Kiddo has long been a fan of farm animals. The book Moo, Baa, La La La was one of his first favorites, and he’s been pointing out tractors since before he could walk. For Christmas, Santa brought him the Fisher-Price Little People Farm and Kiddo went straight for it as soon as he laid eyes on it.
Now his love of all things Barnyard has spilled into his musical taste. I don’t know when he first heard the song “Old McDonald Had a Farm” but he’s been requesting it by name–or rather, by chorus–every time the opportunity for a song arises. No matter which other tune I start singing, I can barely get a line in before he interrupts with a stern “NO NO NO.” If I pretend I don’t know which one he’s really after, he will eventually tell me “yah-yah-yo,” which is his version of “E-I-E-I-O.” Heaven help me if I try to get away with just one verse, because unless something really nifty distracts him, he’ll keep requesting it until either my voice or my collection of animals is exhausted.
This, I’m told, is normal for toddlers. In a world that’s still very unpredictable to them, putting a familiar story or song on repeat is comforting for them because they know what’s coming next. They feel confident when they can predict what’s on the next page. (Which mean, I suppose, that I should pick a canonical order for those barn animals and their sounds.)
So I’ve been singing a lot of Old McDonald lately. In the car on the way to and from daycare. At night, to help him fall asleep. On the weekends when we’re playing with his new See ‘n Say. Here, there, everywhere. But just when it was starting to get tedious, I figured out how to leverage it. Yep, I’m not above bribing my son with a rendition of his favorite song. “Sit down in your car seat, Kiddo, and we’ll sing Old McDonald!” It works almost as well as goldfish crackers.