Songs for snuggling and singing and falling asleep

For the past nine plus years, I’ve sung this song nearly every night.

I suppose I had an average affinity for it as a child. However, as a parent, Ernie’s sentimental ballad about wanting adventure minus the homesickness, instinctively became my go-to lullaby. I learned the words quickly, but would wind down into a hum after round twenty or so. Occasionally, I’d even put myself to sleep. By the time my son could talk, he’d snuggle up under the covers and whisper, “moon song!” as though perhaps I’d forgotten. Eventually, I tried new ones, but it always came back to Ernie.

Suddenly, one night as I started to sing, he clamped his hand over my mouth and demanded, “No song.”

It was a good four year run. Somewhat mournfully, I laid beside him silently until he fell asleep. (“Snuggle me. But don’t sing.” was the nightly request.)

Then my daughter was born. A person to sing to who couldn’t protest! Technology had advanced to the point that the lyrics to any song I could imagine were in my pocket. I’d nurse her for hours learning and expanding my repertoire. Despite the many numbers in rotation, “the moon song” stayed at the top of the charts.

Recently, one night, as I put both of them to bed, my son requested a song for the first time in years.

“Mom? Remember that song you used to sing sometimes about an airplane? Would you sing that?”

I tried to hide just how eager I was to fulfill this request as I quietly started in on John Denver’s “Leaving on a Jetplane”. By verse two, he slowly pulled the covers up almost over his face. Moments later, I heard a sniffle.

I paused.

“Oh! Are you crying? I’m sorry!”

He tossed the comforter over his head, muffling his voice as he replied, “No. But don’t sing that any more.”

He’s right. That’s a really frigging sad song.

Tears or no tears, I love those last moments of the day with my kids. Ushering them to sleep with melodies that have become part of our fabric makes me feel like I’m doing at least one thing right.

Here’s my playlist. What’s in yours? 

Song list 

Sweet Child of Mine- Guns N’ Roses (lyrics)

Somewhere Over the Rainbow- Judy Garland (lyrics)

Blackbird- Sarah McLachlan (lyrics)

Lean On Me- Bill Withers (lyrics)

My Girl- The Temptations (lyrics)

Three Little Birds- Bob Marley (lyrics)

Sweet Baby James- James Taylor (lyrics)

You Are My Sunshine- Johnny Cash (lyrics)

Tomorrow- Annie original cast recording (lyrics)

Home- Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (lyrics)

Landslide- Fleetwood Mac (lyrics)

More Adventurous- Rilo Kiley (lyrics)

The Way I Am- Ingrid Michaelson (lyrics)

Smile- Madeleine Peyroux (lyrics)

Here Comes the Sun- Nina Simone (lyrics)

Honorable mentions to the jams not available for a Spotify playlist include:

I Will- The Beatles (lyrics)

Pretty Much Anything By- The Beatles

Lullaby (Goodnight, My Angel)- Billy Joel (lyrics)

Annabel- Don Henley (lyrics)


My recipe for (temporarily) bringing everything into balance

Food is my speciality. I’m happy to delude myself into thinking that making something like meatballs will bring everything into balance.


I think it started in the NICU. Still sore, swollen and slightly delirious from my emergency C-section—the result of my breech baby making an appearance nearly six weeks early—I’d escaped the maternity ward to sit next to my tiny guy’s isolette, watching, waiting, begging to do more than, at that point, was permitted. Julian needed to keep warm; to stay under the bright, jaundice-clearing lights; to sit tight under observation until test results revealed exactly was what going on (the verdict: he just wanted out early, for unknown reasons).

Knowing I was feeling helpless and hormonal, a compassionate nurse prescribed redirection. I needed to rest—and to start pumping. “Your most important job right now,” she told me, “is to collect that liquid gold.” She wheeled in a hospital-grade breast pump and instructed me to use it every two hours. I took the assignment very seriously. If being a good (first-time) mom simply meant trying to make my new kid dinner, I was all in. No problem. Food is my speciality.

So I pumped like a mother—producing just drops at first, then enough ounces to fill a good portion of Julian’s feeding tube. After each session, I’d take great care, and great pleasure, in sterilizing all of the equipment and putting it away until it was time to make his next meal.

Our time in the NICU was fortunately short—just 8 days—but throughout Julian’s babyhood, the ritual of pumping, preparing bottles, and sterilizing plastic flanges and rubber nipples felt as comforting to me as it did inconvenient.

