Wednesday, April 18, 2007

silly songs

There is a tradition of silly songs in my family. My grandmother on my father's side is particularly famous for this, having a beautiful voice and a marvelous sense of humor. Here's a sample:

"At the boardinghouse where I live
everything is growing old
there are gray hairs in the butter
and the bread has turned to mold (has turned to mold)

When the dog died we had hotdogs,
when the cat died, catnip tea
when the landlord died I left there
spare ribs were too much for me (too much for me)..."

There's also, of course, the Orchestra Song and "Maggie Dear," and a whole host of others but those are the ones I can remember at the moment. (Incidentally, if anyone knows the third verse to "At the Boardinghouse" my entire extended family--and that's a hell of a lot of people--would be indebted to you if you would share it. We can't remember it and always skip to the fourth verse where for some reason the churchhouse is suddenly on fire and we suspect the third verse is the culprit.)

I guess that's why I find myself singing to Clare all day long. Tuneless monotone things with ridiculous lyrics. Or sometimes actual melodic phrases with a decent rhyming structure. Or classic songs with alternative Clare-specific lyrics. I'm no Laura Hays or anything, but Clare's not old enough to know I'm not really talented.

First there was "Who loves Baby Clare?" which really has no melody to speak of, but the virtue of which is that the chorus can list basically everyone in the world and their kitty cat, because of course, everyone and their kitty cat loves Baby Clare. Then, "Who's the cutest (smartest, funniest, fattest, heaviest, most superlative in whatever way is appropriate at the moment) baby in the whole wide world?" which was great because for awhile, Clare would stop crying if I sang it to her. Before breakfast, there's "Twinkle, twinkle little Clare, how I wonder... what you eat for breakfast" (credit goes to my niece Sol for that one). And, to the tune of "O Christmas Tree":

"O Baby Clare, O Baby Clare,
How lovely is your sprouting hair.
O Baby Clare, O Baby Clare,
It is so thin and sparse up there.
O Baby Clare, O Baby Clare,
Your bald patch is beyond compare.
O Baby Clare, O Baby Clare
How lovely is your sprouting hair."

I've also found that, when she's screaming bloody murder into my ear for no discernible reason, that it really helps me retain perspective to sing my mommy pep song:

"Who loves her baby even when she's fussy (angry, tired, screaming, you get it), who loves her baby all the time?
Mama does, mama does, mama loves her baby, mama loves her baby all of the time."

Just my way of getting through the day, dears..."the Samaritans were engaged."


Laura said...

O Jen. If only I had your song writing ability. We should get together - our fortune is waiting...

Anonymous said...

"In the Boardinghouse" vss. 1–5.

JTB said...

Hermit Greg,you deserve you own silly song in praise of this magnificent deed...

Anonymous said...

Shucks, folksongs are all over the IntarTubes. It just took a little searching in the Google to find it.

JTB said...

And most recently, Clare's new lullaby: "It's time to go to sleep, it's time to go to sleep, Mama loves you very much, it's time to go to sleep." Inspired, right? And, my most recent favorite, "Yummy prunes":
"Yum, yummy prunes, good for your system; if you did not get your prunes, you would surely miss them."