A Seasonal Note of Some Relevance For Parents of Children Ages Two Through Five

You know that thing where your kid sings “Jingle BELLS, Jingle BELLS, Jingle BELLS, Jingle BELLS, Jingle BELLS, Jingle BELLS, Jingle BELLS, Jingle BELLS,” in an overexuberant yet tuneless manner for six hours straight? Yes, well, in the future it will seem more adorable in retrospect than it is right at the moment. So at least you have that to look forward to.

You’re welcome.

59 Comments on “A Seasonal Note of Some Relevance For Parents of Children Ages Two Through Five”

  1. It’s called an earworm. I get them from listening to XM radio on the way to work. That’s why I pray for a Beatles song every morning.

  2. I’ve had similar experience with people singing “DON’T STOP BELEIVIN’!!” over and over and over. Most annoying. Especially when it’s done by Journey.

  3. John, does this also apply to the whole “not getting to bed until 9:30” thing, and the “waking up screaming twice a night” thing?

  4. I would kill to just hear, “Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells…” over and over for six hours straight. You know what I get? I get, “JINGLE BELLS, BATMAN SMELLS, ROBIN LAID AN EGG, THE JOKER’ S IN THE HALL, PEEING ON THE WALL, HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!!!!!!!!!” (Evidently there was a modification to the lyrics in the years since I learned it, and that bit about the Joker replaced the bit about the Batmobile. I do not consider this an improvement.) Over and over. And over. For days on end (OK, maybe it just seems like days).

    You see, I have not one, not two, but THREE little boys. And a little girl who cannot be convinced that she will not, in fact, be “turning into a boy” when she gets older. And all of them think the Batman version of Jingle Bells is the best song since…well, since “TRICK OR TREAT, SMELL MY FEET…” (which they start singing around Labor Day each year).

    *sigh* the holiday season is long in my home.

  5. qwertygirl: yeah, my son started doing that last year. (When he’s not telling stories that end in “…and then he farted! HAHAHAHAHAH!”.)

    They grow up so fast!

  6. I cheated. Wife #1 didn’t want kids.

    Wife #2 had one who was 13 when we met and is now learning to drive.

    Ha. Ha.

    And again, ha.

    And I drive a Neon. Before that, a Taurus. My cars are so uncool I don’t have to worry about him wrecking them.

    (His mom’s Santa Fe otoh…)

    (And the German heavy metal blaring from his room is giving my late mother fits of vengeful laughter in the Great Beyond.)

  7. AHHHHiiiiiieeee. The 5 yr old has just grown out of that enough to actually have a tune and most of the words. But the next one is just getting into it….

  8. Should this post start:

    You know that thing?

    “You that thing” is making my head hurt.


  9. Oh boy, something to look forward to. :(

    Speaking of which, thanks for linking ‘Waiting for Athena’ a few days ago. It was a perfect time: my wife and I (both also UofC alums, btw) just found out last week that our first is due next August.

  10. We introduced my son to iTunes a couple weeks ago. He is currently treating us to a playlist on repeat that contains only a choir singing “Joy to the World” and some teenage pop duo singing “Deck the Halls”.

  11. I’m currently listening to alot of practice for the daughter’s school holiday program. The best is the “Hip Hop Turkey” song. I kid you not. “William Tell’s Overshirt” (William Tell Overture on kazoo from what I can tell) is a close second.

  12. Whereas I am looking forward to teaching my kid, “Deck the halls with gasoline…” …later. When he’s in college…

  13. I’ve been listening to I’m a little teapot sung to the tune of the We will rock you by Queen. I am a little teapot! Teapot! I am a little Teapot! Teapot!
    My older Daughter brought it home from cheer leading practice. The younger ones like to copy.

  14. My dad let me at his Pogo books when I was young. Holidays were always time for:

    Deck us all with Boston Charlie
    Walla Walla Wash, and Kalamazoo
    Nora’s freezin on the trolly
    Swaller dollar cauliflower ali ga roo.

