Monday, March 23, 2009

On the Chilean propensity to stay up all night. In two verses.

You know that old story about how Chevy introduced the car called the Nova and it wouldn't sell in Latin America because no va means "doesn't go?" Or that in some countries food items are pictured on the label and so nobody wanted to buy Gerber baby food because it has that pretty white baby on the label, and who wants to eat that?!

Well, today I present to you a magazine which I just took note of this weekend. It's El Mercurio's home decor magazine, a really pleasant read with profiled workshops and classes on horticulture, weaving, etc. Please view the magazine cover carefully and tell me if this is something you'd like to sign up for

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VD? Should I comment on this? Or should I move ahead to the lullabies.

I think I'll move ahead. Lullabies, or canciones de cuna are not something I have a lot of contact with here in Chile. Most of my friends' kids are older, and the whole OMG, it's 8 PM, I must put the baby to bed thing doesn't really happen here. Kids tend to sort of fall asleep when/whereever here, and there is much less of a focus on ensuring that people sleep enough. Which would explain why my former students, on being asked what they did over the weekend, would often respond "I slept." I thought they were being cheeky, but really, if you accumulated the sleep debt that most Chileans accumulate over the course of the week, you'd spend all weekend asnooze as well.

But let's say you have a baby, and you want him/her to go to slumberland. A lullaby would be perfect, n'est pas? There's one lullaby that I know in Spanish, and in either version, you simply have to wonder how this is going to help a baby fall asleep. It can be sung to the tune of Rock-a-bye baby (which, for those who don't know, also entices babies to sleep by offering them a tumble out of the top of a tree in their cradle, whereupon they go crashing to the ground. I know that always makes me want to settle in for a nap, though maybe it does explain why dreaming that you're falling is such a common theme.)

Duérmete niño, duérmete ya (sleep little baby, go to sleep already)
Que viene el lobo y te comerá (the wolf is coming, and he'll gobble you up!)


Duérmete niño, duérmete ya (sleep little baby, go to sleep already)
Que viene el cuco y te llevará (the boogeyman is coming, and he'll take you away)

You know, I have to say, between the VD and the wolves and boogeymen, I'm beginning to understand why no one around here gets enough sleep.

Bonus points: espantacucos (boogeyman scarer) is what you call a nightlite in Chile. Sweet dreams.


Bystander said...

I always derive a secret pleasure when I see someone driving around here in their huge Mitsubishi 4X4 Montero. This name was changed for the South American market from Pajero. To me, it will always be the Pajero...and all who drive them too. :)

Eileen said...

and for those of you that don't know, Bystander is referring to the word pajero, which in Chile means (literally) wanker. I saw this in the Falklands and oh! how it made me laugh. As did this comment :)

Anonymous said...

The Saudis have a propensity to stay up all night... but they sleep all day so they catch up in that way.

As for lullabies... reciting the Qu'ran is about as exciting as it gets.

Did you know that the lullaby "hush-a-bye baby" was reputedly written by a boy who sailed with the Pilgrim Fathers to America. It was apparently inspired by the Native Indians practice to place their babyies' cradles in the branches of trees so they can be swayed to sleep by the wind, away from harm on the ground.


Anonymous said...

So, the lullaby... yea, that is totally what Seba (chilean partner) and I plan to sing to our kids. Funny thing, I never considered it bad before this blog. Doh!

Eileen said...

@claresays, it's no worse than a million other things people sing to their kids. I still think you should sing it to future progeny. Which version? boogeyman or wolf? I like the wolf better, personally. :) Not that dingoes will ever eat your baby.

Marite said...

Have you ever read original fairy tales and all that? YIKES! Scary, horrible, terrible stuff. But that is because their purpose was different back then... so maybe we need to write new songs instead of using outdated ones?