mother sang to me were different than the ones my friends knew. As a young child, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” was a song that many of my friends, myself included, could easily join in to sing along to, but not if I sang “Los Pollitos Dicen”.

The lullabies my children know will also be different than the ones their little friends do. When they walk through the children’s book aisle in a store or a library, they won’t see an anthology of the songs they heard growing up. For mothers raising children in a country different than their birth country, this is a common scenario.

I remember being a two day old mom, a baby in my arms, deep in the newborn haze, and as the most natural response to my child crying, singing a lullaby I hadn’t sang in years. The melody and words so deeply memorized in my soul, that even after years of not singing it, so easily came through me.

I have sang that song to both of you every night since the day you were born. Even your father learnt to sing Los Pollitos Dicen, and he sings it even if I’m not there.

Los pollitos dicen 
Pío pío pío 
Cuando tienen hambre 
Y cuando tienen frio

La gallina busca 
El maíz y el trigo 
Les da la comida 
Y les presta abrigo

Pío pío pío
Pío pío pa
Pío pío pío 

Pin Pon es un muñeco
de trapo y de cartón
Se lava la carita
con agua y con jabón

Se desenreda el pelo 
con peine de marfil,
y aunque se da estirones
no llora ni hace así.

Pin Pon dame la mano
con un fuerte apretón,
que quiero ser tu amigo
Pin Pon Pin Pon Pin Pon

No matter the song, if you haven’t sang it in a while, you forget the lyrics. Lullabies can be similar. The songs we learn so well in our childhood, the songs that bring us back to moments, to feelings of love and peace in our hearts before going to sleep; those parts of the song we will never forget, the lyrics are harder to remember.

And so my darlings, I write the words here for you, the same way that I sang them to you, so that if you ever have a hard time remembering the words, this help you remember everything else.

le dijo el ratón 
ya no llores tontita 
no tienes razón. 
Tus amigos 
no son los del mundo 
porque te olvidaron 
en este rincón. 

Nosotros no somos así. 

Te quiere la escoba y el recogedor. 
Te quiere el plumero y el sacudidor. 
Te quiere la araña y el viejo veliz. 
También yo te quiero, 
y te quiero feliz. 


Edmonton Mommy Blogger Culture and Motherhood (1)Edmonton Mommy Blogger Culture and Motherhood (2)

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