Parenting

50 Ways

During every car ride, a handful of requests emerge from the backseat. Smiley begs for a pacifier and also a second pacifier as backup in case the first escapes her mouth. Smartypants occasionally asks that her window be opened or that the air conditioning be turned off, and sometimes I oblige her whims.

Most often, the request I hear is for some form of musical entertainment. The little hoodlums are seldom happy with Daddy's choice of tunes.

Their requests are consistent and repetitive. They ask for Little Mermaid music, or The Princess and the Pauper soundtrack (a musical Barbie movie forced upon us by Mattel). They enjoy Laurie Bergner of Noggin fame, and they sing words about marching dinosaurs or people wearing animals on their heads. They very much enjoy music from Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas. No, it doesn't scare them, and Smiley loves to walk around shouting "This is Halloween, This is Halloween," or my favorite phrase to come out of a two-year-old's mouth, "And since I am dead, I can take off my head."

But if you ask Smartypants to name her favorite song these days, the answer will surprise you.

Smartypants calls it the Hop on the Bus song.  You might know it as Paul Simon's 'Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover.'

If you know the song, you might wonder how lyrics such as "Furthermore I hope my meaning won't be lost or misconstrued" might appeal to a four-year-old. Well, they don't. She only likes the part where Gus hops on a bus. I'll jog your memory:

Just slip out the back, Jack

Make a new plan, Stan

You don't need to be coy, Roy

Just listen to me.

Hop on the bus, Gus

You don't need to discuss much

Just drop off the key, Lee

And get yourself free.

Someday, many years from now, she'll have a better understanding of the song's subject matter. Let's hope our little heartbreaker hasn't been paying close attention to the world around her the past year. In the meantime, it's a catchy little tune, and she won't be satisfied until she gets the order of names exactly right, but I'll enjoy listening to her try. And I'll do my best not to laugh. How odd that my four-year-old is singing about fifty ways to leave her lover.

And Smiley's in the backseat shouting: "Since I am dead, I can take off my head!  Ha ha ha ha ha."

What is this twisted world coming to?

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