The Bell Curve

Harry Potter fans: Check out my wife’s new Wizard Duel necklace! She’s also got a Kissing Pacman necklace and Game Of Thrones house necklaces for House Targaryen, House Stark and House Lannister.

Having a small child is like having an iPod with a very short playlist. Like 3 items are on this list AT MOST for MONTHS at a time. Also, that little repeat loopy arrow button is checked. It’s checked as hell. There are weeks when you would kill for all 3 items to be in random rotation on the playlist, but instead it’s just the 1 and the iPod has nearly infinite batteries and is able to achieve optimum volume at all times. For several months now, the Frozen soundtrack has been the ONLY item on the playlist that is a metaphor that is my human daughter child.

Luckily, the Frozen soundtrack is something I enjoy (in relative moderation… as I have recently learned). My daughter’s singing is also something that I enjoy. My daughter enjoying things and expressing her enjoyment of those things is ALSO something I enjoy. This confluence of enjoyable things sounds like it would leave me in a state of pure elation at all waking hours of the day. That is… often not the case.

The honesty in the comic above is that just when I think I can’t take any more of her belting “For The First Time In Forever” it loops back around from earsplitting and annoying to incredibly cute and heart warming. Regardless of where I happen to fall on the curve at any given time, I make sure to tell Kiddo that I like her singing. Luckily she seems to have inherited the old man’s sense of pitch, so her singing is LOUD but in tune. Another thing I’ve noticed is that she’s inherited my gift/curse for voice mimicry. I cannot sing a song without doing the original artists inflections, accents, tone, etc. She appears to be the same way, and it honestly makes me super proud. Not that this is some amazing gift, but just that it further illustrates that pieces of me are alive and running around inside of her brain.

COMMENTERS: What do you kids have on repeat ad infinitum? What did you have on repeat as a kid?

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  1. My kids don't even bother to learn the whole song. Normal it's just a few lines. Repeated. A lot. And sometimes not even correctly.

    In the past few weeks we've mostly had 'Raindrops on Roses' from Sound of Music (just 4 lines) and 'Boggit and Bunce and Bean' from Fantastic Mr Fox audio book.

    My daughter sings loudly, but doesn't always get the tune. My son sings more in tune, but is more likely to get the words wrong and to repeat too much.

  2. GET OUT OF MY HEAD?!? My two daughters do this all of the time. The Younger Extroverted One sings it adorably wrong and the Elder Extroverted One sings it correctly for her. LOUDER. Just to make sure she heard it right. What's worse is that the EEO wants to be in musical theater so I get to hear all sorts of "wonderful" songs. And then it gets dusty in the room and makes my tear ducts irramatated.

  3. Phantom of the Opera. I come from a musical family so there was always alot of random singing in my house. But when I was in 2nd grade, I got a hold on my parents cassette soundtrack of Phantom, original Broadway cast with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman. I sang it ALOT. I sure my parents had feels similar to yours.

  4. My 8yr-old son inherited my musical abilities, but also my complete unawareness that I am using them. I get alot of "Sweetie, you're humming/whistling/singing under your breath again" from my wife. And I get alot of endlessly repeated TV commercial jingles from my son. The ad execs who approve Subway commercials deserve a high five… in the face… with a chair. (Five! Five dollar! Five dollar footloooooong!)

    • Kiddo does this too. She doesnt understand that singing during someone else's favorite show (even if you yourself are not interested in that show) is a problem.

  5. Elder sister with serious vocal training + endless practice repeats of German and Italian top 40 hits of the 17 and 1800's = younger sister who can MURDER songs in many nonsensical languages. I can still hear them in my head 30 years later, and I bet my mom can too. Make it stop.

  6. My niece has this "super cool" app that lets her record her own music video. It is cool because it lets you record short portions so you can achieve the same quick cuts that the professionals do. This means that: it plays 2 second portions of the song over and over… first so you can practice, again when you record, again so you can see what you record, lets you delete that, practice again, record it again, watch what you recorded again….
    I have now memorized "Timber" and have developed a twitch.
    What you say is true, it was cute to watch the videos she had previously recorded, torture to watch the magic happen.

  7. For a while my son just wanted to listened to the entire Aladdin soundtrack everyday. Now he has unmercifully moved on to "Save The Princess" by Yo Gabba Gabba. Just that song. Over and over.
    He comes by it honestly I guess. I remember listening to all the show tunes as a kid. And for one summer only listening to "The Beauty of Maunakea" by the Brothers Cazimero.

  8. My little brother, thankfully, didn't have a song with lyrics he wouldn't stop singing. No, he constantly hummed the Indiana Jones theme. Every. Waking. Moment. No matter what he was doing.

