Monday, June 18, 2007

OK, so I'm happy and I know it, but HOW do I show it again?

I learned early on that it was best not to sing too loudly when I took Evan to toddler music programs here. Many of the songs started out familiar at first and I would heartily join in, only to discover that the words I was belting out were not the words everyone else seemed to be singing. The wheels on the bus don't go all through the town here, they go all day long. There are no ashes, ashes in Ring Around the Rosie, only a tissue, a tissue. The alphabet song ends in zed. (This one offends me the most, I must admit; what good is a nursery rhyme that doesn't actually rhyme? That poor dangling v...) Even the Hokey Pokey seems to involve different steps.

Singing with my kids has always been a fun time waster for me, but it's getting harder and harder to do these days. Evan's favorite song is Wind the Bobbin Up, a ditty which I can assure you that I had never heard before we set foot in the UK and still don't fully understand. He also likes to Zoom Zoom Zoom , and he and Julia both love to be Sleeping Bunnies, both of which, while charming, are completely new concepts for me. Lately, both kids have been completely captivated by a song about a fish. (I originally thought this one was a little insipid, but have since reversed my option, as the song appears to have succeeded where I have failed in teaching Evan to tell his right from his left.) My children may retain their American accents and their American identity, but when it comes to nursery rhymes, they're 100% British these days.

Unfortunately for all of us, when it comes to British kiddie songs, I'm lost. I'm still a little unclear about what a bobbin is or why preschoolers should sing about them. I'll be damned if I can remember that little zed detail. I'm pokeying while everyone else is still hokeying. The tunes and lyrics that all of the other mothers seem to fondly recall from childhood, while cute and catchy, are all new to me and their subtle nuances still somehow manage to elude me. I can pull off the London thing in more and more ways these days. But among the 3-5 set, I'm still exposed as a fraud every time I open my mouth.


Blogger pinksundrops said...

Wow talk about a whole new field! There's always the new social aspects, the new geography aspects, and the new distance aspect when somebody moves. But new nursery rhymes?! I'd be as lost as you!

4:49 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

"Tissue, tissue we all fall down"...?? Someone please explain.

My children are learning to play a certain popular children's game much differently from the way I learned it and I am having trouble with that. But...

Zed? Someone please explain.


4:51 PM  
Blogger denzylle said...

Jennifer - I learned 'Atishoo, atishoo, we all fall down' (as in sneezing) and, believe it or not, it originated at the time of the Plague in England (1665). Basically, we suddenly get ill, and then we die.

And Rebecca, I don't know 'Wind the Bobbin Up', but I can tell you what a bobbin is, sort of.

I'm a child of the Pennines, and the mills of East Lancashire and West Yorkshire have spun and woven textiles since the Industrial Revolution. Bobbins are part of the spinning or weaving machinery, and can also be part of a manual spinning wheel.

6:37 PM  
Blogger Christy said...

Ahhh good old zed! I love it, and personally can't stand zee. It sounds so funny, but I guess if you grew up with it zed would be the odd one :)

Great blog, glad I stumbled across.

6:41 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Atishoo, atishoo makes SO much more sense than the whole "tissue" thing I thought they were singing. Denzylle, you are a font of information as always. I still fail to understand why 21st century kids are so captivated by a song about a spinning wheel, though.

9:20 PM  
Blogger denzylle said...

I forgot to add that 'ring a ring o' roses' refers to the circular roseate rash that was the first indication of the Plague. Macabre, eh? But, many children's rhymes and stories have a dark heritage, such as Grimm's Fairy Tales, which are, in the original, extremely grim.

9:33 PM  
Blogger Gretchen said...

Yep, my mother's ancient Singer sewing machine had a bobbin. I still remember her bobbin box.

I adore (as you can imagine) Britishisms like "zed" and "perspex" (a sort of plexiglas).

As usual, I'm jealous that I still haven't been to London and you get to actually live there!

1:08 AM  
Blogger Liesl said...

Well, I'm laughing with you, Rebecca, as I taught Liam the "atishoo, atishoo" version of Ring Around the Rosie. I also (once just for fun, honestly) sung the ABC song with a "zed", and he latched onto it. Guess who's the odd one out in music class here??

2:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have they learned "Ten Currant Buns in the Baker's Shop" yet? That's another favorite at our house (even still) and one kid calls them "care buns". :)

7:05 PM  
Blogger Lindyloo said...

too funny! I right there w/ you. What the heck is a hokey cokey? And don't get me started on the zed! I go to tinytalk w/ squidge and I was forced to buy the music cd as I was soooo lost trying to follow along to songs I don't know AND sign along.

1:59 AM  
Blogger Dana said...

Nothing wrong with "zed". :-) Do they sing "Sing a Song of Six Pence"? That was a favourite of mine growing up, but maybe it's only sung by school children in Canada!

7:33 PM  

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