It’s been about 30 years since I have seriously listened to children’s songs. I can’t say that I remember the entire lyrics to any of the songs but bits and pieces remain stashed away in the part of the brain that’s kind of like your attic or guestroom closet – the place where you put things that you think you might need again but when you go to retrieve them, they come out a little worn.
So, I have been brushing up on the lyrics to a bunch of old favorites. However, as I’m listening to the words I am horrified at what these songs are about. In fact, I’m thinking of tracking down Tipper Gore to see if she can schedule some hearings on Capitol Hill. Here are a few that concern me…
Itsy Bitsy (or Teensy Weensy) Spider
Look I don’t care how small a spider you are I’m not singing about you. I’m squishing you for the frickin’ bug that you are. This has to be a health issue, right? I mean do we really want to encourage today’s youth to root for spiders?
How Much is that Doggy in the Window?
The answer: Way too much. What, I’m gonna pay $500 for a dog that looks like a rat when I can go to the pound and pick out a nice mutt for $35? I mean, with all the unwanted dogs out there (despite Bob Barker’s best efforts) why would I pay for a dog? Keep walking, kids. Keep walking.
Have you seriously listened to the lyrics of this song? Clementine dies! She falls into the foamy brine (which sounds to me like someone should call the EPA on Clementine’s dad). But I’ve been thinking about this. How do we know she wasn’t pushed? No one was there but the ducks and Clementine’s father. And sure, he’s all choked up about her death but it could be a ruse. Perhaps Clementine was going to call the EPA herself. Has anyone checked for motives? Poor Clementine, murdered and no one knows it.
Okay, I’m all about teaching my kids different languages and cultures but do we have to start with the French? No. No, we do not. Besides, who is Brother John and why doesn’t he wake his sorry butt up? I think he’s hung over from all that french wine. Great, I’m singing to my kids about a drunk. Just great.
Hickory Dickory Dock
There are quite a few songs out there about mice. I’m not sure what’s so appealing about a disease-spreading rodent. If I see a damn mouse running up my grandfather clock, I’m not writin’ a song about it – I’m getting out the peanut butter and mouse traps.
Okay, now why would I sing about a bridge falling down? So every time we get near a bridge my kids shriek in fear? I don’t think so. I hear the London Bridge is now somewhere in Nevada. I can just see myself trekking the family to see the London Bridge just to prove to the kids that it didn’t fall down. Why don’t they just make a song about cars crashing or buildings caving in?
Now, I don’t know about you, but I have high hopes for my daughter. The last thing I want to do is to encourage her to marry some musician from Alabama. She might as well start eating Cheez Whiz and pork rinds. Nope. Sorry. It’s “No Susanna” for me.
On Top of Spaghetti
While this is cute, what does it really say here? One, that people don’t cover their mouths when they sneeze. Second, hold onto that meatball. Now, I think us parents have it hard enough trying to get kids to not play with their food. Do we really need a song encouraging kids to do just that?
Three Blind Mice
While I’m all for teaching my kids about disabilities, I’m not sure this is the way to do it. First, as I mentioned before, these mice are RODENTS! Second, that butcher’s wife is brutal! She cut their freakin’ tails off! Did I ever see such a sight? Well, yes, but not when I was two. It was about 20 years later and I was in New York and… well, that’s a story for another time. Regardless, I’m not exposing my kids to such violence at such a young age. I’d rather have them play a nice video game.
It’s Raining, It’s Pouring
Hello? We’re talking about a man who bumps his head and never gets up! He died people! Is no one concerned about the message we’re sending our kids?
You Are My Sunshine
As a kid I only learned the first verse (or is it the chorus). But now I learn it was written by a former governor of Louisiana and the remaining verses aren’t as sweet. I mean one line is “if you leave me, then you’ll regret it.” So we’re teaching our kids to leave veiled threats to get what they want now? And then there’s the old Sunshine. We all know how dangerous the sun can be. Now I’ll have to teach my kids about the risk of skin cancer while I lather SPF-100 sunblock on them.
So, as you can see, it’s a treacherous landscape when it comes to children’s songs. I’m not sure I can risk exposing my only children to such profane songs. Perhaps I’ll just hum to them instead.
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