The Wheels In My Head Go Round and Round

Humpty Dumpty Jumped

In general I am quite happy in my spinsterhood. But every once in a while, when the Chardonnay is especially good, I grow a little sentimental and think it might be nice to live with the pitter patter of little feet–at least, those that don’t come with tails and live in the walls.

I tell myself that I could deal with changing diapers, late night feedings, tiny treasures buried in my sofa that were once meant to be eaten (or were in fact once eaten…). I could wipe up spills, tears, and dirty butts; I could cut the crusts off of sandwiches and put teddy bear ears on pancakes (so long as little G is not gluten-intolerant); I could juggle car seats and groceries and a job or two and still have a smile when she scrapes her knee on the antique What’s-it that she was supposed to stay the H away from… Okay, now you know I am fantasizing. I am borderline delusional. I probably couldn’t handle any of it.

But what is actually for me the most enduring and effective Storkicide is Children’s Music. Not lullabies—those I can listen to until it’s time to tuck myself in and say Nite-Nite. Those are for babies, of one age or another, and are soothing if nonsensical. Children’s Music is a whole ‘nother can of earworms.

Let’s just say we could end the Hobby Lobby debate once and for all if they gave out free Children’s Music CDs in lieu of contraceptives. For the price of one month’s supply of the Pill at Walmart, they could offer a CD that could be used over and over again—in fact, the more you play it, the better it works. Trust me; if they played Children’s Music on repeat in lingerie stores, Victoria’s Secrets would all be unrevealed.

To clarify, I am speaking specifically of recorded music. Live children’s music is tolerable because you can ignore the inane lyrics and improbable rhymes and the squeaky voices, and focus in on the cuteness of the children: little Susie with her big eyes and humongous bow; little Corinne wandering off the stage after little Charlie; little Johnny with his fingers exploring various orifices. All so endearing, and because the music is live, they only sing each song once.

One can handle most anything once. But the essence of Children’s Music is repetition, like the sins in Dante’s Inferno that are punished by being experienced in perpetuity. (BTW: Do we really want our children trained to repeat the same feeling, the same lament, the same question over and over and over again? Really?)

This past summer I accompanied my adorable niece Lollipop on a road trip across Maryland. After just an hour confined in a mobile Children’s Music soundtrack, my sanity was strained. By the time we arrived in Delaware, I had begun to strongly suspect that Humpty Dumpty heard little ongoing voices and jumped.

Take Polly and Sukey, whose fight over the kettle position was narrated ad infinitum by cheery chipmunk voices:

Polly put the kettle on
Polly put the kettle on
Polly put the kettle on
We’ll all have tea

Sukey take it off again
Sukey take it off again
Sukey take it off again
They’ve all gone away

No rinse, just repeat. And repeat. And repeat. No new lyrics; same girls, same kettle, again and again, as the wheels on the car go round and round and round. No wonder people pay $5 for a cup of already brewed coffee.

Surely after the 100,000th time they were put in Time Out. Or sent to help find the Little Lost Dog, or the sheep, or the hairbrush, or whatever else has gone missing in the other undying and unrelenting theme of Children’s Music.

If Polly and Sukey take a break, it is only to give way to another infinite cycle:

—The Itsy Bitsy Spider continues to climb that same spout again and again, despite being washed out each time by the rain. Either epic stubbornness or the prequel to Arachnophobia.

—The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe still punishes her abundant brood with beatings and broth without bread, while This Old Man continues to play “Knick Knack Paddy Whack” on the anatomy of little children. After a century or so, has nobody called Child Protective Services?

—Then there is that Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly—and still nobody knows why, even after the entire cast of Old MacDonald’s farm takes us residence in her intestines.

—Ring Around the Rosy. Again and again we circle until we fall down ashes, in this cheerful little ditty about the Plague. (Will Lollipop’s grandchildren sing with this enthusiasm about Ebola?)

She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain When She Comes. We’re never told who “she” isperhaps the same mysterious stranger “in the kitchen with Dinah, strumming on the old banjo.” We’re told that: “she’ll be riding six white horses when she comes…” Perhaps she’d arrive faster if she took advice from Earl Smooter in Sweet Home Alabama: “You can’t ride two horses with one a**, Sugarbean.”

But no. It’s the song that doesn’t end. Literally. 

The CD crones on:

The more we sing together, together, together
The more we sing together the happier we are.

Call me old fashioned, but in my day we were taught that lying was a sin?

And lest you think poor pedagogy and inanity are the sole province of Mother Goose and other old time authors, I bring you this line sung by Sweetpea from VeggieTales:

“If I never peeled an onion I wouldn’t value all my tears…” (from the song “More Beautiful”)

Dearest Sweetpea, that is the dumbest thing I have ever heard.

But by all means keep singing and I will give you some more to value.


Featured Photo Credit:

By Denslow’s_Humpty_Dumpty.djvu: W. W. Denslow derivative work: Theornamentalist [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons



3 thoughts on “The Wheels In My Head Go Round and Round

  1. “I tell myself that I could deal with changing diapers, late night feedings, tiny treasures buried in my sofa that were once meant to be eaten” . . .
    Is this like that time when you were a kid and thought you could be a martyr?

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