Friday, May 07, 2010

Grffin loves music! (Who cares about the lyrics?)

When we put Griffin down for a nap or to sleep at night, he sings and sings and sings. He sings in the car, in the bathtub, in his high chair, during diaper changes, in his toy kitchen. It delights me. And sometimes it amazes me--he'll sing songs I've never heard (they must be from daycare) or songs that I didn't think he liked or songs from CDs we haven't played in months or songs in French that I've only sung for him a handful of times.

But I realized something this morning which changes my impressions a little bit. (I still find his singing adorable, but I'm not quite as impressed with his comprehension.) We saw a picture of a ship in a French book we were reading this morning, and he immediately launched into a joyful rendition of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat."

That fit perfectly within the context, of course, and I smiled indulgently at his toddler pronunciation of "merrily, merrily, merrily." As he started singing it for the third time, I realized, though, that he can't possibly be understanding everything he sings in English, much less in French, because he was actually saying, "Row, row, row your boat/Gently down the street," with no apparent concern with or amusement at the physical impossibility of this action!


  1. Hey husband! Do we have any video of Griffin singing that we can use to accompany this post?

  2. a - Is it okay to find it sad that you communicate with your husband via posts?

    b - I think this is a great learning experience. Little kids love silliness. Point out to him how silly it would be for a boat to go down the street. Think of other silly things. Row your boat down the sink? Up the ladder? Whatever. Have fun with it, and use it (or something like it) to illustrate the difference between realistic versus imaginary. Or flip it around.

    c - Singing is a great prelude to paying attention to phonemes. If he's got the tune down, he can start making up nonsense rhymes. "Row, row, row your boat, gently down the goat." (or moat or throat or sounds that, you know, don't actually mean anything, but at least rhyme.

    d - Combine b and c above. What could go down the street? Feet! "Walk, walk your feet, gently down the street." How about your toes? Would they go down your nose? Or a car? It could drive very far. "Ride, ride, ride your car, ride it very far."

    I'm sure you will have lots of fun with this with French, and Fringlish. (or, what do you call it?)

    The point is that it's a good thing that he's not 100% on the vocab. It's a learning experience. And it's good to start it when they're open to it, before they get to the "Mo-om! That's not how it goes!" stage.

  3. Heck, for what it's worth, I think he's brilliant! Having said that, I'm a bit biased because I'm pretty sure DD sang the same thing in the beginning.

    To me it looks like it means he DOES understand everything he sings, because although we know it's a physical impossibility, to a 2-year-old it may not be, what with the fantasy stage and all. I remember DD noticing a dog in the passenger seat of a car and then throwing an absolute fit because she wanted to follow it to the 'dog party.' It took me forever to figure out she was referring to Go Dog Go and was expecting to climb a ladder and eat ice cream in a tree.

    I guess it could be a simple substitution because of instilled habit (more things in his life go down the street than a stream) or that's what made sense to him or both. Genius! Not to mention the rest of it is just plain weird, with the "life is but a dream" business. The dude is making sense of it all!

    Song memory in preschoolers just amazes me, with all that new vocab and different grammatical structures and nonsensical lyrics PLUS rhythm and attempted tonality. How do they do it all? DD is in a huge Mary Poppins phase and can sing a surprising amount of songs off the soundtrack, and will do both the spoken MP and Bert parts in the middle of the singing without missing a beat.

    Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious has some pretty complex vocab and she gives it a go with the closest words she knows. Now that she's older she's asking questions like, "Is he saying Blink your elbows step in time or Link your elbows step in time" and since she's barely 3, she asks the same questions repeatedly. Get ready for this stage, it's next and it's a hoot! But it can make your head hurt with allllllllllll the questions over and over. I want to see video!!

  4. You are featured on my blog!!!

  5. @Estela--I love, love, love your ideas! I'm so lucky to have smart, creative mom friends like you whose ideas I can steal to make these rich learning experiences for my litle guy!

    You notice that my hubby didn't actually respond via blog comments. (He looked up from his computer and said, "No, I don't think so," and went back to what he was working on!) Yeah, that would be pretty silly. Next time I'll text him.

    @Pardon--I love your "Go Dog Go" party story! As someone who works in the children's section of a library, it thrills me to hear about kids who are feeling such a strong connection to books. Your DD sounds like such a bright, creative kid!

    @Frenchy--Merci bien! I'll be back for your June French Obsession post.

  6. @Sarah - Merci bien aussi! Re hubby -- too funny.