Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Alphabet Lullabies For Baby Shastya


This afternoon I was holding baby Shastya and began singing to her. First, I tried singing the English alphabet song: "A, B, C, D, E, F, G . . . H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P . . . Q, R, S, T, U, V, W." And that's as far as I got. I knew the rest of the alphabet: X, Y, Z, but I couldn't remember how the rest of the song matched up with the rest of the English alphabet.

Second, I decided to sing the Russian alphabet to my darling baby girl. "A, b, v, g, d, ye, yo, zh, z, i . . . iy, k, l, m, n, o, p . . . r s, t, u, f, h ts, ch, sh, shch . . . ', ii, ", e, io, ya," I sang. Got through that one easy, so easily I surprised myself. I sang the Russian alphabet to the tune of "My Favorite Things" from Rogers and Hammerstein's The Sound Of Music. I had set the Russian alphabet to "My Favorite Things" over ten years ago when I was teaching a neighbor lady some Russian.

Third, I thought I'd sing baby Shastya the alphabet song I learned in Greek. "Alpha, beta, gamma, delta, epsilon, zeta . . . eta, theta, iota, kappa, lamda, mu, nu . . . xi, omicron, pi, rho, sigma . . . tau, upsilon, phi, chi, psi, omega." Amazingly, I got through this third alphabet song from start to finish like I had done with the alphabet song of my second language, Russian. Years ago, while I was still in grade school I had learned this Greek alphabet song from a family friend.

Fourth, I thought I'd give the Hebrew alphabet a try. "Aleph, beth, gimel, dalet, hey, vav, zayin," I sang. Then I drew a blank. I could remember a few more letters in the middle of the Hebrew alphabet, and the song for those letters, but that was it. A friend had taught me this song for the Hebrew alphabet in grad school.

Baby Shastya seemed to like all four alphabet lullabies. Maybe these alphabets will come to her second nature some day. Hopefully she won't get too confused.