Monday, February 4, 2013

Sticks Like Peanut Butter

When rating songs, elementary school kids look for simplicity, repetition, and ability to irritate adults.

When I was a camp counselor—back in the day—I NEVER, never, ever, never taught my kids the “Little Red Wagon” song. Like they need an excuse to say, “You can’t ride in my little red wagon AN-Ymore to-day.” Over and over and over again. But somehow it always got out. Sigh.

Face it. Any song with the “a little bit louder and a whole lot worse” option ranks high on the elementary song chart…and literally kills adult brain cells.

Last summer, S. came home from camp with a catchy little ditty about llamas—a kinder, more PC version of the “Happy Llama, Sad Llama” song. It didn’t bother me too much, despite its off-the-chart earworm quality. I kind of had to admire the clever finger play. And maybe singing it endlessly wasn’t as much fun without a hit squad of friends. Maybe it just didn’t set adults’ teeth sufficiently on edge to be worth repeating. Who knows?

Right now, though…. Both my kids have joined together in musical brain cell assassination. I’m not sure how they both picked up the same song at the same time, but they have.

First of all, let me say that I had a WEEK last week. Our family seemed to experience every kind of difficulty, from the profound to the ridiculous, last week. I worked my butt off. Big A. was out of town. And the hits just kept coming—all the way up until last night when Big A. sliced his fingers open cutting an overly frozen ice cream cake.

Yeah, that kind of week.

So I’m in the car with S., listening to my most favorite piece of music right now (listen here—you’ll thank me), and trying to take deep breaths. Over the music, S. starts in with “Peanut butter jelly time.” (You can listen here if you want, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. I’m warning you!)

“Sweetie, can we just forget about that song for today and listen to this music?”

Silence. The song ends; it’s gorgeous. A moment of additional silence.

“Peanut butter gummi time. Peanut butter gummi time.”

So, I’m sure you’re all dying to know—did I bite and say, “I asked you not to sing that anymore,” thereby giving S. the opportunity to say, “But it’s different!”

Nope. I just melted into a pool of brainless goo sprinkled with a stress topping.

So I lived through the weekend, and Little A. wanted to go to school today despite his hacking cough. I didn’t think he’d make it, so I was a bit apprehensive about picking him up. Would I be wrestling a tired, cranky, tantruming child into the car while listening to his kind, sweet teacher positively describe his “tough day” with “a lot of tears” and a “hard time sharing”?

No! He bounced into the car, happy as a clam. Yay! He’s in a good mood. He’s even singing…

“Peanut butter poopy time. Peanut butter poopy time.”


I decide to reinforce the preschool standard. “Sweetie, let’s not use potty words.”

“Peanut butter poo--boobytrap. Peanut butter boobytrap.”

Nice save, son.



  1. Okay, I can't resist sharing this story with you...

    Our kids (and frankly their friends) thought we were the "strictest parents in Ottawa Hills"... not sure that was true but we had rules and we were consistent with enforcement (not easy)...

    So I was driving them up to Camp Storer in Michigan...

    they put a CD in the player...

    I didn't think much of it until there was silence in the car and I could actually hear the lyrics...



    ::::moment of parental doubt:::::

    {what do I do}

    lyrics continue... can't take it anymore...

    eject disk and toss it out the window....

    look in rear view mirror to 2 children in TOTAL shock. Their taste in music was elevated from that point on!

    1. I'm filing that one away for future reference! I bet their faces were priceless!