One of my more popular posts is “The Wheels on the Bus Are Flat: The Top 10 Most Annoying Children’s Songs.” The title is self-explanatory, really. Let’s face it – singing some of these dreary “ditties” makes one wonder what types of sick minds and lifestyles existed in previous times (let’s remember the old woman who lived in a shoe). From the story of “Three Blind Mice” who were clearly targets of a cold-hearted, psychopathic farmer’s wife, to “Baa Baa Black Sheep” that evokes disturbing imagery of the antebellum south, many children’s songs are a worrisome lot, at best.
Of course the Top 10 tunes that were noted in the previous post were just the tip of the iceberg as many of us parents are mired in sing-song lunacy numerous times daily. Junior can’t sleep? Sing him “Rock-a-Bye Baby,” a song about delinquent parents who think it’s perfectly fine to precariously perch their baby on a treetop. Want to cheer up your child? Sing her “You Are My Sunshine,” which appears to be a desperate plea from a person who is being cheated on by their true love. Still the cheater is the “sunshine” of the singer’s life who would be taken back in an instant. Go figure.
These are just some examples of the questionable songs we all willingly sing to and with our kids with little afterthought. Let’s reconsider and address some of the more popular yet inane children’s songs that are likely on the daily musical roster, shall we?
1) The More We Get Together – “Your friends are my friends and my friends are your friends.” Is it just me or do others see the underlying stalker qualities mentioned here as well as potential for possessiveness, jealousy and otherwise unappealing behavior from a supposed “friend?”
2) This Old Man – I’ve always wondered why the main protagonist here is playing some weird game called “knick-knack” on various parts of my body and clothing. First he plays “one” on my thumb, then “two” on my shoe and so on. To make matters worse, he continues on to do some kind of thing called “paddy-whack” (which doesn’t sound remotely appealing and does sound kind of perverted), then ends the festivities by “rolling home.” Need I say more?
3) If You’re Happy And You Know It – Clapping your hands, stomping your feet and shouting “Hurray!” when you’re happy will cause others to give you the side-eye. Doing “all three” in succession as the song suggests may make you appear certifiable.
4) Shortnin’ Bread – Where do I start with this one?? If I called a doctor about my three children who were all sick with one near death, and he told me to give said children a concoction of what amounts to lard, flour. water and not much else, I’d be calling the authorities, stat. As well “mama’s little baby loves shortnin’ bread” apparently quite a bit, judging by the song. Perhaps this diet of high-fat and low nutrition could be a reason for being deathly ill, as the song goes. Just sayin’.
5) The Farmer in the Dell – The farmer takes a wife. The wife takes a child. The child takes a nurse. The cheese stands alone. Is this fair?
6) On Top Of Spaghetti – You really have to question the efficacy of wanting to eat a meatball that was violently thrust out of the door by a torrential sneeze (eeew!), only to have the same meatball end up in a ball of mush under a bush. Does this sound appetizing to you?
7) Do Your Ears Hang Low? – If one’s ears were hanging so low that they could be tied in knots and bows, not to mention be thrown over one’s shoulders, I would think that this would be cause for alarm. What is surprising about this song is that the questions that it poses are done so with such banality that it appears that this odd medical condition must be somewhat normal in certain populations. This fact is disturbing in and of itself.
8) The Hokey Pokey – What is the purpose of putting your left foot in, then your left foot out, then your left foot in then shaking it all about? Why follow this action with the right foot, left hand, right hand, backside, head and other body parts? Does anyone see the inherent futility behind these actions? And what if the Hokey Pokey really is what it’s all about? Then what?
9) Here We Go Looby-Loo – Is it really prudent to sing your kids a song that appears to be an ode to a night out on a bender?? Sounds to me like whomever wrote this tune sure knows how to tie one on! The first clue is the fact that “all on a Saturday night” is the repeated phrase and it goes downhill from there. This dude is putting his right hand, left foot and right hip in places that we’re not really sure and the dude is shake, shake, shaking them like there’s no tomorrow (see item number 8: The Hokey Pokey).
10) Hush Little Baby (Mama’s Gonna Buy You a Mockingbird) – The parent of this baby is trying to bribe the child. Now this is not a problem in and of itself, after all, don’t we all bribe our kids at times? No, my concern is about the types of items of which this mom is trying to bribe her little one. To wit: a mockingbird, a diamond ring, a looking glass, a billy goat, a dog named Rover and a horse and cart. Not only are these items highly inappropriate for most babies (those under the age of three can rarely discern between a true diamond and a cubic zirconium), but extremely difficult to procure in many instances. Billy goats and horses and carts aren’t easily found, particularly if you live in an urban setting.
So as you can see, there are clearly issues with yet more children’s songs. What’s the solution? I don’t know; The Wiggles may offer some distraction from these “tried and true” themes though their songs are not altogether out of the running (Fruit Salad is not always “yummy yummy,” you know). What’s a parent to do? I guess we’ll have to continue singing along with the kiddies, our teeth clenched in irritation about the lunacy of some of these songs. Either that or get earplugs and fake it till you make it.
Image courtesy of http://www.newyorkpizzapalace.com