Fly Me to the Moon: A Child’s Lullabye

I love to sing. I’m practically tone deaf, but that hasn’t stopped me from singing dozens of songs each day, out loud, to the horror delight of my wife...

I love to sing.

I’m practically tone deaf, but that hasn’t stopped me from singing dozens of songs each day, out loud, to the horror delight of my wife and kids.  And as we rear our children, I frequently sing with them, as we join together to bellow out everything from kid’s Bible music to Beyonce (complete with finger-wagging as we declare that “if you liked it, you shoulda put a ring on it”).

Most of all, all this singing carries over into the night.  My children, and my son especially, had a lot of difficulties sleeping and napping as infants.  To help them along, and to keep my sanity, I would sometimes begin singing marathons that would last up to half an hour.

Doing all this singing made me realize that there are very few songs for which I know all the lyrics (How can I declare the Goo Goo Dolls once of my favorite bands when I only know 30% of the words to “Slide”?!).  But one song that I do know well is “Fly Me to the Moon,” and not just the chorus-only versions.  As I pushed a stroller or gently patted a baby, I would sing the Utada Hikaru version – complete with her inflections.  Cause I’m just that cool.

Evangelion song

Later, after the kids mastered sleeping, I would try to sing them more kiddy songs, so that they could learn them.  “Fly Me to the Moon” and “Yesterday” were pushed aside for “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”  I also began to take requests.  One day, my daughter stumped me by asking for a “moon” song.  The problem was, I only knew a couple, and both were bland, country songs.  But I couldn’t ignore my daughter – she only spoke about 10 words at the time, so how could I not oblige this little one’s request?

I went to the now-defunct Formspring and asked if anyone knew of a good “moon” song to sing.  The best answer came from that harbinger of wisdom, 2DT:

2dteleidoscope

Charles. Do you even need to ask? Evangelion – Fly me to the Moon

How could I have forgotten?

Although it didn’t really take with my daughter, my son immediately gravitated toward the old standard.  Sometimes I would sing the “long” version (Utada), but more often I would go with the more familiar short version (Claire).  Yes, it’s a Sinatra standard, and though my first experiences hearing the song as a child were by Old Blue Eyes and strangely enough, George Strait, it was the anime/J-pop versions that stuck with me.

Anyway, back to the story.  My son enjoyed the song so much that he requested it every single night for the next 8 months.  Though he’s behind with his speaking ability, he knows the words to this song so well that we often play a game where I replace lyrics and he’ll correct me.   The game always has a theme.  Here’s an example:

Me: In other words, Sesame Street

My son: No! Hold my hand! [in sing-song voice]

Me: Oh, okay.  Hold my hand.  In other words, Elmo…

My son: No!  Darling, kiss me…

Me: Don’t mind if I do! *Kiss*

I really enjoyed singing this classic (of American music and anime EDs) to my son.  But last week, I ended our tradition.  In an effort to wrest him away from his bedtime habits, which had become increasingly OCD-ish, I decided to sing different songs each night.  Actually, we’ve moved on to Christmas songs, and he’s enjoying them (by the way, if you’re in insufferable heat like we are, sing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” – it’ll make you feel at least 3 degrees cooler).

I’m missing our ritual already, but more than that, really, I’m reflecting on how important an anime ED was in both my life and my child’s.  Little lines of music, small bits of animation, minimal lines of dialogue – these insignificant pieces can become very meaningful to  us.

On Beneath the Tangles, we try to discuss the bigger ideas, like how characters deeply affect us or how an episode might reflect an important truth.  And while some (even ourselves sometimes) may claim these posts to be silly, they are not.  This media, and all sorts of others – art, poetry, film, etc. – can connect with our hearts and at times, can even help us accomplish something meaningful, like bringing a soothing sense of comfort and love to a child.

And maybe all this is best way I know how to explain why I love anime.

By the way,  “Fly Me to the Moon” as a bedtime lullaby has come full circle (as it were) in our household.  My daughter, who had her own nighttime song obsession with “Where is Thumpkin?”, has started requesting a specific song since I stopped singing “Moon” to my son.  In her still-forming language, she demands, “Fly Me Moon!” every night.

