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Posts Tagged ‘Schoolhouse Rock’

Narrator: How can he possibly resist the maddening urge to eradicate history at the mere push of a single button?
The beautiful, shiny button?  The jolly, candy-like button?
Will he hold out, folks? Can he hold out?

Stimpy: No I can’t! Yeagh! (presses button)

~ The Ren & Stimpy Show

Another fun ride in Jonah’s amusement park of life is “button.”

“Buh-ih?”  he asks, lazily mushing the consonants.  (He’s a big-time consonant musher).

What he wants, if you will believe me, is to sit on one of the two chairs in the computer room and turn the printer on and off and on again by pushing the big, candy-like button.  This is usually verboten, but once in a while I’ll allow him to press the beloved button five or six times.  I think a large part of the charm for Jonah is the racket of inner mechanisms coming to life and then shuddering to sleep, all accompanied by bright, blinking red & green lights.  I don’t want him to break the thing, of course, but he asks “button?” so sweetly that he’s hard to resist.

He also loves to sit on my lap at the computer and watch videos.  For a long time he begged for “the ocean” and I’d play short videos taken in Cape Cod of him romping in ocean waves.  When he was younger he liked Disney, Wiggles, and other kids’ websites; nowadays I like to play him YouTube music videos by They Might Be Giants and Schoolhouse Rock — but ultimately egotism prevails; his all-time favorite computer activity is to watch himself watch himself on video.  I know that’s confusing but it’s also the truth.  He wants to watch a video in which he watches himself in my dresser mirror while he sings a Guster song.  Of course he doesn’t have an ounce of modesty or self-consciousness about this self-absorption, which is funny to see.

Do I have a young Narcissus on my hands?  He really dug the pool too.  He fell in love with his own reflection in a pool, right?  Maybe I’m onto something.

In 20th century pop culture, I just read on Wikipedia, Bob Dylan’s song “License to Kill” refers indirectly to Narcissus:  Now he worships at an altar of a stagnant pool /And when he sees his reflection, he’s fulfilled. I’ll have to play that one for Jonah.  Maybe he can learn it, watch himself sing it in my dresser mirror as I tape him, then later watch it on video.  Then I could videotape him sitting there, watching that on video.  And then videotape him again as he watches that on video.

Ow.  No.  That hurt my brain.

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To entertain Jonah (and one another), Andy and I sometimes change around existing songs, Weird Al style, to suit our very own weird little family.  And because we are often putting Jonah in a soapy bathtub right after changing a poop, one of our “top 10 hits” revolves around this activity – it’s sung to the tune of  “Another One Bites the Dust,” by Queen, and goes something like this:

Da-da dum. dum. dum.  Put the soap… in your butt!

Da-da dum. dum. dum.  Put the soap… in your butt!

Putt the soap in your butt, putt the soap in your butt, put the soap… in your butt!

Hey!  I’m gonna clean you, too!  Put the soap… in your butt!

We sing gems like this to Jonah, he memorizes them, and then he performs them.  Loudly.  In public.

I know, I know.  We have no one to blame but ourselves.  But how else to explain the necessity of a clean nether-region to a kid like Jonah?  He loves music.  He remembers songs.  This little boy, who can’t string together more than 5 or 6 spoken words at a clip, can sing entire songs – verse and chorus, the whole shebang.  Go figure.

Probably 65% of his repertoire is made up of Guster songs (Yes, I brainwashed him)…

…and maybe 10% kids’ songs (The Wheels on the Bus was an early favorite), 5% Beatles songs (he especially loves Michelle and Yellow Submarine), 5% old-fashioned standards (my dad taught him songs like “Daisy” and “Bye Bye Blackbird“), and the rest these silly made-up tunes that Andy and I sing to him.

Oh, wait – I almost forgot about “Happy Birthday” – one of Jonah’s all-time favorites, quite possibly because its performance at certain gatherings is rewarded, nearly immediately, by cake.   There was a time not too long ago when lighting any candle anywhere in our home necessitated a sing-along of the tiresome tune you should really only have to hear once a year.   Every so often I would deliberately indulge Jonah, lighting a candle so we could both sing the Happy Birthday song (to Jonah every time of course), pause for effect, blow out the candle, and clap wildly, shouting “yay!”

And then light the candle again and start all over.

And over.  And over, and over, and over.

Light, sing, blow, clap, yay! “More?  more?”

Light, sing, blow, clap, yay! “More?  more?”

Light, sing, blow, clap, yay! “More?  more?”

It makes sense to me, though, that Jonah learns well this way and can remember lyrics and tunes.  I mean, I learned more math, grammar, science, and history from Schoolhouse Rock songs (sandwiched between The Superfriends and Bugs Bunny on Saturday morning TV) than I did from the entirety of my elementary school education.  And I remember memorizing many a sedimentary rock for geology tests in college by putting their names to some then-popular tune.

No, I can’t say I’m surprised that Jonah sings along to life.

I have to wonder, though:  was it right for us to mess with such an anthemic Queen song, bastardizing it shamelessly into a ditty about (of all things) putting soap in your butt?

Even Weird Al didn’t stoop that low.

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