I might not be able to control how long my baby slept, or whether he was hitting milestones at expected times; I might not be able to control how much milk I actually produced but I did know this: I could pump at 10 and 1 and 4. I could scrub and boil and pour. I could prepare and pack all those little bottles up for his “school.” I could do all of this—I would do all of this, day after day—and I would feel totally in control.

When Jules started eating real food, I took the same care in preparing his purees. I’d steam and blend fruits and vegetables, then pack them all into plastic freezer trays that made perfect little squares. He might house the parsnips and spit out the green beans—no matter. He didn’t have to like everything.

The point was that I was doing this part of parenting right. I was mixing and blending and prepping. In this arena, I knew just what to do, and I was doing it.

Fast-forward six or so years. Now, I’m a mom of two—two boys, almost 7 and almost 5. My husband and I both work full-time, our far-from-perfect organizational systems are ever-evolving (which is to say we haven’t found one that actually works), and I don’t ever really feel in control of anything. Except the food.

I know that, every week, I can go to the store and bring home bags of pristine produce, of simple snacks, of ingredients intended for healthy meals that I can make pretty quickly, on a regular rotation. I know that if I chop carrots and make fruit bars and meatballs at night, I can convince myself that, the next day, when we reconvene as a family after many hours at our respective offices and our respective schools, we will fall into the sort of family dinner captured in a Norman Rockwell.

By morning, I will realize that my meal-plan preparedness won’t protect me from the chaos that comes with being part of a busy, young family. This, I know is true. But for an hour or so on most weekday evenings, I’m happy to delude myself into thinking that making something like meatballs will bring everything into balance.

Here’s my recipe:

1 pound of ground turkey
½ cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons super-finely chopped onion
½ cup grated Parmesan
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp fennel seeds
a pinch of each: garlic powder, salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 ℉. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with your hands. Roll into golf ball-sized balls and place on a lightly oiled, foil-covered baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.

Serve with spaghetti (or zucchini noodles) and sauce—or however you like.

Use Medical ID on your iPhone as a safety shortcut

40% of US homes no longer use a landline. Meanwhile, 91% of adults have cell phones.

If you asked your child who they should call in an emergency, they’d likely answer “9-1-1”. But if you handed them a locked iPhone, would they know what to do with it?

Even if they know your password, saving a few precious seconds of fumbling to unlock your phone could make a critical difference. Consider teaching them how to use your iPhone’s emergency call feature. (A simple tap of “Emergency” from the lock screen, then dial.)

Chances are, you already knew that. But most of our friends hadn’t heard of this:

iPhone users can make their device even more helpful in an emergency by enabling Medical ID. This feature provides first responders with important medical information, such as known conditions, allergies, medications, and blood type.

It also includes the owner’s name, birth date, and emergency contacts (with relation).

To set it up, launch the Health app (requires iOS 8), tap the Medical ID menu in the bottom right corner and edit your information.

If “Show When Locked” is toggled on, this screen becomes accessible from the emergency keypad as well.

Parents of kids with iPhones or iPod touch could consider enabling it on their devices as well.

28 Star Wars GIFs That Explain What It’s Like to Be a Parent

The Star Wars films are among the most popular, enduring family movies of all time. (Despite the super awkward family dynamics they portray.) Both kids and grownups love them.

To celebrate the annual occasion of Star Wars Day (and also, just because) we decided to tell the story (saga) of parenthood exclusively in Star Wars GIFs. *makes lightsaber startup sound in head, starts scrolling*

(Note – the icons used in the banner above are available for free from Notabli co-founder Sensible Jory Raphael.)


So, you’re going to be parent.

This is happening.

Everything is about to change.

 But you can handle it.

It begins.

You, every night for your kid’s first year.

And every night for their second year.

But despite your exhaustion, so much joy.

When they learn to walk.

When they’re finally out of diapers!

Still, some parts make zero sense.

When they ask if they can play on your phone after you’ve told them no for the 10th time.

When they say “I’m bored” for the 20th time in a row.

“Sure you can have your own Facebook account.”

There will be close calls.

But you’ll always be there for them.

When you learn someone is picking on them at school.

When you teach them to drive.

You’re resourceful.


Surprisingly, most of it – almost all of it – will be fun.

Even when they become teenagers.

And they drive you nuts.

Soon enough, they’ll be doing more and more for themselves.

They’re becoming their own person.

You did it.


You raised an amazing kid. An amazing grown up.

May the Force be with you. (No way you could escape this post without reading that at least once.)

