How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

Toys Make You a Singing Psycho

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Singing Crazy Kids Songs

♫ The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round! The wheels on the bus go round and round, aaaaall throoough the toooown! ♫

I think this is the song my wife will be muttering quietly, over and over to herself when they discover her, smoking gun in hand, rocking back and forth near my body. In other words, she can’t stand it when I sing it to the little one anymore. I can’t fault her. I’ll totally understand when she finally snaps.

I blame it all on musical toys, of course.

You see, I have two bad habits that gang up on my wife and kids. Spontaneous interruptive singing and Song-Stuck-in-My-Head syndrome. These curses, mixed with musical children’s toys, make for a lethal cocktail for anyone’s sanity. I’ll explain.

Spontaneous Interruptive Singing

I’m just a puppet. I can’t control it. No matter how much a werewolf hates and swears at the moon he’s just going to get damned hairy when it’s full. Likewise, when someone utters some words that are part of some lyrics, it sets me off singing. I cannot hear someone say “…I think to myself…” without the powerful urge to break into the worst Louis Armstrong impression of What A Wonderful World. Here are some real-life examples with the family:

We’re installing curtains and Lizzie says, “Can you raise—” and I cut in with, “♫ YOU RAISE ME UUUUP, SO I CAN STAND ON MOUNTAINS! ♫” (For some reason I always sing this one in a “Kermit goes rock-opera” voice)

Or, I tell Cody that we can’t see a movie at midnight on opening night and he says, “Awww—” and I immediate break in with, “♫ AWWWWWW FREAK OUT! ♫” (And follow with a vocalized disco guitar)

They all love it. … Really? I got away with that? Wow. I can’t believe my computer didn’t explode from sarcasm overload. Anyways. The songs I erupt with aren’t even necessarily songs that I love. They’re the most uncontrollable when I DON’T like them!

Song-Stuck-in-My-Head Syndrome

Again. The songs I DO NOT like are the ones most likely to set themselves on loop in my head and then smash the controls. The worst thing is, since I don’t like them I’m not really familiar, so it’ll just be one or two lyrics repeating over and over and over and, you get the idea. Don’t look at me like that! I know I’m not the only one. Remember that time you heard some terrible song somewhere and then, as you unlocked your car, for a split-second you asked yourself absentmindedly, “Why can I still hear that crappy song?” BECAUSE YOU WERE JUST SINGING, HUMMING OR WHISTLING IT TO YOURSELF!

The True Villain: Children’s Toys

I love kids and I love music. But some how the two don’t add up to love when the button is pressed on any brightly-colored piece of plastic we just bought for our children. Ugh! Awful. Push-button awfulness. Given to a child who likes to push buttons as much as the heart likes to pump blood. Yay.

One day my two curses kicked in and I was singing The Wheels on the Bus. Lucas absolutely LOVED it. He kept shouting “Again! Again!” Lizzie, who’d heard his toys sing it a bazillion times already, did not love it and resisted shouting what she wanted to. Cody and Max were “plugged” in, and so were immune to my musical stylings.

The wheels on this malfunctioning bus go round and round all the way to Crazy Town.

This continued for a month or two. I even kept if fresh for the lad by inventing new lyrics of things on the bus. A little beat boxing, too. But as you can see in the picture of him covering his ears at the beginning of this post, even the little one has his limits.

The End Is Near

Recently, I’m seeing signs that the end might be near, for my wife’s sanity and for my life. We were driving and Lizzie mentioned, “Does the car seem to drive funny? Maybe the wheels…” She must have heard my deep intake of breath, as I filled my lungs with song, because her pointer finger was instantly poised like a dagger right below my right nostril as she hissed, “DON’T.”

The wheels on the bus no longer go round and round unless she’s is in another part of town.

The Friends on the Facebook go…
LOL, LOL, LOL! The Friends on the Facebook go LOL, all through the Wall.

