The New ‘Wheels On The Bus’

wheels on bus

Lullabies have long been used to prepare children for the world outside their nurseries. ‘Oh dear what can the matter be’ is not just about the inevitable confusion that arises from sending a young man ill prepared into a haberdashers store – it’s about young men been taken against their will to fight in the American Civil War. Ring-a-ring-a-rosy is a prime example of society’s way of remembering an awful event in history (the Black Death) and passing this memory on to our children through the hive mind.

Ring a ring a rosy (the red swellings that were the first sign you got it)
A pocket full of posy (a perfumed handkerchief people carried to ward off the dying stench of their loved ones)
A tis-shoo, a tis-shoo (you are getting sick now)
We all fall down (dead)

Knowing the meaning brings new horror when you hear bands of school children singing it at the top of their voices with glee.

With this in mind, while singing (butchering) The Wheels On The Bus I thought I would take the opportunity to prepare my son for his inevitable bus going journeys. As a veteran of the public transport service I feel I have a lot of life advice to hand on to the next generation.

We did the first three verses that everyone does – wheels on the bus going around, the wipers on the bus going swish, swish, swish and the horn on the bus going beep, beep, beep. At this point my technical knowledge of bus mechanics ran out, and if I am honest, my son’s genes mean that the odds are stacked greatly against him being a practical mechanically minded person, so we moved inside for a look in there.

The crazys on the bus mutter ‘get outta that garden’, ‘get outta that garden’, ‘get outta that garden’.
The crazys on the bus mutter ‘get outta that garden’ so we avoid them if we can.

The drunks on the bus smell really bad, smell really bad, smell really bad,
The drunks on the bus smell really bad, so we open a window if we can.

The hoilligans on the bus tear up the seats, graffiti their names, try and burn the lino,
The hoilligans on the bus tear up the seats, that’s why they’re the undesirables.

Junkies on the bus usually sit down the back, sit down the back, sit down the back,
Junkies on the bus usually sit down the back, so we don’t sit there.

Babies on the bus cry wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah,
Babies on the bus cry wah, wah, wah, and the Mammies pretend they can’t hear them.

The school kids on the bus shout and scream, shout and scream, shout and scream,
The school kids on the bus shout and scream, all day long

The teachers with the kids say at least there’s a pension, least there’s a pension, least there’s a pension,
The teachers with the kids say at least there’s a pension, all day long

Commuters on the bus don’t talk at all, avoid all eye contact, try not to touch,
Commuters on the bus don’t talk at all, and wish they were somewhere else

Mean old ladies try and hit you with their stick, hit you with their stick, hit you with their stick,
Mean old ladies try and hit you with their stick, so don’t sit downstairs at the front

Criminals on the bus try and pick your pockets, pick your pockets, pick your pockets,
Criminals on the bus try and pick your pockets, so make sure your wallet is safe.

Kids mitching school always get caught, always get caught, always get caught,
Kids mitching school always get caught, so make sure you don’t do it.
{This is more of a life lesson that a bus story, but it cannot be repeated enough}

In the middle up stairs is the safest place to sit, near the window, where it is not too hot,
In the middle up stairs is the safest place to sit, so try to go there.

If the bus is packed you will have to stand, try and find a pole, or sit on the stairs,
If the bus is packed you will have to stand, and that’s the worst journey of all.

Now that I think about it, maybe I’ll drive him to school when the time comes.

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The New Old Mac Donald

old mac donaldOne of the most popular nursery rhythms for stuffed toys to sing my son seems to be Old Mac Donald and his farm. While I understand the link between a stuffed dog singing of his mother land, from whence he came, there are really only so many animals on the farm that make different and distinct noises. You have your horse, cow, sheep, chickens, birds, fish (because you are starting to get desperate) and that is sort of it – lambs make pretty much the same noise as sheep, goats sound alarmingly like horses, chicks sound like regular birds, you might throw in a cat and a dog because the child you are singing to is beginning to doubt your agricultural credentials if you can only name 6 farmyard animals with their noises, but otherwise that’s all your average city-dweller can name. In a flash of brilliance you might say the farm is also a zoo, so that gives you a lion, snake, monkeys, but then you are stuck again because the elephant sounds very similar to the goat and the horse, as does the jaguar sound similar to either the lion or the cat, and who knows what noise an ostrich makes.

So I decided to approach this problem from another angle. Suppose my son does grow up to be a farmer and emulate this Old Mac Donald, he is not going to be the slack jaw’d yokel sitting on the fence watching the animals go by, god no, he is going to be in farm management, running the show. He will need to know more than the noises the animals make, he will need to know the noises the humans make too.

Old Mac Donald had a farm, e, i, e, i, o.

And on that there farm he had a casual labourer, e, i, e, i, o.

With a curse word here and a swear word there,

Here a cuss, there a cuss, everywhere a cuss word.

Old Mac Donald had a farm, e, i, e, i, o.

 

Old Mac Donald had a farm, e, i, e, i, o.

