Friday, March 23, 2007

This just in: farm overrun by kitty cats

My dad's in town, and we both love to shop at outlet malls, so yesterday he and I took the girls up to the outlets at Grove City. It's an hour's drive up there (and right at naptime to boot!) so Beth and Sarah both snoozed on the way up. But once we got there Sarah decided she needed to eat right now! Dad went to get us some lunch, Beth woke up and wanted to know (in a rather panicked little voice) where Grandpa Wes was going, so while I fed Sarah in the front seat Beth and I sang "Old MacDonald Had a Farm."

We've been singing in the car since Bethie was in utero. The songs have changed a bit over time. I don't bother to sing along with the radio any more, and Beth's Top 40 include "If You're Happy and You Know It," "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes," and "Give, Said the Little Stream." Lately, the more interactive the song is, the better it goes over. She likes to think about what the lyrics should be.

I started with a cow (moo, moo here, moo, moo there, yadda yadda) and then asked her what else was on the farm.


"Okay. What does the kitty cat say?"



Old MacDonald had a farm
And on that farm he had a kitty cat
With a 'meow, meow' here, and a 'meow, meow' there
Here a 'meow'
There a 'meow'
Everywhere a 'meow, meow'
Old MacDonald had a farm
And on that farm he had a..."

"Amon ki'cat!"

"Okay, he had another kitty cat..." and I sang the song again. "And on that farm he had a..."

"Um...mama ki'ee cat!"

"Okay, he had a mama kitty cat..." and I sang the song again. More meows.

"Amon mama ki'cat!"

"Another mama kitty cat? Are you sure?"

"Yes!" I sang it again. And again. She eventually threw in a daddy kitty cat, then went back to mama kitty cats. This lasted until Dad came back with a Subway meatball sandwich for the two adults in the car (Beth had eaten at home) and — glorious! — an Orange Julius for me to split with Beth. She was in heaven. So much for fixing the juice addiction.

We did our tour of the outlet mall. I got some good spring clothes, Beth got way-too-cute summer playclothes (how come khaki cargo shorts with flowers embroidered on the pockets don't come in my size?), and Sarah got attention from absolutely everyone who saw us. ("Oh, Martha, look at the little tiny baby! Aww, isn't she sweet!") Sarah took it in stride. I swear she even posed and batted her eyelashes.

By the time we were headed back to Pittsburgh, Sarah had been fed again and Beth was exhausted. And frantic: she'd emit little yelps of "Out! Out!" and "Up! Up!" in the vain hope that we'd stop the car and let her toddle around. So I started singing "The Wheels on the Bus." I went through the wheels that go round and round, the wipers that go swish swish swish, the people who go up and down, and the babies who go "goo goo goo." Then I asked Beth, "What else is on the bus?"



The money on the bus goes clink, clink, clink,
Clink, clink, clink,
Clink, clink, clink.
The money on the bus goes clink, clink, clink,
All through the town.

"What else is on the bus, Bethie?"

"'ee cat!"

Here we go again. This went on for miles. I started varying what the mama kitty cats said: less "meow, meow, meow" and more "Wash your paws." Then we switched back to "Old MacDonald" and it it kept going. Kitty cats. Mama kitty cats. More mama kitty cats. (My dad's comment was, "Some tomcat's sure been busy on that farm.") Beth was delighted. So was her grandpa.

No comments: