On the checklist for the childbirth hospital bag, in addition to a toothbrush, a “coming home” outfit for baby and aromatherapy scents, there is always a box to check for music. You can and are encouraged to bring music with you. As music has played such a large and pivotal role in my life, I was very excited to make a playlist for the arrival of my daughter. Though I’m not sure why, I also found it an intimidating prospect and spent a lot of time putting it off. I was trying to come up with an entire CD worth of songs about, or that at least mentioned, babies. When I came up well short of 74 minutes, I decided that I would add to the list when and if I thought of new songs, and burn whatever I had to disc when I started labor, then take it to the hospital with me. (If you’re wondering, the hospital had iPod docks but I have a generic mp3 player so I was planning on listening to my CD through the DVD player.)
I did in fact burn the CD when I was sure I was in labor, and when the three of us returned home, there it was, sitting in the popped-out CD tray of my computer. There was no music in my delivery room and I don’t really have any regrets. I was, in fact, very concerned that I might come to associate certain songs I otherwise loved with massive amounts of pain and then not be able to listen to them anymore. More likely I would have associated them with a great day, but you never know.
Anyway, the regret I do have is that I put a lot of thought – well, okay, some thought – into the playlist and didn’t get to use it, so I’m going to share it here now.
#1: Here Comes My Baby – Cat Stevens
The first track to kick off the album because “here comes my baby, here she comes now.”
#2: Isn’t She Lovely – Stevie Wonder
This is a song that is actually about the birth of a baby girl, so I wonder why it so often used in movies and television as a romantic song.
#3: Jive Talkin’ – The BeeGees
Apparently my parents listened to a lot of BeeGees when I was a newborn. This is one of only two of their songs I like, and there is talk of children in it. “Oh my child, You’ll never know, Just what you mean to me.” However, I liked it for the lyric, “If there’s somebody you love ’til you die, then all that jive talkin’ just gets in your eye.”
#4: Forever Young – Bob Dylan
This is pretty self-explanatory though I will say I think I understand it better now than I did before.
#5: Got to Get You Into My Life – Earth, Wind and Fire
This is a Beatles song and I’m the world’s biggest Beatles fan, but I think I might like Earth, Wind & Fire’s version a little better. Either way, it was the title that I liked for the birthing playlist.
#6: Picture Book – The Kinks
My oh my was Ray Davies a terrifically evocative lyricist. “Picture book, pictures of your mama, taken by your papa, a long time ago… Picture book, when you were just a baby, those days when you were happy, a long time ago.”
#7: That Was Your Mother – Paul Simon
Couldn’t possibly have a birthing CD without at least one song from the album that was the subject of my college thesis. “That was your mother and that was your father, a long time ago dude, before you was born. Now you are the burden of my generation, I sure do love you, but let’s get that straight.”
#8: Beautiful – Paul Simon
This is a song from a recent Paul Simon album about adopting a child. It’s nice.
#9: Short People – Randy Newman
Because my dad used to sing it me all the time when I was a short person, and because in spite of that torture I love Randy Newman
#10: We Belong Together – Randy Newman
This year’s Oscar winner for best song, and a damn good one at that. “The day I met you was the luckiest day of my life and I bet you feel the same – least I hope you do.”
#11: Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
There was 0% chance this girl would have anything but brown eyes.
#12: Birthday – The Beatles
The other songs were for me for labor, this song was for her.
#13: The Long Day is Over – Norah Jones
A very calm and peaceful song that I love listening to after a long, hard day. Figured that would fit the bill after she arrived.
And that’s all I came up with. I know there are millions of songs with “baby” in the title or lyrics but I wanted to be a bit more clever than that. I was tempted to put Paul Simon’s “St. Judy’s Comet” and Randy Newman’s “Memo to My Son” on here because those are great songs about babies, but alas they are about boy babies. While they didn’t make the birthing CD, they will make an appearance on the playlist of bedtime tunes I’m currently compiling for my daughter.