  15. My little sister once sang “We wish you a Merry Christmas, We wish you a Merry Christmas” without ever getting to “and a Happy New Year” for nearly the entire car trip between Duluth and St. Paul, MN.

    30 years later, we still don’t let her forget it.

  16. Acutally, Michael, he wrote “You that know thing…” which I find even more confusing than what you thought he had written. Or mayhap he went in to correct based on your post, and slipped on the batmobile’s missing wheel.

    Adorable picture…even moreso because in a few years it’ll be an enormously embarrassing picture, because, you know, everything is ambarrassing to teenagers. Even stuff that isn’t, or shouldn’t be.

  17. MikeJ @22
    My Dad always…always…*always* sings that one several times over the Christmas season.
    Unfortunately, fathers never outgrow their favorite tunes!

  18. Our daughter (at 6-nearly-7) has been obsessed with Rudolph for about three years now — including trying to cadge red markers to color in her nose and the noses of her friends so they can be like Rudolph. I think she believes in Rudolph more than Santa.

  19. I’ve got a just-turned-3-year-old. He can sing Jingle Bells *perfectly*.

    Why yes, I am unbelievably lucky. :-)

  20. I can’t believe nobody’s already sung:

    Jingle Bells, crackin’ shells, Granny has a gun! Shot me in my underwear and then I had a run!

    Or maybe that’s a slightly older age bracket.

  21. On the list of songs marked “repeat until spanked” are also

    Hitler…has only got one ball
    Göring…has two but they are small
    Himmler…has something simmler
    And Göbbels
    Has no balls
    At all.


    Comet, it makes your teeth turn green
    Comet, it tastes like gasoline
    Comet, it makes you vomit
    So get your Comet, and vomit today.

    And the ever-popular

    Great big gobs of greasy, grimy gopher guts…

  22. Also, parents of children ages two through five: Video your kids. Then when they’re teenagers you can go back and watch the videos and remember how damned cute they were, which will likely be enough to stifle your urge to throttle them.

  23. DG Lewis @34: Better idea is to trot out the toddler vids when your teens bring their boyfriends / girlfriends over. Hit your kids right where it hurts – in their coolness. And it doesn’t leave a visible mark.

  24. My youngest is into yelling “Mamma Mia, I got diarrhoea!” at high volume in the supermarket. I’m pretty sure I will never look back on that with fondness…

  25. 28. Eileen.

    You will miss your Dad’s singing one day, too. :(
    Then you will hear the songs he sang and be very sad.

  26. My son will listen to the “Twelve Days of Christmas” by Bob and Doug McKenzie as many times as you will let him play it on the computer. But he doesn’t try to sing it.

  27. My wife is from Russia, and this holiday season she has sung ‘Jingle Bells’ with various homophones:

    “Tinker Bell, Tinker Bell”
    “Jinger Bells, Jinger Bells”

  28. I’ll count myself fortunate that my 1.5yr old girl and 4yr old boy both actually try to learn all the words in songs then! Of course Lucy likes to just sing the fa la la la la part of Deck the Halls all those other words are apparently superfluous.

  29. My daughter and her social circle, a group of girls born in the local fannish community in 1995, have not yet stopped this nonsense. Get two or more of the five (yes, it was a very fertile year) together and it’s assured that they will eventually break out into this ditty:

    Snape, Snape, Snape
    Severus Snape, Snape, Snape
    (repeat ad infinitum until someone spontaneously yells)
    (Repeat until a parent or significant other yells “Cut it out!”)

    So good luck with that idea that Athena is too old for such things.

  30. Those alternate verses some of you posted remind me of a book I got years ago, – Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts: The Subversive Folklore of Childhood by Josepha Sherman. I’m pretty sure it’s out of print now, but it’s still great.

