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Babby has always been a big fan of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”. My mother would sing it to him when he was a wakeful newborn, and he would watch her face with fascination as she went through the woof-woofs, the cluck-clucks and the moo-moos of the animals until eventually his eyes would begin to droop.

It’s still the only thing that will get his attention when he’s upset. For some reason he still has a tendency to scream in the car during night drives. Day drives he sits happily for an hour or more, watching the world go by. But night driving tends to make him screamy. So coming home from a friend’s house at night I sometimes find myself singing Old MacDonald endlessly at him.

Problem is, after you’ve been through duck, dog, cat, pig, cow, horse, hen, mouse, sheep, frog, bird and goat, things start getting more difficult. We end up going through increasingly exotic animals until eventually I start running out of those, too. The pause between “and on that farm he had a…” and the name of the creature begins to elongate as I think frantically.

That’s when PH starts throwing out helpful suggestions.

“Walnut!”

“Cheese!”

“Paramecium!”

“Newspaper!”

“Sphincter!”

“Banana!”

So, because I don’t have any better ideas,  I end up desperately inventing onomatopoeia for all of these nouns while Babby continues to twist his neck at improbably angles in his car seat to watch my face as I sing to him.

At least he takes his own advice. The other night, when he was dressing Babby after his bath, I heard Perfect Husband singing Old MacDonald to him, only the farm was entirely populated by the periodic table of elements.

“And on that farm he had some Lithium, ee i ee i o! With an L i here and an L i there, here an L there an i, everywhere an L i…”

I've said it before and I'll say it again...

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