Instructional Diagrams
I can’t think of a way to work “Instructional Diagrams” into a song. But you’ll love ’em.


69 Responses to “Toys Make You a Singing Psycho”

  1. Christina says:

    I have a cd of children’s Bible music in the car. My son loves it.

    Now imagine hosting all of my Brother-In-Law’s out-of-state friends at my house and all the bachelor partying going on in my house with my car ferrying these bachelors from place to place.

    I so wish I had candid camera installed on my dashboard when they turned on the car to be greeted with “DO DO DO DO UNTO OTHEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRSSSSS!!!!”


    I have to admit it took having all those single, child-less men in my house for me to realize I really am the psycho singing kid’s music at the top of my lungs in the car.

  2. Kevin Berry says:

    I have a really horrible compulsion of turning phrases, snippets of conversations, etc. into songs exactly as you describe above. Have you ever asked why? I do, and I can’t quite put my finger on it. I suspect it has something to do with an obsession with music as a kid, so now I have zillions of snippets floating around in my head, longing to burst forth. Given that you have a similar compulsion, it’s probably best we never meet.

    • Andy says:

      We’d probably cause the universe to implode if we met and touched, shaking hands.

    • I also have this problem. People who don’t know me well think it is funny or even charming, but my family members hate it!
      I was a Girl Scout, and I taught music during Vacation Bible School for many years, in addition to having a love for Musicals and music in general (and a slight obsession with Celtic music) so a lot of “weird” or not-well-known songs pop out of my mouth! (Sometimes with the hand motions too!)

      Most recent “incidents”:

      Someone said something about “If you are happy.” and “CLAP YOUR HANDS! *clap clap*” just came out. (Luckily a chuckle followed because those people don’t really know me)

      Someone said, “Toddlers like to climb.” and I answered with “every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow, ’till you find your dream. . .”

      Sometimes I also just answer someone in the words that I mean but to the tune of whatever is in my head.

      A friend of mine was talking about how shw had been up late and was hoping to get the ObamaCare website to work.And my brain created “I’m up all night to get healthcare. I’m all night to get healthcare.”

  3. Kevin Berry says:

    Additionally, I love beat boxing to my boys, too. Seeing someone dance to your pathetic attempts at laying down a phat beat is kind of infectious and certainly a little ego-stoking. They try to beat box as well (an adorable sight); the day they get good at it, we’re going on the road.

    Ok, maybe not.

    • Andy says:

      I’m milking every moment of my boys semi-tone-deafness and unsophisticated sense of rhythm before the get older and start asking me “Are you okay, Dad?” 😉

    • Dax says:

      I do the same thing! And my son of 4 starts to make random noises and sounds to the beat and it’s so much fun. Let’s create a posse. We call it babbles and beats

  4. Laurie says:

    That first picture is worth a million words!

  5. Sandy says:

    Oh. Oh, yes. This sounds very familiar. My husband suffers from all this, too. I mean – I suffer. He just sings. Uncontrollably.

    As a bonus he’s very much into speaking Swedish and Germany (we’re Finnish). He makes up most of the words as he’s no native speaker of the mentioned languages. Very far from that, actually. I don’t think he ever studied Germany. The end is indeed near but he can’t see it.

    PS. One of our kids’ toys plays that Wheels on the bus song, too.

    • Andy says:

      It’s true. It’s OTHERS that suffer from our affoictions. Ha ha! I only speak English and Crazyse, and I do a fair job of mangling both word and melody. It’s part of the affliction.

      PS Regarding same Wheels On The Bus toy, my heart goes out to you, with both joy and sorrow.

  6. charlie says:

    That toy sounds like dubstep.

  7. Susanne says:

    I never leave comments, but I had to. Because I too suffer from Spontaneous Interruptive Singing. It’s all I can do when someone posts the words “Am I the Only One” to not break out into Melissa Etheridge. My kids have learned to roll with it, which is good, because I’m not seeking help 🙂

  8. Phil says:

    Mostly lately I’VE GOT A DREAM I break out into songs from the Tangled ALL AT OOOOONCE Soundtrack randomly. MOTHEEER KNOWS BEST.

