Songs, Mummy?

The Toddler has always been fond of music. We did our best to introduce as much of it as possible from early on. We had a special song from a Dutch children’s show that my husband and I sang for him in the bath, lullabies at bedtime, a ‘Mummy-is-busy-now-but-you-are-still-important”-song for during the housework and all manner of nursery rhymes for general amusement. Before my son was able to say much, my parents would sing him songs over Skype and he would join in with the actions once he knew them.


Any star-sighting will prompt a quick chorus of Twinkle Twinkle

Something I have loved as the Toddler grew up has been seeing him develop favourites. At our local toddler group, he came to love Twinkle Twinkle. He would get excited when someone suggested singing it at the group, but he would also start singing it to himself in the car, randomly, or if he saw a star-shape anywhere. I was touched to find that I could tell what he was singing not just from the occasional word, but also from the tune. Two year old singing is more tuneful than I imagined it would be.

He has also developed opinions on what I sing to myself, which I do a lot, mostly subconsciously. If it is not to his liking, he will yell: “STOOOOOP! Poesje mauw!” Poesje mauw being a Dutch children’s song about a cat, which he prefers to any of my suggested songs. It is also his go-to suggestion if I ask him what we could sing for The Baby. If you want to get a (rather warped) idea of what it sounds like, check out this slightly disturbing rendition of it from a Dutch children’s channel.

From children’s songs and nursery rhymes, he has now moved on to taking an interest in the CDs I play him in the car. As soon as he is strapped in, he will ask for “Songs, Mummy?” He is also very decided about what he likes and doesn’t like. If a song comes on that he is not pleased with, he will start demanding I play something else at top volume until I change the track or crash into a tree out of frustration. If a song comes on that he does like, he will smile broadly and say “Yes!”. Then he will start bouncing up and down in his car seat and singing along. There is nothing quite like a toddler trying to pick up the words to a Destiny’s Child song – “Hm la happy faaaaaaace… mmm ahh sunshine”.

I have been amusing myself by trying to find a theme in his preferred songs – what is it that attracts him to them? Perhaps you can help. For your delectation and delight, I present to you My Son’s Favourite Music:

Happy Face” by Destiny’s Child.

I’ll Fly Away” from the O Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack. This is his number one favourite and if I’d let him, we would listen to it on repeat all the way from our house to Gran’s (45 minutes).

Don’t Stop Believing“, the Glee version. He calls this “Ta ta ta ta”.

“Proud” by Heather Small, which he refers to as “orange”, because of this karaoke version. Yes, the text changes to yellow not orange but give him a break, he’s two.

Go Home” by Barenaked Ladies – which I have to make sure I stop just before the very last two words…

Do you believe in magic?” by The Lovin’ Spoonful.

Looking for an underlying principle, it would seem his preference is for cheerful music with a strong beat. It also helps if there are frequently repeated, familiar words in it, preferably including ‘smile’ or ‘sunshine’ or something like that. Basically, as our friend Z observed, he likes cheesy inspirational songs.

The other thing I am loving is watching my son play around with music. He surprised me one day about six months ago by composing what I have called The Ballad of His Life. He was playing with his toy aeroplane and hit his teeth on it. He exclaimed “Pain! Neow [plane]! Pain!”. Then he instructed me to play on his toy piano and he grabbed the tambourine, started bouncing up and down to our improvised music and sang roughly the following (here translated into English, but it was a mix of Dutch and English:)

“nanana neow nanana pain nanana piano nanana neow nanana singing nanana Maisie nanana mouse nanana mummy nanana upstairs nanana bath nanana tortoise nanana teddy nana milk nana myam myam nanana please nanana mummy nanana daddy nanana Maisy”

I was just killing myself laughing.

Now he has started adapting existing songs by giving them new lyrics. His favourite for this at the moment is the Bunny Song from Veggie Tales. Bit of context: this is meant to be a ‘bad’ song, in which the Veggies are forced to sing something like “The bunny, the bunny, ooh I love the bunny. I don’t want my soup or my bread, just the bunny. I won’t eat my beans and I won’t eat tofu, that stuff is for sissies but bunnies are cool.” My son has taken to inserting this song into any situation.

1) Maisie Mouse/Bunny song mash up. “A bunny, a bunny, ooh a bunny. No beans. No peacocks. A bunny.”
2) No-not-Bedtime version: “A bunny, a bunny, ooh a bunny. No beans. No bed. No hugs.”
3) Numberjacks mash up: “A blob, a blob, ooh a blob. No blob. No slime. A blob.”

pianoAside from making up his own lyrics, the Toddler also likes making up his own notes. We have made sound-stories on the piano, which he loves. He will go up to the piano himself now and play very low notes saying: “Giants, stomp stomp”, then run to the top end and do the light fairy footsteps. Then he runs back to the middle and accompanies himself singing what is still his all time favourite nursery rhyme:

“Twinkle twinkle tee tee tar
Ha wonder what-oo are
Up above world so high
Tee tee diamond inna sky
Twinkle twinkle tee tee tar
Ha wonder what-oo are.”


37 responses

  1. #PoCoLo Primrose loves a good old sing song too! The words are usually all muddled up though. She spent first few months when Poppy arrived singing Move Like Jagger into the moses basket….hilarious!