And on that there farm he had an accountant, e, i, e, i, o.

With a ‘I don’t think that is a legitimate deductable’ here and ‘You can’t put that against VAT returns’ there,

Here an addition, there a qualification, nowhere talk of off-shore accounts.

Old Mac Donald had a farm, e, i, e, i, o.

 

Old Mac Donald had a farm, e, i, e, i, o.

And on that there farm he had a mechanic, e, i, e, i, o.

With a ‘it’s not lookin’ good boss’ here and a ‘when was the last time you had it serviced’ there

Here an added extra, there a query about your insurance,

Old Mac Donald had a farm, e, i, e, i, o.

 

Old Mac Donald had a farm, e, i, e, i, o.

And on that there farm he had a vet, e, i, e, i, o.

With a ‘gosh this elephant sounds just like a horse’ here and a ‘small question about his lineage’ there,

Here a query on its feed, there a check on its poo, everywhere enquires on its origins,

Old Mac Donald had a farm, e, i, e, i, o.

 

Old Mac Donald had a farm, e, i, e, i, o.

And on that there farm he had an AI guy, e, i, e, i, o.

With a ‘that’s a fine lookin’ heifer you got’ here and a ‘just lift the tail for me’ there,

Here a quick push, there a quick shove, all the time watching for a tear in the gloves,

Old Mac Donald had a farm, e, i, e, i, o.

 

Old Mac Donald had a farm, e, i, e, i, o.

And on that there farm he had an HSA inspector, e, i, e, i, o.

With a ‘that hedge will have to be cut’ here and a ‘talk me through your slurry handling’ there

Here a livestock inspection, there a check on the overhead electrics, everywhere vigilance against hazards,

Old Mac Donald had a farm, e, i, e, i, o.

 

I find once I get into this level of technical detail my status of being the most knowledgeable agri-expert in this particular suburban playground is never questioned again – nor does any child ever ask me to sing the song with them again – curious.

The New ‘If You Are Happy And You Know It’

clap handsI have what can only be described as a first world problem. My beautiful, adorable son loves to be sang to sleep. Awwhh. He likes to drink his bottle or suck a soother, lie in my arms and drift off to sleep. So cute.

 

A beautiful idyllic image, until you zoom a little closer to the situation and realise that (1) I cannot sing AT ALL so am probably turning him tone deaf with every passing nap-time and (2) he takes about a half hour to get into a really deep sleep from which he won’t wake when transferred to his cot.

(2) is the real problem area. I don’t know the words of many songs and those that I do are either have a banging beat making them unsuitable for lullabies or the modern lyrics about love-making make them unsuitable for my six-month old boy. That leaves me by and large with nursery rhymes which for the most part are about 6 or 10 lines long and take about two minutes to sing, so that is the same verse every two minutes for a half an hour until he goes to sleep. In some countries this could be used as a form of torture, and that fact that it comes in my off-key, occasionally squeaky voice adds a new level of horror. After six-months of this I am willing to tell anyone anything they want to know just to make it stop.

 

So I started to improvise. With the view that ‘every day should be a school day’ and knowing that nursery rhymes in the past have been used to prepare children for the world ahead of them I started to prepare my son for some of the appropriate actions to express emotion:

 

If you are happy and you know it clap your hands.

If you are happy and you know it clap your hands.

If you are happy and you know it, and you really want to show it.

If you are happy and you know it clap your hands.

 

So far so good. The next verse his singing dog told him was ‘If you are excited and you know it wag your tail’. Now I have an awful image of him at that weird pre-puberty age, seeing a girl that he likes and frantically waving his hips and arse from side to side, because he is excited to see her. Not a great start for any young man, so we changed it.

 

If you are excited and you know it give a big smile.

If you are excited and you know it give a big smile.

If you are excited and you know, and you really want to show it,

If you are excited and you know it give a big smile.

 
Then I thought this might also work out as a subtle sign language between us, so that he will be able to tell me what is going on with him in company, without actually having to say the words.

 
If you are confused and you know it scratch your head.

If you are confused and you know it scratch your head.

If you are confused and you know, and you really want to show it,

If you are confused and you know it scratch your head.

 

 

Then I thought, this might be an ideal time for a safety lesson (can never have enough of them subtly planted throughout his childhood).

 

If you are lost and you know it shout and scream.

If you are lost and you know it shout and scream.

If you are lost and you know, and you really want to show it,

If you are lost and you know it shout and scream.

 

And then I thought I could put in a few actions that would be important later in life.

 

If you are sad and you know it call your Mam.

If you are sad and you know it call your Mam.

If you are sad and you know, and you really want to show it,

If you are sad and you know it call your Mam.

 

And his Dad interjected with a little advice from the family firm

 

If your products are kinda crap, just rebrand,

If your products are kinda crap, just rebrand,

If they’re crap and you know it and you really want to show it,

If your products are kinda crap, just rebrand,

 

But I thought let’s not make his whole childhood a bit of a downer, let’s focus back on happier times.

