We have recently discovered one of the advantages to having a piano: Sydney has learned to recognize musical notes. Of course, she can't actually read musical notes. Seriously. She's only two. We aren't even dedicated enough to work that hard on getting Sydney potty-trained, let alone have the crazy notion of trying to teach a toddler to read music. But, yes, she knows that musical notes either should be played on the piano and/or sung.
As the saying goes: With knowledge comes power. Who ever met a toddler who didn't like power?Sydney has taken full advantage of this knowledge and used it mightily in her favor. A couple weeks ago, she rediscovered a book hidden among the scads of books that she owns. I don't exactly know where the book came from, although I suspect Jason's mom since she is in the habit of finding all sorts of books for Sydney, plus giving us the books that her boys owned (and the copyright on the book is 1979). I'm appreciative of books. I am. Book lover. Book collector. Hooray for children's books. Rah Rah. But this particular book has worn out its welcome with Jason and me.
The book? Wee Sing Children's Song and Fingerplays. Or as we call it around here: We Sing Until We Go Crazy. It appears from Amazon's listings that there is a newer edition than the one we have, so I can't comment on the contents of that book. But I can tell you that this particular version is Sydney's most favorite, most adored, most sought after, most desired book in the whole wide world. At least for the moment.
She won't do any of the fingerplays, but turns the pages quickly and knowledgeably to each song that she wants sung.
First page: Eensy Weensy Spider (only we say, Itsy Bitsy Spider). Sydney says: "Mommy! Sing this!" I sing. Before I even finish, Syd has placed reservations on my time: "Sing a song." She turns deliberately to the next page that shows musical notes--"Hickory Dickory Dock"--and commands again, "Sing it!" If I pause for even the slightest moment, there is trouble. "Sing it. SING IT" Siiiiiiiiiing it!!" If she loses her place in the book, there is panic. "Where's John Jacob? Where's Old MacDonald?!" Peace is restored when she finally finds the page she's looking for.
And so our days are packed full of singing "Where is Thumbkin," "This Old Man," "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt," and numerous others. There are songs I've never even heard of that we now sing on a consistent basis. "Little Peter Rabbit" (sung to the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic), some sort of Good Morning song, a song about One Elephant Went Out to Play, and even a weird song about a Little Green Frog who says Gung.
Even though at first I did all the singing, Syd the Singer now joins in most of the time. Even when I have been relieved of singing duty, and can still hear her humming through the songs, singing Hush Little Baby quietly to her dolls or wandering down the hall muttering "Jimmy crack corn and I don't care." I heard her talking in her sleep the other night, and wasn't the least bit surprised to hear her say, "Pop goes the weasel," before falling silent again. Sometimes now I'll chime in when I hear her singing only to be snubbed with "No, Mommy. No." Okey dokey, then.
Oh, I may complain, but of course you know that my music loving heart is just eating this all up. I may get tired of the demands the song book places on my time, but in the end I'd certainly rather have Sydney asking to be sung to than, say, asking for cartoons.
Plus, in 5 years when she complains about me parading her and her sibling in front of guests to sing songs, I have my excuse all ready: "You started it my dear."