    I don't think I ever had a song. Though according to my dad there was a time I could be found randomly humming music from Legend of Dragoon in my sleep.

  9. I have an almost-five year old who's in preschool.

    He is slightly tone deaf.

    His teacher is also slightly tone deaf. Charming woman! I adore her as a teacher! She's G R E A T with the kids! But she's… a little tone deaf. I have mild hearing loss in one ear and when I can tell someone's not singing well? It is a problem. She teaches the kids little songs.

    When one person who is tone deaf teaches another person, a small child, who is tone deaf, a song? It quickly becomes… warped. Mangled. Barely identifiable.

    When that small child who is tone deaf walks around endlessly singing the New Beloved Song it quickly becomes…. horrible.

    But it is preferable to his other quirk, which is humming/droning background music to accompany his every action. He's got exciting humming when his dinosaurs are chasing each other or he's running! He's got mellow humming when he's reading a book, watching tv, cuddling with a stuffed animal. he's got DANGER HUMMING when he's doing something he isn't supposed to do. It's kind of adorable and I always know where he is because I can hear him but also… oh my GOD I'm PRETTY SURE this is something that has been used as torture to drive people insane.

    As for me personally, I've had the music to Disney's "Robin Hood" (the one with the foxes/animals) stuck in my head since the first time I saw the movie, as a kid.

  10. My wife and I are both primarily metal and classic rock folks (Tool, Pearl Jam, Pink Floyd, The Who…) and when our now-three-year-old daughter was born we vowed to raise her on "good" music and not super-saccharine kiddie music.

    Three years later…yeah. Best laid intentions and all that. She currently has Baa Baa Black Sheep at the top of her sing-every-five-minutes playlist. She knows *most* of the words. For some reason she sings "baa baa black sheep packy packy wool…one for my yes sir, one for my dame". It's really cute (clearly I'm completely unbiased) but I get her version of the song stuck in my head at work. On a loop. Packy packy wool. I'm haunted by it.

    • We only play "our music" in the car, and occasionally Kiddo will like a They Might Be Giants, Ben Folds or Decemberists song, but for the most part it's "best laid plans" be damned. They like what they like. it's our job to expose them to quality stuff and support them when they choose something we don't love.

    • I think it was the repeat of "packy packy wool" in your comment that did me in. I laughed so hard I had to lay my head down on my desk.

    • Mt son heard "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" at school (Joan Jett) and taught it to his little sister. Except he didn't actually hear it, I gather, so much as one of his friends sang it to him, and he's not sure of the words, and now she sings "I love rocknroll! So putcher putcher dime-a jukebox, BABY!" over and over. And over.

      One time she was running around the house singing it and then comes running up to me and goes, "Mummy, I love rock 'n' roll!"

      Me: "You do?"

      Her: "Yup!"

      Me: "Do you know what rock and roll is?"

      Her: "No."

      She's getting better at singing Katy Perry songs, though; we can usually tell which one it is, at least!

  11. My youth was spent playing super heroes with my friend, and then slowly curling up into a ball of depression followed by spending long amounts of time on the computer.

    My half-brother, who is about 9-10 years younger then me, did inherit my desire to watch the same movie over and over again. However, while I always did it at night, always just pushing play on the VCR again instead of changing the tape before I went to sleep, he would have something recorded on the DVR, or a particular DVD. And if he was in the living room? He insisted that he watch it. And it would be the only thing anyone was allowed to watch, with him present, as long as he had it.

    After 75 showings of Scary Movie 3 I started deleting the things he recorded on the DVR after he watched them a couple of times.

    • For me it was Wayne's World. It was one of the only store bought movies (on VHS) that I ever owned and I watched it after school every single day for probably 6 months. My friends would get mad when they wanted to watch it and I had to recite every word.

      • I did that with Star Wars one summer during middle school. I watched one of the movies each day, then on day 4, I'd watch all 3 in a row. I might take a day off there, but the it was repeat.

        Recently my friend wanted to watch it while he was at my house. My other friend and I were playing League of Legends while A New Hope was playing. Without even realizing it, I was subconsciously quoting the entire movie, with timing, inflections, etc. I only realized I was doing it when I got yelled at.

        "Boring conversation anyway. LUKE! WE'RE GONNA HAVE COMPANY!"

  12. Joel, this exact thing is going on in my house as well. Sometimes there is a mash-up of Let It Go and the theme from the 1966 Batman TV show. Every single night when she's in bed though we can hear her belt out Let It Go over and over again until she finally falls asleep. It's still cute to us. I think because we've expanded her internal ipod a bit. She will also sing Kraftwerk's The Robots and Judas Priest's Breaking the Law.

