There have been times when finger rhymes have salvaged just enough of my sanity to keep me hanging on until reinforcements arrive. I owe a lot to the flight attendant who taught me “Around and Round the Garden” en route from Vancouver to Tokyo. Coryn didn’t sleep the entire flight except for two catnaps that cats would’ve turned up their noses at. This rhyme kept her sitting still for a baby eternity:
Round and round the garden like a teddy bear
(draw a circle on her palm with your finger)
One step, two step
(walk your fingers up her arm)
Tickle under there!
(tickle her gently under her arm).
She still sometimes asks for this rhyme and tries to do it on me.
As she grew older she began to like more interactive rhymes and would sometimes choose doing the “Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes” dance or Raffi’s “Brush Your Teeth” song over a bed time story. When potty training confined the two of us to the bathroom for achingly long periods of time I checked out a finger rhyme book from the library and after looking through it a few times, she picked out two favorites which she would ask for over and over again, enthusiastically mimicking the motions and sometimes repeating the rhymes.
These are Grandma’s spectacles
(fingers around the eyes like glasses)
This is Grandma’s hat
(Hands cupped on top of head)
This is how she folds her hands and lays them in her lap.
Clap your hands, clap your hands, clap them just like me!
Touch your knees, touch your knees, touch them just like me!
Tap your shoulders, tap your shoulders, tap them just like me!
Shake your head, shake your head, shake them just like me!
Clap your hands, clap your hands now let them idle be.
(End by folding your hands dramatically in your lap)
The second is a great way to get your wiggles out; the first tends to calm her down a little bit.
Pleased with her verve for what is essentially poetry (albeit in its simplest form) I wrote her an original piece:
There once was a frog, ribbit, ribbit
Who was scared of a dog, arf, arf
(put your hands up like a begging dog)
He lived in a lake, splash, splash
(hit an imaginary puddle in front of you)
But the dog made him quake, shiver, shiver.
(Hold your arms crossed over your chest like you are cold).
Coryn loved making the animal sounds, but the other time tested rhymes always won out over my composition. Today, however, I heard her singing my frog song from across the room. I felt as proud as a published author. Coryn knows my song by heart, and that’s awesome!
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