    Yes, it drives my wife insane.

  9. If you ever watched the Backyardigans, that show is full of songs that just get stuck in your head and come out at the strangest times. I always find myself singing “Theres an echo in this canyon” or “A Pirate goes Arrrr” Luckily, nobody finds this annoying. Or maybe they do?

    • Kevin says:

      I find Backyardigan’s songs quite catchy actually. Well, most of them. Some of them. Mostly I’m amused by the way they choose a style of music for the whole episode that is completely unrelated to the story; like the one where they’re searching the jungle for a step pyramid and the music is all disco

    • Chris says:

      “Ridin’ the range, ridin’ the range. Ridin’ the range YAHOO.”
      Mind you, I’ve seen the episode exactly once.
      Luckily my 16-month old daughter loves our music and breaks out into an uncontrollable high chair wiggle dance when Them Crooked Vultures, Keane, or The Heavy come on random during dinner. No need for kiddie tunes.

    • Andy says:

      I don’t watch the show, but that’s probably a good thing. I think my renditions would make others want to do harm to my vocal cords or to their ear drums. It’s pretty bad.

  10. MotherDuck says:

    This used to drive me crazy as a kid when I’d go to my dad and say something like…”Hey dad, it’s Monday. Can you take…”

    My dad:”Monday, Monday, La La, La La La La, Can’t trust that day!” (Mamas and the Papas)

    Me:”Dad! Stop! I need to tell you…”

    Dad: “Stop! In the name of LOVE!” (The Supremes)

    Me:”Seriously Dad, you drive me crazy!”

    Dad: “Crazy…Crazy for feeling so lonely!!!” (Patsy Cline)

    Me: “Ugh!”

    All I can say is I have vast knowledge of music thanks to my dad as well as complete snobbery towards anything that is sub-par in the sound and artistic quality of music thus the ban of musical toys in my house. Full circle!

    • Crankymamma says:

      That’s what my husband does to our kids all the time. Sometimes a find it funny too but there’s others not so much lol.

    • Andy says:

      Wow! Your dad’s spontaneous interruptive singing barrage so reminds me of me. Does that mean Cody, Max and Lucas’ kids are going to be deprive of toys that emit the sound of a syrupy 40-year-old voice actress squeaking out the old kids Standards? Awww… FREAK OUT! Ha ha ha ha ha!

  11. You know what’s pretty bad too? When you have heard that Raffi CD so many times that you kinda start to like it. And when, say, after you drop your kid off at school and get back in the car and Raffi is still playing, you leave it in and start to sing along, only realizing about five minutes later that… maybe you should really be taking this opportunity to be listening to grown-up music.

    • MotherDuck says:

      Ha ha ha! Totally been there!

    • Andy says:

      That’s when you know your condition is in an advance and incurable phase. Time to start drinking or hitting yourself with a hammer.

    • Brian says:

      Did that with Sesame Street’s greatest hits. Drove for an hour before I even noticed I was listening, singing along and even rocking out a bit to “Monster in the Mirror” with no kid in the car. The CD’s since been broken (accident? Or foul play?) but luckily for my poor family, I still know all the words to all the songs.

  12. Kevin says:

    We make up songs, mostly. Mine have lyrics. His are usually a pleasantly lilting babble. but he dances to them.

    Not sure what to do about the toys, but as for children’s music, I’m attempting to pre-empt it with things like the Beatles. He has a particular fondness for Sgt Pepper but really any 60s music will make him dance. Actually really likes The Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street, but generally he likes the groove of your early 60s rock’n’roll, and that’s fine by me. I won’t get a weird look for singing a monkees song in the grocery… no, wait, yes I will

    • MotherDuck says:

      Good choices! But be careful about resisting the other stuff I find with my 10 year old that if I get cranky about her manufactured music she holds on to it harder…even I went through my Madonna stage but eventually came back to the songwriters and poets.