And I’m glad to oblige.

Comments

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  • Sailor Star Dust (@SailorStarDust0)
    18 September 2012 at 9:29 am

    Aww, that’s really sweet! 🙂 FMttM is pretty catchy after all these years. I also discovered it via the Sinatra version but it stuck with me thanks to the various Eva versions–Claire Littley’s, Utada, etc.

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      18 September 2012 at 9:47 pm

      It’s certainly an enduring song. Thanks for the comment! 🙂

      Leave a Reply
  • dai1313
    18 September 2012 at 10:04 am

    That’s just adorable.

    And it’s good to know that you are imprinting good taste into your children.

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      18 September 2012 at 9:48 pm

      Yep yep – the only anime-related thing they’re watching/hearing are this song and Miyazaki movies. It won’t be until much later that they see my bad taste in anime. 😛

      Leave a Reply
  • Murasaki Lynna
    18 September 2012 at 7:56 pm

    I love this song! I often find myself humming it randomly. I don’t know all the words, though, because I’ve mostly only played the instrumental version in Jazz Band. I should learn them…

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      18 September 2012 at 9:49 pm
  • draggle
    18 September 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Blue Moon of Kentucky? Moon dance? Moonshadow? Lots of good moon songs! Let me know if you ever want to do a recording

    Leave a Reply
  • M
    19 September 2012 at 12:09 am

    Ah! That’s a beautiful tune! I usually stop watching an episode before the ending theme, unless I know there’s usually clips afterwards or I’m really interested in the next episode, but I always watched and listened to NGE’s ending theme. It’s a great piece and it’s fantastic that you sing it to your kids! 🙂

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      19 September 2012 at 2:06 pm

      I’m like you – I usually skip over EDs (and OPs, too), but “Fly Me to the Moon” is one of the rare exceptions. Thanks for the comments! 🙂

      Leave a Reply
  • CrystalChalice
    19 September 2012 at 5:51 am

    Great, now you got me liking the song too!

    And your kids are so adorable!

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      19 September 2012 at 2:06 pm
  • Vii
    19 September 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Fly Me To The Moon has sort of a nostalgic feeling for me. I learned a very easy piano version when I was about nine, and I guess I ended up memorizing the lyrics even though I never sung them.

    I have yet to see Eva, but that ED sounds very nice.

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      20 September 2012 at 10:05 am

      I love when songs give that nostalgic tone, whether via the song itself or our connections to it. Thanks for sharing!

      Leave a Reply
  • renxkyoko
    20 September 2012 at 1:18 am

    I was told Mom’s lulubye to me was that of Smoky Robinson’s baby baby Don’t Cry and another one I can’t recall. lol I asked Mom to sing it to me last year, and wow, she could sing it ala Robinson. ” make it real soon, don’t hesitate, make it nooowww, don’t wait… lalalala. LOL

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      20 September 2012 at 10:06 am

      That’s unique! I sang all sorts of songs that weren’t lullabye-ish to my kids when they were babies – lots of rock and pop songs, and fewer traditional lullabies.

      Leave a Reply
  • Celesma
    21 September 2012 at 9:39 pm

    That’s really cute! 🙂 Reminds me of when I would sing anime stuff to my sisters all the time. (I used to know /all/ the words to Cha-La Head-Cha-La…)

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      21 September 2012 at 11:26 pm

      I bet there are going to be a lot of parents in the future who choose to sing anime themes and Jpop songs as lullabies for their kids!

      Leave a Reply
  • sweetpea616
    25 September 2012 at 10:52 pm

    And here’s where I know I miss out: I don’t care for the ED to Evangelion 😛

    But chances are if I did, it would be a song I sang to my kids if I ever had any. My family does…. weird lullabyes. My mom sang me to sleep with the Bat Masterson theme song:

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      25 September 2012 at 10:55 pm

      You’re forgiven…only because of your strange family lullabies. 😉

      Leave a Reply
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