It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Unclear on the concept

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeemwork! What’s going to work? Teeeeemwork!”

A phrase from a happy-shmappy kiddie recording, no doubt.

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeemwork!”

It started with Timmy, but it’s a catchy little lyric, particularly when you’ve heard it 428 times in three hours, and soon they’re all droning singing it.

“What’s going to work? Teeeeemwork!” It bounces back at me from every corner. From Timmy sitting on the couch with a book. From Emily, sitting in front of the fan, face lifted beatifically to the breeze. From Malli, putting dollies to bed. From Nigel, trotting across the room with one of the bear bags.

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeeemwork!” Lots of enthusiasm, lots of repetition. And of course, it’s a good concept. We hear it echo down through the morning, as we go about our usual round of activity and play.

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeeemwork!”

“That’s MINE! MY train!”

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeeemwork!”

“Timmy pushed me, Mary.”

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeemwork!”

“You can’t have one of those because they’re only for big kids.” This from a two-year-old to a three.

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeeemwork!”

“Me, too! It’s me turn! Me, too!”

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeeemwork!”

“I don’t like that. Don’t hit my bucket with that train.”

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeeemwork!”

“You can’t pull the train there!”

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeeemwork!”

“Is you going-a give me a turn yet?”

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeeemwork!”

“My daddy is taller than your daddy.”

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeeemwork!”

“My mommy is taller than your daddy.” (It’s true.)

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeeemwork!”

“Stop it! You’re squishing me!”

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeeemwork!”

“He ated my plum!”

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeeemwork!”

“Don’t stand there. You’re in my way.”

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeeemwork!”

Of course, just because you know the word, doesn’t mean you have a FLIPPING CLUE what it means. Obviously. I think we’ll be working on this one for a while. But hey, at least we know the solution:

“What’s going to work? Teeeeeeemwork!”

June 10, 2008 - Posted by | aggression, daycare, manners, the things they say! | , ,


  1. You mean you haven’t been subjected to an episode of Wonderpets? That’s a line from the theme song. I honestly like a lot of children’s tv, but this one I can’t stand.

    Sample episode: Oh no! The puppy is stuck in the house and can’t get out to pee? Whatever shall the Wonderpets do? What’s gonna work? Teamwork…

    Awww. That’s kind of cute, if you’re two.

    But no, I don’t watch television. I have nothing against it, particularly. This wasn’t a conscious decison. I just never have the time or the inclination. And I certainly don’t have the time when I’m with the kids! Besides, we only have one television, it’s got a 14-inch screen, I think, and it’s in the attic. The tots never go in the attic. So, no TV, and no Wonderpets!

    Comment by McSwain | June 10, 2008 | Reply

  2. That makes me so happy that Jeffrey doesn’t see tv. Of course I know he’ll pick it up from other children, but still at least it’s not originating from our house.

    Of course Jeffrey loves to sing so we get the Baa Baa Sheepy, ABC, Wheels on Bus, Twinkle mix. All of the songs get mashed together and it takes about an hour for the rendition to end. It’s Very cute, but oh so monotonous.

    My oldest didn’t watch television till she was three. The younger two started sooner, but they didn’t pay much attention to it until they were over two. Being someone who is completely disinterested in television herself, I just never think to turn the thing on. We’ve never had any trouble filling our days! And, given that’s how we live our lives and structure our time, I have no idea how people fit in the hours of watching that, apparently, they do. Where do they find the time??

    Comment by Dani | June 10, 2008 | Reply

  3. Ah, Wonderpets. We had a brief fling with them around here, but it seems over, hasn’t been seen in months. Still, we bring up that song on occasion because she did get the show’s point about working together to solve a problem, which is nice.

    So what you’re saying is that the indoctrination worked? In truth, I like giving the children the word for the concept. We tend to shy away from using certain terms (“obey”), but it’s good to have a label for what you’re after. And “teeeeeeemwork” is a good concept at any age.

    Comment by kittenpie | June 10, 2008 | Reply

  4. Hehehe…

    A toddler is to teamwork what a teenager is to moderation.

    A good idea to instill early, just as long as you’re the patient kind who can wait for consistent results.

    Cute post.

