Several months ago, my toddler and I stopped by the library and sat in the children’s area. Another mom was already there, playing with her little girl when suddenly I heard the mom sing under her breath, “Old King Cole was a merry old soul, and a merry old soul was heeee…” Old King Cole is a popular children’s song, but this woman sang it in the same eerily slow and scary tune as the one that had been playing in my head. I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and say, “Susie Tallman is in your head, too!”
According to my iTunes, we have 7.7 hours of children’s songs we’ve somehow amassed. And we hear them—all the time, so much so that I now know the lyrics to almost every single one of those songs. I’ve learned that some words are real (“What the heck is a ‘kookaburra’?” I asked my husband), while others—’tisket’ nor ‘tasket’—are technically not. I can sing the longest name (“John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt”) and sing a tongue twister in four different speeds (“Skidamarink kadink kadink skidamarink kidoo”). And some of the songs just make me blush, like the one where a grandma sings “The Owl and Pussycat” and mentions… oh, about five hundred times how beautiful the *ahem* is.
I am mired in a web of children’s songs, all on constant loop, shuffling through our home and our cars. Hundreds of these songs have made their way into my subconscious as I sing or hum about ants marching ten by ten, how easy it is to count by tens, or why ten little monkeys were jumping on the bed.
Still, my toddler seems to enjoy these songs. He went through a phase where the song hasn’t even started yet and he was already asking, “What’s this song?” Or he would be able to identify the songs on just two seconds into it. The best part is hearing him sing the lyrics to songs I never even knew he paid attention to (unfortunately when he’s supposed to be napping). He has even convinced me to make a fool of myself and dance to “Six Little Ducks,” flapping my arms on each “quack” while he laughs hysterically at his crazy mom.
I’ve since stopped playing children’s songs exclusively, for the sake of my sanity and so that my toddler can hear other styles too. For instance, he likes songs from the Beatles, Chuck Berry, James Brown and Eddie Cochran (we figured he’d like a few songs about yellow submarines and jellybeans). We also play classical music since it sounds beautiful—and has no tongue twisters.
That said, I don’t think we’ll be giving up “The Suze,” as my husband and I affectionately call Susie Tallman and all our hundreds of other children’s songs. My toddler still enjoys listening to them, and sadly, I think I secretly like them too. That may be the reason why I will gladly dance a hip hop number to Susie Tallman’s “Buffalo Gals,” to the embarrassment of my husband and toddler.
Do you listen to children’s songs in your house?
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