    • m/ Nothing cuter or funnier than a little kid singing Judas Priest at the top of their lungs. Bonus if she gets the Halford Scream right!

  13. my nieces like to sing the alphabet continuously all day everyday while i love the fact they know the alphabet perfectly they have always have the max volume on and sing out of tune from each other which gets infuriating but alas i cant get mad at them for singing the alphabet so lately ive been trying to teach them new songs

  14. My adult husband is a home recording artist. Every instrument. And when he's currently recording something, the song plays back on loop after every new tweak he makes.
    And when he's not currently recording something, there are 4 songs on loop all the time, so he can figure out what needs to be done.

    Then one day he plays the song for me, and I'm supposed to recognize that the drums sound different than they did yesterday. "I added more reverb." Oh sure, yeah, I can totally tell.

    It sucks that he leaves it playing when he leaves the house. So it literally just goes on forever.

    • My boyfriend of 7 years is also a musician. I feel your pain. He's brilliant, but damned if I want to be around for the recording/mixing process. Just play me the finished piece and I'll love it.

  15. My 5yo doesn't sing other peoples' songs, he makes up his own. He has songs for birthdays, songs for playing with rescue bots, songs for dancing to, songs for bedtime, and songs for pooping on the toilet. They never have the same lyrics or melody twice. Sometimes it's all we adults can do to keep from laughing out loud at some of his weirder lyrics.

    • "Songs for pooping on the toilet" is the title of my {insert band name here} tribute album.

      (I suck at this game, but that still sounds like a great album title)

    • Mine does that too, usually at the top of her lungs. Her big brother is driven to distraction by it; I use "That's a really cool song, love; can you please sing it a little quieter now?" and that usually gets the volume lowered enough for her brother to tolerate, at least. For me, it varies between cute and background noise I can tune out, thankfully, because some days there's a constant stream of loudly-sung narration going on.

    • I make up silly songs to sing to our cats, mostly to the tune of other songs or commercial jingles. Sometimes it's just the cat's name over and over, with various nicknames to fit the rhythm of the song; sometimes they're about regular events like going outside or being fed.

      F'rinstance, I'll sing "Go outside, go outside, I think [someone] wants to go outside" to the tune of an old Campbell's soup jingle ("Mm-mm good, mm-mm good, that's what Campbell's soups are, mm-mm good"), replacing "someone" with either "Morrie" or "Mackie" depending on whether it's Mac or Morrie who wants to go out.

      The cats seem to appreciate the songs as a sort of soothing ritual; they know when they hear one song it's time to head to the kitchen for feeding time, or when they hear any of the "go outside" songs (there are several) they know they have permission to follow me down the stairs and go out the back door. It's good silly fun.

  16. So a fun side effect of my ADD is that repetition is something I love. I can conceive of a time when I would want a child to stop doing something, but I've been a nanny, worked in a daycare, have babysat often – and this hasn't bothered me yet. Same stories, same songs, even same monotonous crying leaves me unfazed (to be clear, I don't ignore it, it just doesn't bother me).

  17. I made the mistake of taking my fiancee' to see "Wicked" on Broadway when we visited New York. And also buying her the soundtrack. Ever since then she has been obsessed with that musical and listens to the soundtrack at least once a day.

    She has played it so much, in fact, that I have gone from enjoying the show to actively disliking it. She's going to see a local performance in a couple of weeks but I refused to go because I'm sick of it now.

    Myself, I like more variety. Thousands of albums in my collection and I try to vary my listening habits as much as possible.

    • I think I obsess over musicals more than any other album. The Buffy Musical, Nightmare Before Xmas, and Hedwig are all albums that I've had on constant repeat for months at a time.

  18. I laughed so hard I started to cry.

    My 2.75 year old son loves that song. Sometimes I put the video for it on my iPhone during a diaper change to keep him quiet.

    He also knows all of the words to "What does the fox say."

    OTOH, he was trying to air guitar to Enter Sandman in the car this morning, so maybe not all hope is lost.

      • When Kiddo was much younger, 1 or 2, and we would try to "participate" in the things she was watching, doing, singing, whatever by singing along or acting stuff out she would look at me or my wife with cross eyes and say, "Daddy doesn't like it." As in, "Don't do this Daddy, because you don't like it. You probably don't even want to be doing this, so stop it."

  19. 'One-eyed one-eared flying purple people eater' was the song for which I got threatened with gagging if I didn't stop singing, as a child.

    As an adult, I once had the main song from 'A Funny thing happened on the way to the Forum'. ' … Something for lovers, liars and clowns ….' by Zero Mostel, in my head, constantly, for weeks. I love that movie, but it was driving me insane …….!

    • "Something familiar, something peculiar,
      Something for everyone in sight.
      Tragedy tomorrow, comedyyyyyyy to-night!"

