SERENAGE [sair-en-AHJ]: to sing softly into the ear of little child to put them to sleep

rocking to sleep{This is yesterday’s post, which didn’t print out properly.  I’ve fixed it, so here is your second post for today.  A bonus!}  Jed

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Men often get a “bad rap” when it comes to childcare.   Granted, there were times in the not-so-distant past when the care of children was almost exclusively the role of the woman in the family.  Men were “too busy” making money to care for the child, to be able to “take time off” to rock the baby, change a diaper, or feed the infant.   There were plenty of excuses, but none of them hold water. (no pun intended)  To be fair, there were actually lots of male care-givers.  It just wasn’t very high-profile.

In today’s world, there is such a thing as parental leave…and it’s not only for women.  Men get parental leave also.  And in same-gender families men are, by nature, the total care-givers.  It wasn’t that men were unable to care for a child because they didn’t know how.   It was just a practice that was common.

In college I was part of a part-time business in which four of us, all men, advertised ourselves as baby sitters.   Families with boys jumped at the chance.  I must admit, my folded diapers (we didn’t have plastic ones back then) weren’t nearly as neat or functional as they might have been.   But they worked.

One of the best moments in child care is rocking the baby to sleep.   I find that when I do this, I am wont to sing a lullaby.  If I keep it in a low tone, soft volume, it works.  Before I know it, the baby is sleepy…and so am I!

Serenage is a word which identifies this act of singing a baby to seep.  It is a French word which gives us the word serenade, of course.   It is a specific word, however, that speaks to a soft, sleep-inducing quality. You wouldn’t sing a hard rock song and expect the same result.  I love the sound of the word serenage. It is almost an otomatopoeia…a word which sounds like what it describes.

My favorite lullaby is “Lullaby and Good Night.  Written Johannes Brahms, it is best known as “Brahm’s Lullaby.”  I learned it in German, and can only sing it in German without the lyrics in front of me.

Lullaby and goodnight, with roses bedight
With lilies o’er spread is baby’s wee bed
Lay thee down now and rest, may thy slumber be blessed
Lay thee down now and rest, may thy slumber be blessed

Lullaby and goodnight, thy mother’s delight
Bright angels beside my darling abide
They will guard thee at rest, thou shalt wake on my breast
They will guard thee at rest, thou shalt wake on my breast

 

(original German)
Guten Abend, gute Nacht, Mit Rosen bedacht,
Mit Naeglein besteckt, schlupf unter die Deck’
Morgen frueh, wenn Gott will, wirst du wieder geweckt
Morgen frueh, wenn Gott will, wirst du wieder geweckt

Guten Abend, gute Nacht, Von Englein bewacht
Die zeigen im Traum, dir Christkindleins Baum
Schlaf nun selig und suess, Schau im Traum’s Paradies
Schlaf nun selig und suess, Schau im Traum’s Paradies

It’s a particularly effective lullaby

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Photo Credit: indsyslifeintraining.blogspot.com

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