    Whereas toddlers are so good at moderation!!! I work with toddlers; I live with teens. They are remarkably similar in very many ways. Soul-sisters and -brothers. Many of their “differences” are a mere matter of degree, not substance…

    Comment by Zayna | June 10, 2008 | Reply

  5. oh no, I’d just got that out of my head…! “and we’ll save the day” arggghhhhhhh…..

    Mwah-hahahaha… That must be what you get for watching TV, because, having never heard the thing before, the song is not running through MY head.

    Comment by jenny uk | June 10, 2008 | Reply

  6. Well I’ve been beaten to telling you its from Wonderpets – Youtube it -there are dozens of different countries versions available:)

    But, I have to say my girls (aged 3 & 4) have managed to grasp the concept of teamwork, and brag/tell me whenever they do manage to work together to get the job done!

    I am a terrible mother – my kids watch Tv pretty much every day. I try to keep it to cbeebies which is vaguely educational in parts and doesn’t have any adverts, but my 3 year old can recite the cillit bang advert from heart anyway!!! But I watch TV too – for education & for entertaiment. My kids can all use the computer as well. And the phone. I like the 21st century. It just involves differnt lessons in moderation…

    As I’ve said to other commenters, my non-TV-watching habits do not come out of any philosophical or moral ideas. I am just disinterested. It never crosses my mind to turn it on. (Helps that it’s up in the attic, and not in the living space — my decision.) My kids did watch television when they were toddlers (two of the three of them still do!) and I didn’t feel that was any comment on my mothering. Any more than you do, really, I’m sure!

    Comment by juggling mother | June 10, 2008 | Reply

  7. Zayna – after I read the teenager thing all I could think of was “What’s going to work? Moooooderation!”

    Somehow, I don’t think teens would have the same positive reaction to that song.

    Maybe if we made it a rap song?

    Comment by Kiera | June 10, 2008 | Reply

  8. Wonderpets, wonderpets, we’re on our way. To help a friend in trouble and save the day. We’re not too big and we’re not too stong, but when we work together we’ve got the right stuff. Gooooooooo Wonderpets, yay.

    Then they eat celery.

    Bwah-ha! “Then they eat celery.” Snort. You’re the first person who’s got me curious to see it. Maybe I will pop over to YouTube! But I mightn’t like the show: celery always gets stuck between my teeth.

    Comment by Rayne of Terror | June 10, 2008 | Reply

  9. i can’t stand that show. CAN’T. STAND. IT.

    Oh, dear. Sorry to have traumatized you with my tale. I didn’t know, you see… 😀

    Comment by Lara | June 10, 2008 | Reply

  10. You know, there are adults who don’t quite grasp that whole “teamwork” concept either…

    Maybe we could make it manditory to watch an episode before attending a potentially conflictual meeting??

    Comment by Florinda | June 10, 2008 | Reply

  11. I’m glad we’ve avoided that one so far!

    I do understand the “saying the phrase but not actually understanding it” though. Q-ster is constantly looking at me and saying, “I’ll be careful,” while he climbs onto something he shouldn’t.

    Dude, you can’t possible be standing on that table and being careful at the SAME TIME. They are definitely mutually exclusive.

    Heehee. But I’ll bet that’s what YOU say every time he climbs up there! So, obviously, climbing up there is okay, so long as he’s “careful”. Whatever that is…

    Comment by Lady M | June 11, 2008 | Reply

  12. Yeah, I can’t stand that show. I do like a lot of the shows my kids watch, but I really hate Wonder Pets.

    All my daycare kids sing it while they clean up though, and if it makes them clean, I’ll tolerate it.

    We just sing the “Tidy Up” song. When I think of it… Can’t comment on the virtues (or lack) of the show, though, because I’VE NEVER SEEN IT!!

    You know, if I wanted to feel morally superior for not watching TV, you guys have all given me lots of ammunition. But mostly I just feel like my disinterest is well-founded.

    Comment by kelli in the mirror | June 12, 2008 | Reply

  13. My kids watch Wonder Pets all the time. Alas, the concept of teamwork has not funneled into their brains. And yes, the show is a tad annoying.

    Yes, watching something happen, and realizing it’s something you could do yourself does not necessarily follow seamlessly, does it? With enough hands-on experience, they’ll get it. Just don’t expect them to like the learning all the time…

    Comment by Mike | June 12, 2008 | Reply

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