    And yes, looking back at the things my kids did when younger are really cute and funny now. Drove me crazy then. :D

  31. Any advice for us parents who attend their young kid’s holiday performances and the dust in the room kicks up a bit?

    I ask for a friend of mine, of course, not for myself.

  32. My almost-3-year old son has been wishing everyone he meets a “happy merry Christmas decorations” at the top of his lungs for several weeks.

  33. @qwertygirl

    I would have also accepted:

    Jingle Bells, Batman smells
    Robin laid an egg
    Batmobile lost a wheel
    And Joket got awa-ay.

    The New Years part is new to me.

  34. Somehow, when I was a kid, “Joker got away” got corrupted into “And Joker does ballet. Hey!”

  35. @Joe the Wizard

    Yes, evidently the younger generation has updated this old classic for a modern audience. Also, bear in mind that to three boys ages 7, 4 and 4 (twins), peeing is EXTREMELY FASCINATING, and signing about it in a song is both FASCINATING and HILARIOUS. Much to my boundless delight. Wheels coming off of superhero vehicles, and villans escaping have far less allure than any bodily function. If someone can write a verse in which The Pengin is seasonally flatulent, they will be the hero of every small boy from coast to coast for years to come.

  36. I’m sensing a generation gap here. Has anyone but me ever heard of Pogo?

    “Deck us all with Boston Charlie
    Walla Walla wash and Kalamazo
    Nora’s freezing on the trolley
    Boola Boola Pensacoola Hulla baloo”

    and the (other version) that starts:

    Deck us all with Bowls of Barley…..

    Well, you get the idea. But really, no Pogo songs? For shame…..

  37. @qwertygirl

    You mean, above the whole Robin laying an egg double entendre? It needs another fart joke? It’s a bird joke AND a fart joke. The mind boggles!

    How about:

    Jingle bells, Batman smells
    Robin laid an egg
    Penguin ate a lot of beans
    And farted all da-ay!

    Sorry. It’s a stretch.

  38. @ Joe the Wizard

    But double entendre is beyond the reach of most 7 year olds.

    However, yes, something along those lines would probably enhance the holiday spirit of little boys the world around. And now that I think about it, the more “traditional” version, with the Batmobile and all that, doesn’t rhyme worth a damn either. So maybe it’s not such a stretch.

    In the interest of my own sanity, I hope you won’t be offended if I don’t share this with my own little tax deductions. It really might be more than I could bear.

  39. When I was growing up, it was:

    Jingle bells, Batman smells,
    Robin laid an egg.
    Blow your nose in Cheerios
    and eat them all the day.

    I haven’t met anyone IRL who’s heard that one. :(

  40. @ Joe the Wizard:

    No, no, you gotta get the internal rhymes right:

    Jingle Bells, Batman smells
    Robin laid an egg.
    The Penguin’s farts explode like darts
    And smell like fish filet!

  41. And if you think you get away from this stage simply by not celebrating Christmas, think again. Jewish toddlers are more than happy to drive their parents bugfuck by singing the Dreidel song.

  42. I’m rofl because that is what the 6 year old did all night tonight. That and teaching the 2 year how to waddle around the house shouting “ack” at the top of your voice as you imitate a penguin.

  43. Late to the party here, but one of my favorites was my nephew, at a Hanukkah party at the conservative synagogue, singing “I have a little Dreidel, I made it out of poop” much to the delight of all the other 4-year-olds, who took up the refrain.

  44. Weird. My 2 year old actually sings the real words to the songs, to the best of her limited enunciation ability, and has mostly mastered the tunes. She does do other things ad naseum, but the singing thing has never been one of them.

    OK, she’ll sing the whole song over and over again, but that’s not exactly the same thing.

  45. My granddaughter, five, and grandson, three, have been singing this for week… and they don’t know the words. Or the tune. Sascha made up a perfectly good tune of her own only tangentially related to the original and now hers is stuck in my head.

    The words really do have Um um um ee um yah um in them somewhere, right?

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