  2. Both my toddlers adore singing and music, my 10yo also loves listening to music. I am one who sings in the car, but if my toddlers dont like my singing they are quick to tell me to be quiet! Xx

    • They are so painfully honest, aren’t they?! It’s just a lovely window into their minds, when they develop a taste in music.

  3. Toddler singing is the cutest thing, we are Twinkle Twinkle fans here too, our eldest loves Beyoncé – single ladies! Our littlest loves Echo Beach by Martha and the Muffins, only because it’s used in the Haven holiday advert, she dances and shouts every time it comes on! #PoCoLo

    • I love single ladies! And I just love the unbridled joy when they hear their favourite song comes on. I get: “Fly Away! Well done, Mummy!”

  4. My son when he was small loved a song called happy day he used to sing it everywhere but now he is older and at school he sings the song in the charts especially any that have the word sexy obviously a fav in the playground! #pocolo

    • I think he will probably continue to love music, as both my husband and I do. We would start the Kingston Family Singers, but I don’t fancy having enough children for a proper choir. Two is enough!

  5. Music is DEFINITELY one of the best things for children – Grace adores it and constantly surprises me with knowing the lyrics to so many popular songs that I wasn’t aware that she knew!! I love the variety of tunes that your LO likes. I am pleased to say that I never really played nursery rhymes to Grace in the car – I’m thankful when I hear things like that Dutch song!! Thank you so much for linking up to PoCoLo Judith xx

    • Nursery rhymes are just a bit too dire to have to play on repeat in the car, aren’t they! I do sometimes worry about the lyrics that they pick up – I go to a play cafe sometimes where they play things like Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” and Prince’s “Get Off”. I mean, what??!?

    • It’s just wonderful to share your favourites with them. Although after listening to I’ll Fly Away on repeat for the ninth time it has become a little less of a favourite for me…

    • Yes, as soon as I get my laptop out the Toddler is right there demanding “Listen orange?” And there seems no limit to the amount of times they are willing to listen to something on repeat…

  6. You have to keep this post forever not only because it’s so lovely but also because I can see big things in his future, loving music is quite normal of course but I’ve never heard of one so little compiling their own music and having such an opinion of what he likes, I think he’s going to be a star! Budge over Simon Cowell 😀

    • Haha thank you! Well who knows, he might become a singer songwriter or something and the Ballad of His Life will fetch an astronomical price! Although at the moment we fear he might be more likely to become an actuary as he is utterly obsessed with numbers. He wants to draw them in the sandpit, make them out of playdough etc.

  7. Fantastic post! I take the wee girl to a music class, which she loves 🙂 And the 4yo sings all day – he makes up songs based on what he is doing, a musical running commentary, hilarious 🙂 Current favourites with the boys… Moves Like Jagger, Firework and, I’m almost embarrassed to admit, Gangnam Style…! #PoCoLo

    • What kind of music class? Sounds like a good idea actually, I should have a look around to see what’s on offer near us…

  8. What a fabulous post – my two are exactly the same in their love of music…to control-freak-in-the-car level. My daughter makes up her own songs as she plays, which are a delight to listen to. My son (7) is becoming more ‘mainstream’ now, and adores (clenches teeth) Gangnam Style and Moves like Jagger. However he embraces a more retro-style and can often be heard singing along at the top of his voice to that song which starts “yummy yummy yummy I’ve got love in my tummy” before falling about giggling with his sister.
    Loving the links to Dutch music too! xx

    • Oh the giggling is the best! Before my son had heard the original Heather Small version of Proud, we would sing him that iconic line the way Stevie does it in Miranda: “What have you done today to make me feel proud?” and he would just fall about laughing. Especially if it was Daddy doing it. I think he was very excited to discover it was a whole song.
      Also, I think I need to go on Youtube right now and find out what Move like Jagger is all about because I have totally missed it and all the kids are talking about it, clearly. (You can tell I never get to listen to the radio, it’s just I’ll Fly Away on repeat in my car)

  9. Both my girls love to sing. My 2 year old requests her favourites on car journeys and is particularly into nursery rhymes and Sing & Sign. Hearing her sing “You are my sunshine” just melts my heart and used to make us all laugh when my eldest taught her that it was “when skies are blue” ;0) She used to sing “Boon” instead of Blue which sounded so cute. It took us ages to get her to believe that it was actually “when skies are grey!” She loves You are beautiful by One Direction, Moves Like Jagger and also Gangnam Style. Seeing her and her sister singing and trying to do the moves to this one in the car is hysterical. Little people are great aren’t they? xx

    • It is so moving to hear them sing along to a song, I don’t know why it’s so wonderful but it is. And of course, skies are always blue in a child’s world, she is totally right!

  10. Great post. My nearly 3 yr old loves singing too. She makes up the most bizarre random songs, but they are lovely. And she can hold a tune which amazes me…I could listen to her for hours!
    She also knows the words to her song – Don’t Stop Me Now (the McFly cover) and her brother’s – Chelsea Dagger by the Fratellis. And both my kids are fast becoming massive Olly Murs fans.
    Sadly though she doesn’t seem that interested in instruments, which is sad for me as I’m a saxophonist. And she demands I shut up when I play 😦

    • Oh that’s sad! My toddler was initially not keen on me playing the violin either but now he has become rather fascinated by instruments. Especially Daddy’s guitar…

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