Sunday, September 23, 2007

Carl and song

To our delight, Carl is now starting to sing bits of songs--in English and in French! He cracked me up last week when he stated "Monkey chase weasel. Pop goes weasel," as calmly as if he were asking for more yogurt. And since I couldn't stop laughing, he repeated it and laughed and said "Funny!" He probably "sang" the song six times and identified it as "Funny!" before my giggles subsided.

For a while now, Carl has been chiming in with three of the songs on Muriel's World, a gentle album of short songs in French that I usually play for him at naptime. I can tell that he pays attention to the songs, because when he doesn't go to sleep right away, he calls out "Atchoum!" during the song about sneezing, "Boum!" in the song about an elephant that goes "Ba-da-boum," and "Non non non!" during the song about "Monsieur Oui" and "Monsieur Non" who say "Oui oui oui" and "Non non non" to each other. It's just about the cutest thing ever--you think he's finally fallen asleep, but then you hear this teeny tiny voice happily calling out "Non non non!" from the nursery.

He's heard Muriel's songs regularly, so I'm not surprised that he has identified some of the words he likes to say and can join in when he hears her sing them. What astonished me this week, though, is when he said words from a comptine that I've only played or sang for him a handful of times, "Pomme de reinette et pomme d'api." It's basically a nonsense rhyme about different types of apples, concluding with "tapis, tapis gris" (gray rug). But it's cheerful and it's traditional and it's in an illustrated book of comptines that I like a lot (Les plus belles comptines des petits lascars), so Carl's heard it occasionally. Anyway, I was eating an apple, and he was saying "Pomme!" and "Tatie mange pomme." And then he followed up with "Pomme 'nette tapis tapis"! Clearly, he had recalled the words from the song (even though he almost certainly doesn't even know what a reinette or a tapis is), associated them with the pomme I was eating and said the lines as if it were the most natural thing in the world!

Why he's singing this particular pomme rhyme instead of the three or four others about pommes from the same book, and why he's not singing the songs I've been singing to him ever since I started babysitting him, I have no idea! But I'm thrilled that he's starting to sing in French. Encore, Carl, encore!


  1. "Tatie mange pomme." And then he followed up with "Pomme 'nette tapis tapis"!" .... this is very cute :D!

  2. I find it amazing to read how vocal and bilingual he is at 19 months. Good work!

  3. He amazes me! But I have to keep reminding myself that every child develops differently, that I shouldn't be disappointed if Croissant isn't singing in French at a year and a half old!

  4. Elizabeth also reports that Carl is now singing words and lines from other songs in English, like "Happy know it clap hands."

    And two days ago he was "reading" the dictionary and saying the letters of the alphabet over and over (often in the right order and everything!), and then he segued right into "Happy birthday to book, happy birthday to book."