One of the fun parts of having kids is being able to share your interests with them, things like Star Wars and superheroes. I have been into K-pop for the better part of a decade, so naturally I am passing that on to my kid, too. Here are some songs that I sing to him (even though I don’t speak Korean haha).
This song came out while I was pregnant, so my kid heard it a lot starting even in utero. Though it’s a love song, the concept of a connection through DNA always seemed really fitting to me when talking about the relationship of a mother and a child. Some of the lines translate to things like “We’ll be together forever, DNA” and “The DNA in my blood is telling me/That it’s you who I’ve been looking for.” Since BTS is one of my favorite groups, I of course sing lots of other songs of theirs, but this one reminds me most of him.
by NCT 127
This one is pretty simple: my kid loves fire trucks. For a long time, he called them “wee ooh wee oohs” according to the sound their siren makes. The chorus in this song simply goes something like “Whoop whoop whoop whoop fire truck.” I really have no idea what the song is actually about, but my kid thinks this phrase is pretty hilarious.
This is the most recent release on my list; it came out last November, around the time my kid turned two. One day when I was trying to entertain him, I sang the chorus and did some of the choreography and got the sometimes-desirable/sometimes-dreaded “More!” in response. Now he asks me to sing the “Ba ba” song, and can even sing it a bit himself. The chorus goes:
Bababa bababa bababa
It looks like a lion
I’m a queen like a lion
Which is all just phonetic sounds and English words, including picture book staples “queen” and “lion,” so very easy for a toddler to pick up.
by BIGBANG and 2NE1
I sang a bit of this one to my kid one day, the part that goes “Lolli lolli lollipop,” and he thought it was funny, so I showed him the music video on YouTube and for some reason he absolutely loved it. He’s never been interested in any K-pop video before, but this one is…some kind of special.
It was 2NE1’s first video back in 2009, so they are very young and the fashion is…interesting. I love 2NE1, they are my favorite K-pop group of all time, but this video is not good. The best I can say about it is that it made me truly appreciate TOP’s charisma and visuals. But I guess I can’t be too harsh on it, because it was actually just a commercial for a cell phone. And it is colorful, repetitive, and dancy, plus it’s about candy, so I guess it would appeal to toddlers. We like to put this on and dance around the living room sometimes when we are getting a bit stir crazy.
by Lee Hi
Ah, this one is a bit more personal. I had just discovered Lee Hi around the time I was pregnant, and after my son was born I spent many, many hours in the dark of night singing to try to calm him. After quickly running out of lullabies, I moved onto Rufus Wainwright, The Decemberists, and K-pop songs, and I happened to know a lot of the lyrics to this one from listening to it so much. Again, it’s a love song, but it starts with the lyrics
넌 나의 STAR
넌 나의 SUN
넌 나의 MOON
Which translates to:
You’re my star
You’re my sun
You’re my moon
So I thought it was something sweet to sing to him. I sang it to him so much that it became part of our nightly bedtime ritual: read books, put on sleep sack, sing My Star, turn out light, get in bed and sleep. (When my husband has to put him to bed, he just hums it haha.) Nowadays, he cries when I sing it because he doesn’t want to go to bed! Hopefully it’s just a phase and I haven’t scarred him for life with this song.