 

If you are cheerful and you know it tell a joke,

If you are cheerful and you know it tell a joke,

If you are cheerful and you know, and you really want to show it

If you are cheerful and you know it tell a joke,

 

If you are joyful and you know it have a skip,

If you are joyful and you know it have a skip,

If you are joyful and you know, and you really want to show it

If you are joyful and you know it have a skip,

 

But remembering we are trying to put him to sleep I usually go back to:

 
If you are tired and you know it rub your eyes,

If you are tired and you know it rub your eyes,

If you are tired and you know, and you really want to show it

If you are tired and you know it rub your eyes,

 

 

If you are exhausted and you know if give a yawn,

If you are exhausted and you know if give a yawn,

If you are exhausted and you know, and you really want to show it

If you are exhausted and you know if give a yawn,

 

But as these sleepy times are never without their little moments
 

If you are over-tired and you know it arch your back uncomfortably and yell,

If you are over-tired and you know it arch your back uncomfortably and yell,

If you are over-tired and you know, and you really want to show it

If you are over-tired and you know it arch your back uncomfortably and yell,

 

If you are cross and you know it stamp your foot, really hard,

If you are cross and you know it stamp your foot, twice for emphasise

If you are cross and you know, and you really want to show it

If you are cross and you know it stamp your foot.

 
But as we always get there in the end
 

If you are conked out asleep lie very still,

If you are conked out asleep lie very still,

If you are conked out asleep, and no one better wake ya,

If you are conked out asleep lie very still,

 

 

At this point I lie him down in his cot, put on the monitor, creep out of the room and search for wine. It’s 12 o’clock somewhere, right?

 

 

 

The New ‘ Wheels On The Bus’

wheels on bus

Lullabies have long been used to prepare children for the world outside their nurseries. ‘Oh dear what can the matter be’ is not just about the inevitable confusion that arises from sending a young man ill prepared into a haberdashers store – it’s about young men been taken against their will to fight in the American Civil War. Ring-a-ring-a-rosy is a prime example of society’s way of remembering an awful event in history (the Black Death) and passing this memory on to our children through the hive mind.

Ring a ring a rosy (the red swellings that were the first sign you got it)
A pocket full of posy (a perfumed handkerchief people carried to ward off the dying stench of their loved ones)
A tis-shoo, a tis-shoo (you are getting sick now)
We all fall down (dead)

Knowing the meaning brings new horror when you hear bands of school children singing it at the top of their voices with glee.

With this in mind, while singing (butchering) The Wheels On The Bus I thought I would take the opportunity to prepare my son for his inevitable bus going journeys. As a veteran of the public transport service I feel I have a lot of life advice to hand on to the next generation.

We did the first three verses that everyone does – wheels on the bus going around, the wipers on the bus going swish, swish, swish and the horn on the bus going beep, beep, beep. At this point my technical knowledge of bus mechanics ran out, and if I am honest, my son’s genes mean that the odds are stacked greatly against him being a practical mechanically minded person, so we moved inside for a look in there.

The crazys on the bus mutter ‘get outta that garden’, ‘get outta that garden’, ‘get outta that garden’.
The crazys on the bus mutter ‘get outta that garden’ so we avoid them if we can.

The drunks on the bus smell really bad, smell really bad, smell really bad,
The drunks on the bus smell really bad, so we open a window if we can.

The hoilligans on the bus tear up the seats, graffiti their names, try and burn the lino,
The hoilligans on the bus tear up the seats, that’s why they’re the undesirables.

Junkies on the bus usually sit down the back, sit down the back, sit down the back,
Junkies on the bus usually sit down the back, so we don’t sit there.

Babies on the bus cry wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah,
Babies on the bus cry wah, wah, wah, and the Mammies pretend they can’t hear them.

The school kids on the bus shout and scream, shout and scream, shout and scream,
The school kids on the bus shout and scream, all day long

The teachers with the kids say at least there’s a pension, least there’s a pension, least there’s a pension,
The teachers with the kids say at least there’s a pension, all day long

Commuters on the bus don’t talk at all, avoid all eye contact, try not to touch,
Commuters on the bus don’t talk at all, and wish they were somewhere else

Mean old ladies try and hit you with their stick, hit you with their stick, hit you with their stick,
Mean old ladies try and hit you with their stick, so don’t sit downstairs at the front

Criminals on the bus try and pick your pockets, pick your pockets, pick your pockets,
Criminals on the bus try and pick your pockets, so make sure your wallet is safe.

Kids mitching school always get caught, always get caught, always get caught,
Kids mitching school always get caught, so make sure you don’t do it.
{This is more of a life lesson that a bus story, but it cannot be repeated enough}

In the middle up stairs is the safest place to sit, near the window, where it is not too hot,
In the middle up stairs is the safest place to sit, so try to go there.

If the bus is packed you will have to stand, try and find a pole, or sit on the stairs,
If the bus is packed you will have to stand, and that’s the worst journey of all.

Now that I think about it, maybe I’ll drive him to school when the time comes.