The Moose.

Her mangled pigtails are coming undone; the colorful ribbons that were once tightly bound by mother's expert hair tying technique are finally yielding to enough torment from grimy little fingers and have decided to give up the ghost and slip almost entirely out. She sleepily hobbles her way over to me with an off-balanced hop-walk, little stick legs long and thin like an excited fawn that doesn't know how to bend it's knees. She gets real close and in my peripheral field of vision her wild hairdo appears to have a life of its own like an undersea plant waving its tentacles in the current, or a Gorgon from days gone by.

"Ite Ite A No Nos!?!" she exclaims plopping a sticky little paw, adorned with melted fudge-pop, on my forearm, drawing my gaze away from the complicated securities homework on the screen and into a face eerily similar to my own. Just smaller. My same bushy eyebrows raised crinkling my same forehead and my same hazel eyes wide and staring up at me as she nods to illustrate that I should in fact comprehend exactly what she means and produce the desired results. Forthwith.

I didn't understand her when she first said this to me, and neither would you. Even if it was your kid, I still don't think you would have caught it the first time around. It's a pain in the butt to decipher what a not-quite-two-year-old is saying even if she doesn't have a binky permanently plugged into her mouth. Luckily, she repeated herself and after a short staring contest with her, I figured out what she wanted.

She was telling me she wanted a nap and in no uncertain terms that I would be the one delivering her not only to her darkened nursery with the ceiling fan going at half speed but also serving up a huge helping of Apples and Bananas.

The Apples and Bananas Song.

I had thought that when I had first heard her singing it to my little boy, my wife must have been the smartest woman on the planet. She had to be the champion of child-rearing, a strategic and tactical powerhouse- the Leonidas of lullabies. She would have had to be on par with Mozart and Kalashnikov to have engineered such a simple masterpiece like the Apples and Bananas Song and I was pretty heart-broken when she informed me that she had not, in fact, come up with it on her own and it was actually a pretty old song followed by what kind of abusive and deprived childhood did you have that your parents never sang you this song, anyway?

Shoving my pain and sorrow deep down inside I somehow managed to soldier onward. I armed myself with that tune like a trusty old shield and charged back to the front lines of parenthood and bedtime without so much as a look back. Deep in the trenches of tired toddlers I sang those words with my whole heart and soul. You could have started a baseball game after the amount of passion I put into those cute little lyrics. I belted out verse after verse lowering the intensity and volume gradually to no more than a whisper until every last sleepy head was gently napping. Not one to be fooled by the amateur tricks of my childish opponents, I slung a few more hushed rounds at any signs of an early awakening.

The song is amazingly uncomplicated, as I will illustrate, but can still be very entertaining to both child and parent. It goes like this:

I like to eat, eat, eat, Apples and Bananas

I like to eat, eat, eat, Apples and Bananas

I like to eat, eat, eat, Apples and Bananas

I like to eat, eat, eat, Apples and Bananas

Uh, dude? That song kind of sucks and would get boring fast.
Well, you have to stick with me to the next verse because that's where the fun starts.

I like to ate, ate, ate, aypples and Banaynays
I like to ate, ate, ate, aypples and Banaynays

Replacing the pronunciation of the letter 'A' in 'Apples and Bananas' with every other vowel and their various pronunciations creates words that will make your children giggle.

I like to eet, eet, eet, Eepples and Baneenees
I like to eet, eet, eet, Eepples and Baneenees

This time-passing treasure continues as the singer makes their way through the vowels until forced to start over. You've got Ooples and Banoonoos, Upples and Banuhnuhs, and the Moosie's favorite of all time: Opals and Banonos.


(the incredible amount of disbelief with which this line is delivered can make or break the song)

Doing some extensive and exhausting research for about eleven minutes on Google, I found that it had indeed been around for such a long time that it was now considered Traditional and at that point I pretty much gave up trying to find the original artist. But, I did find several different versions of the song on various music and video sites.

One version that I particularly liked used the new vowel to replace every vowel in the sentence. Example:

Oo look too, oot, oot, oot, Ooples oond Boonoonoos


Ee leek tee eet, eet, eet Eepples eend Bee Nee Nees

Now, I willingly admit that I did start to grow the teensiest bit tired of the song after the forty seven thousandth time, so I started trying new and exciting things to attempt to spice up the relationship that had started to fade between us- the song and myself. I dabbled in mixing and matching vowels (not spicy enough), substituting different fruits (counter-productive), different verbs besides 'eat' (confusing and distracting).

Then I tried throwing a consonant into the place previously reserved for those letters of a more exclusive and tightly knit group, and I realized that I had effectively broken down the walls between the letters they willingly gave away, and the ones that you had to pay for on Wheel of Fortune.

Things would never be the same.

Oark lork tork orkt, orkt, orkt, Orkpples ork Bornorknorks


Erm lerm term ermt, ermt, ermt, Ermpples erm Bernermnerms

Outfitted with this variation on a tried and true theme I found that I could both keep myself entertained with an almost endless supply of new words and also create a soothing serenade conducive to the development of Delta brain waves.


The homework can wait.

I'll only get to do this a few precious times in my life.

The rocking chair has a little creak at the apex of the backwards rock and a sort of a soft click at the end of the forward rock.

These noises become my percussion as I cradle the little girl we call Moose, Goose, Girl, Curl, Curlin, Berlin, and Furl.

The Medusa hair has been touched up, a new life given to the tired old ribbons.

The long little fingers, disturbingly similar to my very own, are freshly washed and curled around a raggedy stuffed kitten.

The eyes that are my same eyes are closed and dreaming about Bah No Nos!?!

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