Parenthood Or Training Your Replacements

Occupational Hazards of Parenting: The Earworm

I’m not talking about a literal worm in the ear. I am talking about the German ohrwurm: a song that gets stuck in your head. (Bonus unrelated German word: backpfeifengesicht, “a face that cries out for a fist in it”.)

Anyone is susceptible to the earworm. As a parent (or child minder or school teacher) you are susceptible to particularly awful ones. I can only imagine the searing groove songs like Hakuna Matata and Baby Beluga wore in the brains of parents unfortunate enough to have kids in the target audience at the time. I myself have lain awake many a night with the theme song to Peppa Pig going round and round in my brain. It literally goes like this:

Pe-ppa Pig!

[bink, bink-bink BINK-bink, bink-bink bink-bink-BINK-bink]

Pe-ppa Pig.

[bink, bink-bink BINK-bink, bink-bink bink-bink-BINK-bink]

Pe-ppa PIG!

[bink, bink-bink BINK-bink, bink-bink bink-bink-bink-BINK!]

Lately, however, the makers of music for children– specifically those making music for children’s movies– seem to be giving us a slightly better class of earworm. The Despicable Me movies especially:

(The whole song is here, and it’s pretty fab.)

You can also go the Devo route with the LEGO Movie. This song is used in the story as an illustration of mindless corporate pap, but it’s actually pretty catchy:

Plus the lyrics are kind of hilarious:

I feel more awesome than an awesome possum
Dip my body in chocolate frostin’
Three years later wash off the frostin’
Smellin’ like a blossom, everything is awesome

However, nobody does earworms like Disney. If you gather together any number of women who have raised (or who have been) girls in the last 25 years, and begin singing “The seaweed is always greener on somebody else’s plate–” 

You are very likely to get a sing-along going very quickly. I have found myself belting out Disney hits in the shower, chanting them on runs, crooning them as lullabies. And, most recently, horrifying my husband while cleaning the kitchen:

Name your children’s music-related earworms in the comments below, please.


Color Commentary

Bean watched some NFL action with her Daddy last night and gave us running updates on the progress of the game. Which she is qualified to do, as someone who has handled the ol’ pigskin herself, viz.:

half pint half back

She used to play, you know. (2010 photo)

The game was the Baltimore Ravens vs. aunt Anya’s Indianapolis Colts, and during the scoreless first quarter, Bean noted that:

“The people is running and has a ball! Clapping! Yes, go people! You get up, people, and take the ball!”

In the second quarter, when Baltimore put the first points on the board with a field goal, Eve had the following observation:

“He kicked it! He kicked a ball and it is flying in the sticks! Oh wow!”

But her allegiances began to show when the Colts answered the field goal with one of their own. Reaction was swift and vehement:

“No, you stop it! You stop a kicking, go out! Get out of here!”

We are denied further commentary as the Bean had to go to bed during halftime. Sorry, Anya. The kid clearly prefers the Ravens. Just another reason to hate Joe Flacco, I guess.

Doctor Lau-Lau or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Tolerate Waybuloo

[Ed. note: OK, so it’s been a month. I fail at blogging, what can I say?]

Eve has become enamored of a television program. I didn’t want this to happen quite so soon; I’ve read the research about young kids and too much screen time. But sometimes a kid just falls in love.

I guess we were at Simon and Stephanie’s when it happened. CBeebies— that’s BBC for kids under six– would have been put on, and I would already have been cringing in anticipation of seeing In The Night Garden.

In The Night Garden is a gently hallucinatory fantasia set in a forest populated by creatures who can only speak their own names. They ride around in a blimp (the Pinky-Ponk) or a train (the Ninky-Nonk) made of tea pots that have a colorful, if sub-Seussian, quality, and… I just… words fail, okay?

Look, here’s a character called Makka Pakka:

Recognize the voice of the narrator? That is Derek Jacobi– pardon me, Sir Derek Jacobi, CBE, one of the titans of British theatre.

Continue reading

Where Oh Where Can My Baby Be?

This afternoon, after the noise of an airplane became too much for her, Eve came in from the garden, muttering. She crawled through the kitchen, walked through the living room, and lay down on the couch. “Muk,” she said, signing for “milk”.  I brought her a bottle, and she lay there drinking it, examining the ear of her toy fox, until she dozed off.

watching daddy wash the car

Watching Papa wash the car.

Once she had been down for about fifteen minutes, I got up and looked at her sleeping. She was wearing trousers and socks and shoes, and a hooded cardigan. She looked like any of the kids who clamber all over the equipment at the playground in the country park; she’s just a bit shorter. The Bean is not a baby any more. We’ve got a toddler on our hands.


Watching other kids at the park

I realize that being a parent is going to involve a continuous series of these kinds of revelations. I also realize that she’s still very little, and that her getting older means there are a lot more fun things we can do with her. But still: It’s gone away faster than spring. Only spring comes back every year.


Cherry blossoms in Cofton Park, late April

The Week In Bean: Week 52

I know it’s still raw in the Northeastern US, but the weather on the island this week has turned towards more light and warmth at last. Over the weekend we celebrated the birthdays of Eve’s paternal grandparents (both 70) and were pleased to be able to share with them lovely photos taken by a professional photographer Simon knew of. For instance, this one:

the family

Good Lord, I need a haircut.

Photos of the Family Foz were taken as well, but some retouching was required, viz.:

Continue reading

Here We Come

I’ve been chained to my desk this week, trying to cram a full month of work into three weeks. I was up until four last night and at the desk until two today, trying to keep control of my pre-frontal cortex long enough to bash out some coherent ad copy for a client.

And what are we doing now?




We’re packing. We’re getting off the Island for ten days to see folks in America and eat John Goodman’s bodyweight in high-fructose corn syrup, along with playing some football and celebrating Aunt Joan’s birthday around a bonfire. We look forward to letting other people pet/dandle/feed/change the Bean.

Provided, of course, that we don’t get thrown off the airplane somewhere over Greenland due to Bean’s amazingly shrill squeals.

You can find a lot of hostility towards children and parents who take public transport out there on the Internet– I don’t just mean hostility towards obviously undisciplined children, but a kind of free-form hatred of people who bring their kids out in public at all. Guess what? Going out in public is how kids learn to be in public. And kids have to travel sometimes. Now and then they cry or make noises, and if they’re infants, they’ll cry for as long as they need to.

I guess I should point out that I’ve been having nightmares (literally, waking up at night) about a mid-Atlantic meltdown. She’s downstairs squealing her head off right now. It sounds like the end of the world, but I know for a fact that she’s sitting on her playmat, waving a toy or her hairbrush (same thing at that age, I guess). She’s happy. She’s just making noise.

We’ll try to keep her quietly distracted on that eight-hour flight tomorrow. But I’m also packing 10 pairs of earplugs and enough cash to buy a drink for anyone in our immediate vicinity should the Bean kick off.

I really can’t wait to land in New Jersey. Ugh.