50 observations from a month of paternity leave

Brennan Carney is a teacher and Head Varsity Football Coach at Burlington High School. He and his wife Keri (also a teacher and coach) had their first son, Cooper on 12/29/2012. During his paternity leave, Brennan recorded his thoughts and observations  for 27 days. Keri and Brennan are expecting their second child any day now…

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50 observations from a month of paternity leave

1.  Baby Wipes are the most important and irreplaceable addition to our house, other than our son Cooper.  Let me list the ways:

  • Wipe asses ( baby, adult, & dog)
  • Cleaning spills on carpet
  • Wet hand naps
  • Cleaning up table after eating
  • Wash face
  • Clean eye glasses
  • And my personal favorite… Tissues

2. Paternity Leave is not a vacation.

3. Day time TV blows. 

4. The second we brought our son home our dog was immediately NEGLECTED. 

5. Kari dislikes my idea that pajamas are ok to be worn by Coop all the time. (NOTE:   I feel it is my right to challenge her on this issue.)

6.  I lost that argument and he is now wearing an “outfit.”

7. Cooper feels it is necessary to scream every time he has a poop in his diaper.  This is a good thing.  Since I don’t have to unzip or unbutton him every time to check. 

8. Recap:  If he were always in pajamas then I would always be unzipping because I’m smart enough only put him in the zipper pajamas. My plan is so much better than Kari’s. (Note: The pajamas only rule is being reinstated tomorrow.)

9. 3 am is wake up is early, I don’t care what you are doing. 

10. Leaving the house to run a quick errand will never be the same. 

11. I still think the outfit concept is ridiculous.

12. Day time TV still sucks. 

13.  Coop slept for 8 hours. Need I say more.

14. I finally have some solid DVR options to combat day time TV. 

15. Did I mention I got to sleep for 8 hours. 

16. ESPN is repetitive, being a man I don’t know if I am allowed to voice negative comments about their programming but damn it gets boring. 

17.  I now speak another language. It’s called Baby and it comes in the form of yells, screeches, and tongue clicks. It fascinating because it makes no sense to me but Coop responds quickly and accurately to every “word” I speak.  Weird.

18. I time myself every time I change a diaper. MY PR is 24 seconds (poop free- this adds difficulty and sensitivity) from unzip to re-zip.  (Note:  as I stated days ago I refuse to use button pajamas which means faster changes.)

19. Defined outfits based on location in his dresser drawers. Kari has a very intricate way of defining his outfits and the sizes that he currently he fits into by where she places them in his dresser. She actually attempted to teach this method to me the other night. I even listened…Today she had an outfit laid out for me.  

20. I had a revelation this morning.  All my male high school students should spend one week with me, Instant birth control. 

21. I do so much laundry that I wear the same thing everyday 

A. Because its comfortable 

B. because it is also clean

22. This actually applies to Cooper as well.   I have to stock his clothes drawers like a super market self.  Unworn stuff to the front and wash stuff to the back or the old stuff never gets worn. 

23.   If you read through on a daily basis it makes you feel like the world will end tomorrow via an asteroid, Paul Ryan might fight Obama in an epic MMA throw down, and sink holes are now as common as floods.

24. When taking Coop out of the house I can make 2 guarantees about his traveling bag.  

     A.  Mom will have everything he needs plus extra. 

     B. I will forget something every time.  For example I have forgotten his bottle, burp cloths, extra outfit, etc. 

24. The great debate:  Poopy diapers bath or no bath?

A.  Kari and my sister believe all mothers would give a child bath upon discovering a poopy blowout diaper.  And I believe this statement to be true for “moms.”

B.  I believe all men would use the baby wipes, change his outfit and diaper, and call it a day.  Fact. 

25.  Still love pajamas.  But when I pick outfits (that aren’t laid out for me)  I pick the one piece.  No pants, equals easier change.  

26. Going out with the Coop.  It’s not just an outing it’s an Adventure. Let us breakdown our preparations. 

A. Must coordinate feeding with departure. 

B. Must make sure his traveling bag ( Kari calls this a diaper bag, definitely Not my style) is completely stocked. As I stated yesterday I tend to forget essential items.  (Note:  I have debated transferring his travel bag items, which is a satchel or man purse, into a backpack to make it look more manly)

C.  Pick out an “outfit.”  At this point, many of you already know exactly what I will be choosing for our adventure out to the Great Grand parents house. ONE PIECE. Boom. 

D.  Feed the little man and then prepare him for the exit.  Between burps, a clean outfit, and his bib this can get dicey. 

G. Now back to Coop. 

H.  We are now ready but again I forgotten something…

I. The dog will be left behind.  Neglect.

27.  To be honest I remember thinking to myself just a couple of weeks ago, when is he going to nap. Now I wonder when will he wake up. Sappy but true, that was for the moms.