    • Andy says:

      I love this. You are rad. Or groovy if that suits you. 🙂

  13. Emily says:

    I used to do a totally rad chopped and screwed version of the alphabet song.

    Life is so much more fun now that my kids are starting to be embarassed of my musically quirky nature…

  14. Crankymamma says:

    My husband is always geting songs stuck in his head and thinks he has to share it with me every moment by either singing or playing the video from YouTube. Agog drives me nuts! But what is still amusing, I haven’t got tried of yet is when he takes kids songs and remixes them with his own lyrics that may or may not be kid friendly lol. He his also full of randomness just out of the blue star saying lines from a movie or cartoon and does them in different voices. So know that you are not alone with this problem I think it’s a guy thing well of this generation lol my dad doesn’t think it’s so funny when does it sometimes but that’s a different story.

    • Andy says:

      LOVE IT!!! Including the part about your dad not loving it so much. Ha ha ha ha! My Father-in-law is a great guy but sometimes he looks at me a little sideways. 😉

  15. Kevin says:

    What drives us crazy is the way US-made toys pronounce the letter Z, and we express this craziness by trying to drown it out with our obviously far superior pronunciation: doubleyou, ex, why and ZED!!

    It makes him laugh, but we probably look like lunatics. And it doesn’t rhyme. Not like the alphabet rhymes with itself anyway. If you can pronounce Z “Zee” then why not pronounce N “Nee”, then we wouldn’t have that elemenopee monstrosity in the middle! What’s an Elemenopee, a post-menstrual pachyderm going to the bathroom?

    Obviously, I think about this too much.

    • MotherDuck says:

      Hahaha! I forgive you, Brit!

    • Andy says:

      I’m not sure your argument holds up on the alphabet though. Ad Bad Cad Dad Ed Fed? It’s all about what you’re used to, me thinks. When my UK friends say Zed for Z it sounds like a name or they’re doing military alphabet like Alpha Brova Charlie. But I think that’s kinda rad!

      What you do with the sing-along correctional override I do with songs that are on the have swear words. Both my older boys have caught on though, that my sudden loudness or cough always happens in the same place in the song. It’s kind of amazing and cute. 🙂

    • Evonne says:

      I hear ya Kevin!! we always empahsize the Zed on the end of the alphabet song – even though it sounds weird cause it doesn’t rhyme.

  16. tommy riles says:

    Great stuff, Andy. when the batteries on the toys run out (or I remove them), those are some of my happiest moments in parenthood!

  17. K-chan says:

    This is exactly what my Dad used to do when I was a kid and it drove me nuts!!! Bahahaha glad to know there are others afflicted with this curse.

  18. Rach says:

    So I’m not a parent, but I absolutely am that person who bursts into spontaneous song because of something someone has said. Ah, good times…

    • Andy says:

      You’re ahead of the game. Is it fun/amazing/irrisistable!?! Yes. The answer, I already know, is yes. 🙂

      • Rach says:

        It really is. I think there is a small part of me that sometimes believes my entire life is a musical…

        • Andy says:

          I’m kind of half and half on enjoying actual musicals (movies), but I think the same thing. How much so? 90% of my waking life I am wearing earbuds. For real. People complain. 😉

          • Rach says:

            We apparently live parallel lives… I too have earbuds in all day (at work). I know every radio commercial and Pandora advertisement by heart because I hear them so much. So yes, we will be driving down the road with friends and suddenly I am singing along to the seedy divorce lawyer advertisement on the radio… /facepalm

  19. Louise says:

    My husband is a chronic spontaneous singer who (to my utter annoyance) doesn’t think getting the lyrics right to songs is as important as hitting the right notes. I can’t wait until my baby is old enough to correct him when he sings incy wincy spider wrong. To make matters worse, hubby’s favourite show a the moment is the Voice, his favourite judge is Blake, and now he thinks he is a country music star. I’m living with an Amnesiac Billy Ray Cyrus! AAAARRRGGGHHH!!!