      Never saw the movie, but my voice teacher had me learn that song for practice. 😎

  20. I used to sing the song "A Veritable Smorgasbord" from Charlotte's Web (the animated feature from the '70s). A lot.

    …orgasbord, orgasbord!

  21. I would get stuck on various songs when I was a kid. I remember once when my family was taking a road trip, and I started singing "This Old Man." My stepbrother joined me, and for some reason, we got stuck on it and kept singing it over and over. In the car. On a road trip. Once we figured it was irritating to our parents, we thought that was funny, and became more committed than ever to continuing to sing it ad nauseum. It's a wonder we weren't both strangled. 😀

    I guess my parents were lucky that at least I could carry a tune, and always knew all the lyrics. Less lucky for them was that I was equipped with an excellent set of lungs, so I only had one volume – extremely loud.

    • My best friend and I sang "A Hundred Bottles of Beer on the Wall" for at least thirty or forty verses on one road trip. His father, who was driving, started cracking us up by hollering things like "I'm getting drunk!" and "I'm totally smashed now!" as we were singing, and I think we finally stopped because we were laughing too hard to sing.

  22. I would constantly sing 'Tomorrow' from Annie (yeah, the red-headed one) at the top of my lungs every day on the way home from the bus stop. At the top of my voice. We lived in a wooded area so the echo was really cool, but I was asked very politely by the neighbors to stop on a semi-regular basis.

    • Oh, god. When I was a kid I went to summer camp with a girl who sang that song CONSTANTLY at top volume. I'm still kinda surprised nobody killed her in her sleep.

  23. My 7-year-old daughter's been stuck on 'Cara Mia Addio' (aka the turret opera from Portal 2) for at least 10 months now. Sometimes other things will take its place for a day or two – usually new songs from My Little Pony or songs she learns at school – but she always goes back to that one. Lately she's even been trying to teach it to her cousins and friends, but that hasn't been going so well since none of them speak Italian (neither does she, but she's learned the song phonetically by listening to it roughly 20 billion times.) To be honest I love that song too, but after nearly a year IT NEEDS TO STOP.

  24. My kids are now teenagers and pre-teen. They do the same thing only they try to find all the different "cover" versions they can on YouTube and play those to death as well. God help us all.

  25. My daughter prefers Do you want to Build a Snowman. Which she sings frequently. Then follows with the school spirit song from the my little ponies as people movie. And she dances. Which her little brother tries to repeat but being less than two falls down. A lot.

  26. When my nephew was very little, he used to love to sing along with the Shrek version of "Living La Vida Loca". However, he did not know ANY of the words. I do miss hearing him in the back of my car, singing his heart out, and never getting a single word right. 🙂

  27. Working with children leaves me fairly well immune to being annoyed by repeat singing, except for the summer every girl in the school age summer program became obsessed with "Fireflies". Lost my mind that summer.

  28. My sister brought home a 45 single (yes, I'm old) of Bonnie Tyler's "Shadows of the Night" and put it on her record player at top volume. With the record changer arm sticking up so it would keep playing the record over and over again. Those of you of a certain age know what I'm talking about; the rest of you can google it.

    Surprisingly, it took me until about the 14th playing of the song before I hollered at her to play something else or turn the volume down for God's sake. You'd think the girl had never heard of headphones. I can still sing that freaking song all the way through by heart. (Fortunately, I actually *liked* the song once I got over the "I never want to hear that song again" stage a few months later.)

    But her true love was Barry Manilow. She owned every album he ever made back in the '70s and '80s and played them all so many times I'm amazed she didn't wear through the grooves. I can still sing most of HIS songs by heart, too, although it took me a few decades before I could stand to hear any of them again…

  29. When I was a kid my parents had a lot of LP's that they wouldn't let me touch after I scratched a few. So I had to be content with the one audio cassette which were mini-pop covers of 80's music, and whatever I could record with it by placing it near the TV. My favorite LP's were classical music ones though.

    As for finding something that the parent-in-the-car would get fed up with, my cousins had a children's song where one of the lyrics was "me and my _(noun)_ went _(verb)_" and we'd just keep swapping the first variable word with various animals. When that didn't annoy the parent, there was always singing "Let there always be sunshine" in three different languages. On repeat.

  30. I feel your pain. I didn’t realize this was a common issue. My 7 year-old has has “Let It Go” on constant loop for about 3 weeks now. If she isn’t singing it, she’s listening to it at maximum allowable volume (we tend to have negotiations about acceptable volume that resemble buying a carpet in Morocco).

  31. everything is awesome. It's a parody of all other pop songs, but it's the best one of them all, even if it does get annoying.

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