Monday, September 6, 2010

There's a Right way - and it's usually my way.

I grew up in a family that sang.  A LOT.  We sang songs about roosters and cats and a little girl named Ellie Mae who was so skinny she could go down the tub drain when the plug was pulled.

And then I married into a singing family - they sang songs about railroads and Arks and a little girl named Alice who was so skinny she could go down the tub drain when the plug was pulled.

and therein lies the problem.

Kids are impressionable.  If a kindergarten teacher - or a primary teacher in church - tells a child something - that something becomes irrevocably engraved upon their little minds.  It won't matter who is right... it only matters who got to them first!  I'm all for things like Veggie Tales - but I'm afraid that there is an entire generation of children who are going to be thinking about skinny cucumbers defeating Goliath pickles in Sunday School!

I'm no conspiracy theorist or anything - but (on a rare serious note) I think we should be aware of who is teaching our children... and what they are teaching them.  Really, I'm going to have to cope with the fact that "The Cat Came Back" that my daughter learned is not the one I remember my grandfather singing to me as a child - but there are worse things to get wrong.  This is why I will ALWAYS say that one of the most important jobs (in the world at large or in a church setting) is the teaching of young children.  

and I hesitate to tell the rest of the story because it might disqualify me from the job!!!  ah, what the heck...  maybe Ben won't see my blog today?

I was devastated the day (a few years back) the youngest came home from preschool singing me the song about the alligator and the monkeys in the tree...
"...along came the alligator, quiet as can be... SNAPPED that monkey right out of that tree!"

because in my head it is and always shall be thus:
"...along came the alligator, jaws open wide... Snapped up that monkey and swallowed him inside!"

yep, definitely more morbid, but at least I don't leave any kids wondering whether or not the abducted monkeys are being tortured for information.  I'm all about closure!

hmmm... "closure"... that seems like a good note to end on.


so...  which is it?  Alice or Ellie Mae... someday ManOfTheHouse and I are going to end up in therapy and we'll realize that all future communication issues all hail back to our inability to solve this one problem.

19 comments:

Kristina P. said...

How does sex ed go for you?

Living the Scream said...

I also hate when lyrics are changed!!! So annoying! on one of my daughters toys it sings Ring around the Rosey's the Doggy Chase the kitty!!!! That does not even rhyme. What happened to a pocket full of posies?

Lisa said...

IT'S ALICE!!! ALICE, I SAY! "Alice, where are you going? Upstairs, to take a bath...oh my goodness, oh what pain, there goes ALICE down the drain!"

Good times at Grandmother's house in Clifton, Idaho, hearing of Alice's demise, and wondering how big a drain must be to suck down a little girl. :) Such a vivid picture.

T said...

oh great - now there's another discrepancy - because the second verse in my AND M.O.T.H.'s versions are "oh my goodness, oh my soul, there goes Alice/Ellie May, down the hole..."

and yes, kind of scary imagery... maybe it's a good thing we couldn't agree and thus saved our children that nightmare.

One Cluttered Brain said...

SNAP goes the alligator...
Oh great that song will be on my mind ALL day.
SIGH.
Love you and your random posts...:)

Barbaloot said...

We've always sung about the Alice that goes down the hole. Who is the Ellie May?

Tolin said...

Ellie May... but me and T are siblings, so it stands to reason that I'd take that position.

But... maybe it was BOTH, and there are two totally unrelated insanely skinny girls floating somewhere down the drain to this day.

Of course, after all these years...

*cringes*

T said...

...you won't believe it... but there are versions of this song about kids named Gladys, Charlie, Annie May, Johnny... and I've only gotten to page 3 of my google results... I'm not sure I can cope with all of these kids going down the drain... or the hole... or whatever.

T said...

Anna mae now...

and Fannie Mae (if only it were that easy...)

Annabelle...

Jessica?

Tricia and Sally too!

I didn't know when I wrote this what a horrible blood bath (oh, bad pun) it would turn into - my apologies to everyone! I can't handle the horror anymore...

more likely I can't handle the fact that as of Google Results page 16 Ellie Mae has not been mentioned once. Maybe she wasn't quite skinny enough?

Becky said...

Hmm. Perhaps we should be more concerned with the fact that we teach songs about monkeys getting chomped to death and girls with body issues than how they are sung... :)

I get where you're coming from, though. I grew up in Idaho and every year at girl's camp, we sang our favorite songs. When I got put in YW here in Alaska and went to camp for the first time, I almost went out of my mind. I wanted to scream at the girls that they were doing it wrong - ALL WRONG!!

Barbarians.

Megz said...

Ellie Mae? Never heard of her.
But I do kindof like the drain/pain rhyme versus soul/hole. Might as well get our correct plumbing words in there...

Saimi said...

I don't know about Alice or Ellie Mae but I do know if the darn monkey's would stop teasing Mr. Alligator they wouldn't have gotten eaten....

Five little monkey's swinging in the tree,
"TEASING Mr. Alligator, "can't catch me, no you can't catch me." Along comes Mr. Alligator, quite as can be...SNAP!

Yep, after the first monkey you would have thought the other four would have learned their lesson!

Lesson being, it's not nice to tease....

We sing this song in preschool and the kids love it, especially when Mr. Alligator is being quiet, then everybody SNAPS at the same time!

Garden of Egan said...

Most of the children's songs are rather morbid aren't they?

Erin said...

I think there's something to Ring Around the Rosie, too---with the "ashes" part. Or am I dreaming?

Charlotte said...

My family has these sorts of debates over songs. I have never heard the drain song, so can't advise there, but it is definitely "Along came Mister Crocodile, as quiet as can be .. and SNAPPED that monkey right out of the tree."

I'm also a big believer in getting first crack at teaching them important concepts.

Z said...

Poor Ellie May...

And yay us... I love the new background. Thanks for that... I never have to scroll around that little imperfection to be able to read the words again! ;)

Chelsi said...

I would like to know where this awful bathtub is that is sucking all these children down. Or why all these kids are so skinny... Actually, my version was with Gladys, and I never pictured her as a child. She was always a grown-up in my mind. Maybe to protect my childhood fears.

And, the end of the one I know is, "Goodness gracious! Bless my soul! There goes Gladys down the hole!" That's the joy of folk lore, folk music, etc.

Chelsi said...

And, on the "Ring Around the Rosies" song, I'm not a huge fan of changing lyrics, but maybe they got tired of singing about Bubonic Plague. :) It's kind of horrifying when you realize where these songs come from.

Anonymous said...

Ring Around the Rosey is about the black plague in Europe.

The disease, a black ring would appear around a sore on the skin (Ring Around the Rosey).

People thought that good-smelling things would ward off the disease, and carried them around to breathe into when in public. (Pocket full of posies).

I'm not sure the percentage, but a large amount of people died as a result of the plague. But nobody got a proper burial; there were so many bodies and with the risk of contagion, they had to mass cremate every body in large groups at a time. (Ashes, ashes, we all fall down).