28.  March madness is usually spent at school checking my computer every possible second to get the scoring update. This year I will be watching every single second of every single game on my massive TV. Boom.  

29.  Some guy made fun of my Man purse/travel bag/satchel yesterday.  It was humiliating not just for being  made fun of but I even defended its purpose.  I’m ashamed. 

30.  I have been peed on twice today.  

31. This next observation includes me. Whenever a person speaks of their newborn they consistently tell of how large, advanced and how they are in the highest percentiles.  Reality check, my wife is short and Coop is in the 91 in percentile for height, I have a feeling in 10 years his peers will consider him short. Just sayin. 

32.  Went to see my dad today, his morning routine might be more complex than mine and Coops. 

33.  Our first trip to the doctors without mom.  There were a few interesting exchanges.

A. The doctor asked where Kari was I replied at work. The doctor’s face was priceless, like “here we go.” 

B. after giving detailed explanations for why were there, the doctor kept looking at me like, “how does he know and remember all of this.”  I think she even looked into my ear to see if Kari was communicating with me.

C.  I finally explained to her I was on Paternity leave and her body language didn’t suggest relief but more like, laughter.  

D.  Once we were all done she started talking to me about her (positive) prognosis and proceeded to hold him, like I wasn’t capable. 

E. The doctor did of this subconsciously but I made sure when I had to change his diaper and clothing before we left I did with the speed and efficiency the likes she had never seen before.  Fact. 

34. Your stroller will be Judged. Unavoidable.

35. Yes I will judge your stroller.


1. Paternity Leave is not a vacation. Fact. 

2. Zippers are better than buttons. Fact. 

3. Outfits are always better when they come in one piece. 

4. Make sure you don’t wear a satchel get yourself a backpack. 

5. Real friends bring you coffee. Thanks Becky and Coach K. Campbell?

6. Baby wipes have an infinite number of uses. Fact. 

7.  27 days of investigation has led me to believe my neighbor doesn’t work. 

8.  I now know the ins and outs Cooper’s dresser.  This took almost 26 days to figure out. 

9.  I did not realize how easy it was to stop working.  And be completely ok with it. 

10.  Thank you to Hutch for introducing me to my OWN online xfinity account to watch movies, this is what got me through daytime TV. Because, daytime tv sucks. Fact. 

11.  Coop’s first March Madness bracket was a slight disappointment. He has time….to learn English, write, play basketball, and learn that the NCAA Tourney is amazing.  

12. Your stroller will be Judged. Unavoidable. 

13.  The Yankees might not completely suck. 

14.  EVERY parent will provide you their child’s growth percentiles. Who cares. 

15.  A baby swing is a need for all young parents. 

The battle in this music video is actually a beautiful lullaby

“Nothing I had done before did anything to prepare me for you.”


Motherhood is the juxtaposition of many things. Badassery and softness. Energy and exhaustion. Who we are, versus who we thought we were.

On Swale’s 2014 album, The Next Instead, keyboardist and singer, Amanda Gustafson delivers a startlingly honest and beautiful song about her experience as a new mother. More than appropriately titled, Beaten Down, it was written as a sort of lullaby to her first child. Like many of the songs she writes, it began with the melody and the first line. (“I thought I was beaten down, then you beat me down.” SING IT, SISTER.)

“It’s like a ghost shows up, and then I have to figure out why it’s there.”

Thankfully, she did.

It seems impossible that our journeys as parents are so unique yet so universal at the same time. But there’s not a single lyric that doesn’t have to push its way past the lump in my throat as I sing along (What would I give for that voice?) It resonates, from beginning to end.

“The feeling of being beaten down is coming face to face with the reality of what I’m going to mother like. And that’s a hard realization. Because you will be mad at an infant.”

 The video, shot at the Northern New England Golden Gloves of Vermont,spanned less than three weeks from concept to shooting . And while Shem Roose shot footage of several different fights of both men and women, it became clear during the editing there was only one match they wanted to use. Hannah Rodrigue vs. Anna Gagnon. (The fact that their uniforms matched the band’s clothing and instruments was a complete coincidence.)

“This feels very particularly a woman’s fight. The pressure that we put on ourselves to be kind and loving and sweet mothers- that’s our expectation of ourselves and the battle is to be that all the time.” 

Hear more Swale and follow them on Facebook.

The babies who nap in sub-zero temperatures

Nowadays most day-care centres in Sweden put children outside to rest. It’s common to see rows of prams lined up in the snow at nap-time, with youngsters fast asleep inside.

