I know exactly how it started, and--in hindsight--I should have known just where it would lead. I was still on maternity leave, and I discovered that getting myself ready to go out was easier if I sang to the Kid as I did it. Songs with lots of verses require less thought, so my go-to became "I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly".
Well imagine, if you were on a new planet where you didn't speak the language or understand the customs, but you kept hearing the same song over and over again. Eventually, you'd start to be like, "Oh hey! I know that song! Yay!" And then if you were a little upset or bewildered, "Oh good--finally something I recognize!"
And that's how we got where we are. Although some other songs will work for mild displeasure, for true upset, no other song will do. (Oh believe-you-me we have tried!) It has to be that one.
About a month ago we started adding to the "official verses". ("What a mistake, she swallowed a snake".) Two weeks ago, even more. ("Just on a lark, she swallowed a shark....served a la mode, she swallowed a toad....check out that mama, she swallowed a llama....") And now we've gotten even sillier with the order of things. ("She swallowed the ant to catch the cow, she swallowed the cow to catch the cat, she swallowed the cat to catch the spider....") As long as it's sung with proper gusto, it apparently doesn't matter how many ways we kink up the food chain.
As you might guess, we're very tired of the Old Lady. If she weren't already dead, I'd probably wring her neck. Or shoot her, or stab her, or push her off a cliff.
I was discussing this problem with Nice Friend Moxie the other day when she said she was in the process of making her small one, a.k.a. The Cupcake, her own playlist of songs that don't make grown-ups want to kill people in violent ways. I decided that was brilliant, and began working on a similar list for the Kid.
So far, we have a "fun" list and a "lullabies" list.
For fun? A lot of The Beatles, Jimmy Buffett, Ingrid Michaelson, Jack Johnson...some Simon and Garfunkel (Sweet Husband loves "Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard" and my favorite is "Red Rubber Ball")...and even (a not horrible version of) The-Song-That-Must-Not-Be-Named.
For lullabies? A bit more of many of the above mentioned, with some Ella Fitzgerald, Wailin' Jenny's, Dixie Chicks, The Weepies, and, of course, "Dream a Little Dream" by Mamas and The Papas.
I'm hoping that maybe--by making some other songs just as familiar--we can gradually, shovel-by-shovel-full, bury that Old Lady deep in the ground where her rotting corpse belongs!