  20. Evonne says:

    We don’t buy toys that sing. Period. The only reason my kids own them is cause they were given them from someone else…we made the mistake of buying the eldest (when he was about 3) a toy mobile phone that talked and played tunes. 6 years later and its still going!!!! Oh it dies, every now and then, but somehow miraculously (spelling?) revives. I’d get rid of it but the kids still love playing with it and would notice its mysterious disapearance ;oP

    • Andy says:

      We don’t buy them either, and because of the “gifts from others” factor, we now put birthday and holiday lists together that specifically ask for no sound or music producing toys. Ha ha! (sigh)

  21. Paula says:

    I almost cry from laughing …. loved it! 🙂

  22. Kristin says:

    We have that Baby Einstein musical octopus and I hear the songs in my sleep! I have actually bought more musical toys to get a variety of songs instead of the same 4 😉

    • Andy says:

      That is so amazing I wish I’d thought of it. I may just hijack this concept from you and work it into a future post. Hilarious!

  23. Liesbet says:

    Oh my god Andy! You’re ME! Or I’m YOU, whatever! There is always a song in my head, and I only have to hear a phrase, a word, even a sound, to set a new one off… And indeed, usually the worst songs stay the longest, grmbl…

    But you may be glad to know that I don’t have the bus song in my head now. It’s AAAAAUW FREAK OUT! (le freak, c’est chic)

  24. Stefan says:

    Heh, that’s interesting. We have the same bus at home – still working, though – and if you want to, I could record the german version of what I think would be the “wheels” song.

    Make that stick in your head, and as long as no one starts with “rundherum” you should be okay =)

    And yes.. you are definetly not alone in your syndromes. Although I can relate to the “song-stuck-in-head”-syndrome, it seems I am afflicted with “determined interruptive singing”. Seeing as I actually have fun when I do, but I don’t always need to.

    • Andy says:

      We do it because we love it. It’s hilarious! Wow! German? I don’t know if it would be good for me or those who are around me if a kid’s song in German got stuck in my head! Ha ha!

  25. Adrian says:

    EARWORM = song stuck in your head.

    DJ Earworm = a dj who does great mashups that you want in your head, look him up.

    • Andy says:

      Amaaaaaaazing! Though, I have to admit, I CANNOT stand the term “earworm.” ARRRRGGGG!!! Wrath of Khan nastiness always comes to mind for me! Blech!

  26. Kevin says:

    If you’re looking to get some kids show music stuck in your head, I heartily recommend the theme for Kipper the Dog

  27. Amy M. says:

    Our kids “love” it when someone says “Stop!” and my husband and I both bust out in “Hammertime… duh duh duh duh” or “Collaborate and Listen. Ice is back…” 😉 If you also break out in dance, it ups the annoyance factor…

  28. Jada says:

    Aaawwww Yes. The dreaded compulsions to sing at any random word that reminds you of a song. I had it all my life. My family thought it was cute when I was little, so they egged me on. Went on as a teen, my friends thought it was cute and awesome that I had such a wide range of songs I could pull from to cover any word. To when I was in my twenties, my now husband, thought it was endearing.

    Well he doesn’t anymore. Especially now there are two of us. Yes, that’s right. Now my 16 yo daughter does it too. We can bust out in the same song at the same time when we hear a trigger word. Heck, even my son, her twin brother, does it every once in a while.

    Yes, my husband now hates us. But his expressions are priceless when he knows he hits a trigger word. Maybe its our expression or, IDK, just his spidey senses. He tries to nip it in the bud, because “Ain’t no stoppin’ us now
    We’re on the move”. Yeah, that’s right I’m pulling a disco song on yeah. 😉

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