“Daytime temperatures this winter in Stockholm have regularly dropped to -5C (23F) but it’s still common to see children left outside by their parents for a sleep in the pram. Wander through the snowy city and you’ll see buggies lined up outside coffee shops while parents sip on lattes inside. And if you are visiting friends and your child needs a nap, you may be offered the garden or balcony instead of a bedroom. ‘I think it’s good for them to be in the fresh air as soon as possible,’ says Lisa Mardon, a mother-of-three from Stockholm, who works for a food distribution company.”

BBC News – The babies who nap in sub-zero temperatures.

‘Don’t Think of Ugly People’: How Parenting Advice Has Changed

The curious history told in 19th and early 20th century mothering advice books is a mix of unreasonable demands and unfounded claims.

We run into many snags when we undertake to discipline the nervous baby. The first is that it will sometimes cry so hard that it will get black in the face and may even have a convulsion; occasionally a small blood vessel may be ruptured on some part of the body, usually the face. When you see the little one approaching this point, turn it over and administer a sound spanking and it will instantly catch its breath.

via ‘Don’t Think of Ugly People’: How Parenting Advice Has Changed – The Atlantic.

Looking Back at the Most Popular Baby Names of 2015

Need help naming your baby? Choose from one the most popular names of 2015. #dumpcake

Baby Name Trends 2015
Parent Co projected baby naming trends of 2015. Do you want a kid whose name is on lists?

So, you’re going to have a baby.

Sure, you could pay this Swiss Company $32,000 to scheme up an original, completely one-of-a-kind name for your snowflake. But let’s get real. $32,000 is a huge investment in someone you haven’t even met yet. Yes, people name their kids before they’re born all the time, but it’s a roll of the dice.

“MY name is Steve! Steve’s a great name! WE HAVE TO NAME HIM THAT.” And then “he” comes out minus parts the sonogram wrongfully promised because the technician had too many daiquiris at lunch. Imagine putting $32 grand behind that decision. Steve will look beautiful in her prom dress, by the way.

[Tweet “Here at Parent.Co, we’re offering baby name services for a slashed price of $15,999.”]

As team of professional parents, we’ve collectively named over a dozen children we actually care about and 3 more that people have paid us to. One of our kid’s names even inspired the name of the main character in a blockbuster film. Trust us. We do juice cleanses and put fish oil in our espresso. We know things.

  • We scan the finest drugstore shelves, tropical farmers markets, pedigree dog shows, even the NASDAQ for the highest quality inspiration.
  • We will quadruple check for unfortunate acronyms by consulting with texting teens and cross checking medical journals.
  • We arrange hypnotherapy for both parents to compile an honest list of every sexual partner they’ve ever had to avoid subconscious leanings which could later, be grounds for divorce.
  • We have an in house team of particularly ruthless children of varying ages who participate in round table bullying sessions to determine the likelihood that your offspring could suffer based on our choices.
  • We will provide you with 3 choices. Feminine, masculine and gender neutral. You retain full license to all 3, which takes into consideration those who choose not to find out the sex ahead of time or the event the child’s “jaw line is not strong enough for such a bad-ass moniker”. (Thanks for your review, Tad from Greenpoint!) Should the child decide you got it wrong (listen, it’s not going to be the only time they’re going to challenge your authority. Get used to it.), the remaining two options are theirs for the taking. However, if your 18 year old daughter exercises her right to go rogue and renames herself Tawny Cherry to go work alongside the interstate, well, you probably went wrong at plenty of intersections besides name choice. We can not guarantee that invoking our services puts you on the perfect path.

Once our experts have compiled a list of six choices, we bring ourselves to you. With real life application, we’ll help you determine the 3 original one-of-a-kind namesakes for which you write your check.

  • One of us will accompany you on a shopping trip to TJ Maxx where we’ll hide in racks of clothing while you shout our proposed choices 57 times each. We will take notes from between the dresses on pitch and tone and which sit most naturally in your register. You will have the final say in the event our observations do not take into account that one of them makes you want to shave your head completely bald by utterance 43.
  • We’ll come to your house for the morning rush and spill a full bowl of cereal all over your freshly laundered work clothes while simultaneously recreating Van Gogh’s Starry Night all over freshly painted walls. (This is merely an example. We believe the element of surprise elicits the most natural reprimand on which to draw conclusions.)
  • We will provide you with a four inch stack of school intake forms, pediatrician questionnaires, little league sign ups, and permission slips so you can practice writing the sequence of letters you’ll have to scrawl several hundred thousand times for the rest of your life. Decide before committing that an eleven letter first name is too much to ask of anyone. Or not.

Feel free to contact us to set up a consultation.