Best known for American Idol and her Oscar-winning role in Dreamgirls, the singer-actress talks about her latest music project and about raising a toddler.
Imagine having Jennifer Hudson sing your little one to sleep. The Oscar-winner and former American Idol contestant is teaming up with Pampers to record the classic baby tune "Lullaby and Goodnight." Not only is this special track a free download (go to Facebook.com/Pampers), but Procter & Gamble is donating $100,000 to the Julian D. King Gift Foundation, the charity Hudson and her sister created in honor of her late nephew. Parents.com recently spoke to Hudson about being a mother to her 2-year-old son, David Daniel Otunga Jr.
What is it like being a mother? How has David Jr. changed you?
Oh, my god, it is the best ever. I honestly have the sweetest little baby in the whole wide world. He is my little buddy. I could go on and on and on about him if anyone asks me. I tend to go totally overboard, like most mothers do. Everything I see, I now see through a mother's eyes. I always say, you never know how much your parents loved you until you have a child to love. I have now learned what it takes to raise a child, and all of the things parents do to raise a child.
In addition to your role with Pampers, you're also a spokesperson for Weight Watchers. How do you teach your son about making healthy food choices?
Just by setting an example. Although I do not force things on him, when he sees things Mommy does, he learns the right ways. Instead of a piece of candy, he wants a banana. The first thing he will always say to me when he wakes up is, "Mommy, I want a nana." He is also not a juice drinker, but he does want some at times. We also teach him about portion control by saying, "We only get two" or "We only get three."
Babies go through different stages as they develop. Which has been the most challenging so far?
David Jr. is such a phenomenal little boy, but if I had to pick the most challenging stage, I would say the transition stage of having a little baby in my arms and being able to rock him to sleep to seeing him get older. This has been the hardest thing for me, watching him grow up. When he was tiny, I was his world and now he has his own schedule and the things he wants to do. "Mommy, I want to play with kids." Or, "Mommy I want go to so-and-so's house." Or he will just go off any play by himself. I'm always left standing saying, "What about mommy?" It is going way too fast for me. I love watching him take leaps and bounds into the next stage. He's getting ready to go to preschool and I am not ready for that. I am dreading the fall (laughs).
What is your favorite educational toy? What toy or game do you find to be the most educational?
We're into apps because my son loves his iPad. He has the Elmo ABC app and we sit there and trace the letters together. We download many animal and biblical puzzles because the Bible was a big part of my childhood. We do a lot of reading and matching games because I love having him work on things that build his memory. He also loves instruments, puzzles, and the anatomy. He's really into hearts and stomachs right now. We take him to a lot of science museums.
Since your fianc? (David Otunga) is with the WWE, does he tend to wrestle with David Jr.?
David Jr. actually wants to wrestle Mommy and sing to Daddy. He gets our jobs mixed up. I ask, "Can we sing a song and you wrestle daddy?" Instead, he pulls the microphone out to sing to his father and then he tries to knock me over the head, take me out, and then count up to three by holding me down (laughs). We watch the WWE (though he calls it the WWDaDa) shows together, but then he loves to act it out on Mommy and be rough with me. He has his own blow-up wrestling ring, he loves his dad's action figures, and he likes to jump off the couch. I was so worried that he would hurt himself that I created a pillow room where he would be perfectly safe. Now he can jump off of the bed, land on the pillows, and think he's really wrestling. I call this room my Purple Heaven.
What do you sing to him at bedtime?
We make up special songs that we sing together. His favorite is, "Where is Pointer, where is Pointer? Here I am." Although it's not a lullaby, it's his favorite, hands down. He always says, "Mommy, sing my song." I also made him a potty song. It starts, "When you sit on the potty," and then he sings, "who who and then you go pee-pee." Music is such a huge part of my upbringing and background, and now my son is embracing my world.
Did creating a potty training song help you potty train or did you read a particular book?
He trained himself. One day he said, "Mommy, I need privacy." Right now, he won't pee in the toilet, but he will go in the potty. He still has not grasped the concept of, "Oh, I am supposed to pee here too."
Tell me about the special song ("Lullaby and Goodnight") that you recently recorded for Pampers.
It's my version of the classic lullaby. I put more sentimental words and meaning into it because I wanted it to be a mother's message to her child. One of the most precious moments in my life was having a child. It was one of the most memorable moments and it made me realize that a kid's memorable moments is remembering sweet nights when mommy has put you to sleep while singing a favorite song. This was such a great opportunity to give something to my baby and to many other mothers out there.
Would this encourage you to record a children's album?
That is definitely something I would love to do. Because music is my life, that would be so important for me. There is nothing I love more than my role as a mom.
Photo Credit: Diane Bondareff/Invision for Pampers.
Copyright © 2012 Meredith Corporation.