If music is the food of love…

When I started writing this blog, it was my hope that I would provide my readers with oodles of wise parenting advice. The trouble with this is that in order to offer some sort of expertise, one has to be an expert at something, and the more time I spend around my kids, the less I realise I know. Perhaps it’s only me who feels grossly inadequate and overwhelmed by this parenting malarkey, but I suspect that it’s the same for the majority of parents. Every now and again though, I’m sure every parent does stumble upon a little gem, which really does improve theirs, or their children’s lives and sometimes both. In really rare circumstances, this has an even wider appeal, and it is one of these little nuggets which I am going to share with you today.

Before I start however, there are a few things I need to address.

Whilst the junior members of Team Fun are currently known to you as Fraboo, Boy-Boy, Jojo and Mousey, their nicknames have evolved somewhat; often in bizarre and ways which I simply don’t have the time (or knowledge) to explain, and frankly think that you would find tedious. Suffice to say Fraboo is now known as Fred, Boy-Boy as Billion Julian, Jojo is now either Nub-Nub or The Nub, and Mousey well she’s still Mousey.

While this may seem irrelevant, the reason I have imparted this information to you, will become clear very shortly.

As a younger (and much cooler) man, I swore that I would never become one of those adults who moan loudly about the current crop of popular music, and I’m pleased to say that despite a valiant effort by One Direction, for the most part I have kept my promise. I don’t get some music, but that doesn’t mean that it’s no good. Several months ago I was driving to work and listing to the radio, and “The Hardest Button to Button” by the White Stripes came on. If you haven’t heard it, it really is a great song, but the lyrics? Not so much. It’s entirely possible that I’ve completely misunderstood the subtext of the song, but it seemed to me that Jack White, had stumbled upon a rhyming dictionary and was desperately trying to use his new found book as often as possible, in a very vague narrative about a baby (imaginatively named Baby) who had a sore tooth and a ray gun in 1981.

Despite the series of disappointing couplets, I found myself singing along very loudly, with Mr White, although it has to be said, my words were quite different to his, and (incredibly) even worse.

I put together very simple lines which can be repeated ad infinitum/nauseam depending on your state of mind.

Unfortunately I had neglected to notice that the window of my car was wide open, so the folk who were sharing my commute with me were treated to a rousing chorus of:

“His name is Nub Nub,

We call him Nub Nub.”

This little chant, stayed with me over the following few days, and as we were enjoying “Merry Times” (the traditional name for dinner in our house), I mentioned it. Initially I sang it to the family, and in next to no time they all joined in. It is now customary for one person to say “His name is…” and everyone else joins in for the “Nub Nub“.

Rather stupidly I didn’t predict that all of the kids wanted a theme tune of their own, and so I had to rapidly think something up.

Fred’s was fairly straight forward affair, and we all quickly began to bang on the table and clap our hands “ We Will Rock You” style, before half singing, half shouting “Fred, Fred, Fred in the ‘ed, Fred, Fred, Fred in the ‘ed” (and I thought Jack White was a bad lyricist!)

Billion Julian’s took a little longer, however I used a similar inspiration as I had for Fred’s and using the chorus of the iconic Queen song, simply replaced “We are the champions” with Billion Julian (they both have the same number of syllables, see).

I felt really sorry for Mousey though. She is just as deserving of a theme tune as the other kids, and she thoroughly enjoyed the tuneless braying she could hear coming from us, yet she currently doesn’t have vocabulary to demand a song of her own. At the time of issuing of the theme tunes, she had inherited her father’s body habitus. It seemed therefore fitting that her song should be a variation on a Beach Boys classic. While Team Fun are still working on the harmonies, the lyrics are a done deal. They go a bit like this.

“Round, round get around,

I am so round, oh yeah!

Round, round, ohh, ohh

I am so round.”

I can understand that one may think we are likely to give our youngest a complex, and the thought did cross my mind, but this song is too good not to use, so I have adopted it for my own. In its stead we have opted for the chorus from that wonderful classic about a Dutch mouse in a windmill. You know the one.

“I saw a mouse.

Where?

There on the stair.

Where on the stair?

Right there.

A little mouse with clogs on, well I declare

Going clip clippety clop on the stair!”

I’m quite sure that you think this is utterly inane, and to a degree I would agree with you. What’s really interesting though is that quite a few (not all, but some) of our adult acquaintances have expressed, and on one notable occasion, insisted that they have their own song. Although I am keen to protect the identity of the person in question, I would also like to acknowledge my family’s previously hidden talent, in performing barbershop style harmonies.

I think that this little tradition, as it has now become, has given our kids (and friends) a real sense of how important they are to us and a sense of belonging, it’s something which is just for them and only them, and the kids sing or chant their tune with great gusto very frequently. They love impressing their friends with these little ditties (and I think that their buddies are quietly jealous of them).

I realise that this isn’t for everyone, but I really would encourage you to give your kids a theme tune. Actually, while you’re at it, give yourself one too.  It’ll do you the world of good.

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