It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Sing, sing a song…

Music and little children. Turn on a CD, and Nigel is drawn to the speaker as surely as iron is drawn to a magnet. He stands, mesmerized, swaying gently side to side, a small boy in a melodious trance. Timmy is more active in his appreciation, arms windmilling, whole body bouncing. Anna and Emily smile and wiggle, or, if the music is lively, shriek and clap and/or stomp their feet.

Only Malli and Nigel have yet tried to sing. Nigel and Malli like to sing. They love to sing. Though ‘musical’ isn’t quite the label for their vocal efforts just yet, they are having a wonderful time, and who knows how this might blossom one day?

Nigel’s musical contribution today was a True Canadian effort. The words were clear – all five that he remembered – and the rhythm, sound. No discernable tune, mind you, but two out of three isn’t bad.

“Rippy the gator goes,
Chomp, chomp, chomp!
Rippy the gator goes
Chomp, chomp, chomp!”

Just those two lines. Over and over and over and over again. Rippy the gator chomped his way through most of the morning and a goodly chunk of the afternoon. (Curious as to the rest of the lyrics? Click on the song – it will take you there. You may muse privately on the curious-ness of the family that puts this song in the player of their two-year-old…)

Malli, meanwhile – often simultaneously – serenaded us with this:

Fah-lah Dakka, Fah-lah Dakka,
Doe-mah vous, doe-mah vous.
Son-la-la-la ming dum,
Son-la-la-la ming dum,
Ding, dong, dong,
Ding, dong, dong!

About as tuneful as Nigel’s effort, and equally rhythmic, but the lyrics? They’re a tad muddy*, no denying it. Call me odd, though, but I think I prefer Malli’s song…

*No, the garbled lyrics cannot be blamed on the fact that Malli is singing in French. Malli, the lucky, lucky child, is fluently, 100%, French-English bilingual.

January 25, 2007 - Posted by | the things they say!


  1. Yikes, I looked up the lyrics to Nigel’s song, a bit scary. I’ll stick with Malli’s song also. Hurray for bilingual children!

    Comment by mamacita tina | January 25, 2007 | Reply

  2. My Goddaughter’s favorite song as a baby and toddler was ” never smile at a crocodile” from Peter Pan, except with her, it was pronounced crackerdile!

    Comment by Avalon | January 25, 2007 | Reply

  3. I do love how children are so innately musical (okay, mostly). Pumpkinpie amazed me the day she began to sing a recognizable tune waaaaay before she was saying any recognizable words, but there she was, babbling BaaBaa Black Sheep. Incredible. (Especially since I was notoriously tone-deaf as a child, though I’ve improved quite a lot by now.)

    Comment by kittenpie | January 25, 2007 | Reply

  4. dylan’s favorite song for a while was “the wheels on the bus,” which for him went like this:

    “the wheels on the bus go round and round
    round and round
    round and round
    round and round
    round and round
    round and rou…”

    you get the idea. boy was he cute with that song… for hours at a time…

    then he started enjoying “row, row, row your boat,” especially the version that ends with, “ha, ha, fooled you, i’m a submarine!” when he sang it, this sounded like, “ah, ah, poo’d you, i’n a thubmawine!” and was always followed immediately by, “you ‘ear dat one?” “yes, dyl,” i’d say, “i heard that one. it was good!” 🙂

    Comment by lara | January 25, 2007 | Reply

  5. Nigel’s song is scary – and to have two year know the lyrics? They’ve been playing that one a little too much!

    I love Malli’s interpretation of Frere Jaques (particularly Son-la-la-la ming dum!)- how great that she is already bilingual at 2, do her parents emphasize it at home? Like one speaking exclusively French to her?

    Comment by Angela | January 25, 2007 | Reply

  6. Archie already “sings” with us at 4 1/2 months – and we’ve been noticing that he actually sings in tune (matches pitches and generally in the same key as whatever we’re singing.)

    Helps that we’re both singers from the cradle and his dad’s a professional musician – but I wonder what kind of strange prodigy we’re breeding that recognizes pitch at 4 1/2 months!!

    Comment by Heath | January 25, 2007 | Reply

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    Comment by Dani | January 26, 2007 | Reply

  8. 1-MamacitaTina: Aren’t they sickly? Nigel’s mother says “It’s his dad. He plays that CD in the car, and I’ve been warning him, ‘He’s going to start singing it at daycare!'” I assume such warnings would only serve as incentive. Dad’s a shirt-and-tie rebel…

    2-Kittenpie: I think most children respond to music. I don’t believe they’re all innately musical. What you describe – a child babbling a tune before she can speak – is pretty impressive, even a little exceptional!

    3-Lara: We have a few songs like that.
    [name] is gonna fix it with his hammer,
    [name] is gonna fix it with his hammer
    [name] is gonna fix it with his hammer
    [name] is gonna fix it with his hammer…

    And the (in)famous,
    “Jingle bells,
    jingle bells,
    jingle bells,
    jingle bells…”

    Because when you’ve found a good line, it’s a shame to let it go! (Same with good jokes.)

    4-Angela: As I explained to M.Tina, above, dad plays it in the car. Surprising, really. Having been to one of their concerts, it seems that The Arrogant Worms’ primary audience is younger (male) teens. Mind you, I had a good time at the concert! We have several of their disks (having a bunch of teens). Though they’re funny at first, I found (as an adult) most of their songs get old pretty quickly. THAT particular one didn’t have a chance to get old in my hearing – I don’t think I’ve ever listened to the whole thing.

    Malli speaks French because one parent is French. They lived in France until recently, and they speak French at home. Question really is – why does Malli speak English? Because one parent is English, and speaks only English when alone with the kids.

    5-Heath: Archie is a prodigy. No, Archie is a Prodigy. Really. I remember doing tone-matching exercises with five-year-olds. (It’s in the kindergarten curriculum here.) Many of them couldn’t manage it; some could, with effort. Those who could do it readily were probably less than half the class – and you have a less than five month old who can do it? Boy’s got some good genes in him!

    6-Dani: I think I’ve done this one before, but I’m sure I can manage a second version. Look for it in the next couple of days.

    Comment by Mary P | January 26, 2007 | Reply

  9. How wonderful that the Arrogant Worms are attracting young little fans 🙂

    Comment by laura | January 26, 2007 | Reply

  10. OMG. What an awful song! It’s much worse than the one my daughter learned at school about a sneaky alligator “snapping” monkeys right out of the tree. Though a lot of the stories and songs that I learned as a child, and that she is learning now, kind of creep me out. But Nigel’s song? Takes the prize.

    Comment by abogada | January 26, 2007 | Reply

  11. re: children matching pitch: There have been convincing studies showing that children who speak tonal languages (i.e. languages like Chineese where tone is semantically relevant) are more likely to have perfect pitch. By extension, I would argue that it makes perfect sense for a child who’s been raised surrounded by musicians to have a good sense of pitch: the surprising thing is that we manage to raise so many children who don’t.

    But I am sure your child is a prodigy anyway. *grin*

    Comment by parodie | January 29, 2007 | Reply

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