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Where The Heck Is That Jacques, Anyway?

If you’re a parent you’ve
probably noticed that all kids’ songs have one of two tunes
– the ABC tune (also Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Ba Ba Black
Sheep, and so on) and the Thumbkin tune (also known as Frere
Jacques). This can cause no small amount of confusion to a

Maddie’s had a pretty easy time with the first tune –
she can belt her way through the ABCs ten times, then segue into
Twinkle Twinkle with no problem. But she’s having a harder
time understanding that the second tune goes with more than one
song, and it’s making for a very interesting chanson.

She’s learned “Where Is
Thumbkin” and loves doing it with the hand gestures, since
she’s recently figured out how to operate individual fingers
rather than the whole hand. (“Look, Mommy, I’m this
many fingers old!” or my favorite – “Maddie, one
more minute until bedtime.” “No, Mommy,” she
says, thrusting two fingers under my nose, “Two more
minutes!” She drives a hard bargain.) But somewhere she heard
the “Are You Sleeping” song and asked me for the words.
So I taught them to her.

In French.

She gets it for the most part – she’s a good mimic
– but since the words don’t make sense to her she mixes
them up with Thumbkin. And since there’s no real end to
Thumbkin, her particular mix can go on and on. And on. And on. To
the point that when it starts, Brian tries desperately to distract
her with something else, or runs away.

Anyway, here’s Maddie’s version:

“Where is Jacques? Where is Jacques? Here I am! Here I am!
How are you today, sir? Very well, I do thank you. Run away. Ding
dang dong.”

It’s the “Very well, I DO thank you” that gets me
very time. I have no idea where she heard it, but the
“do” lends a certain poignant dignity to her
conversation with Jacques.

Where is Jacques? Just checking. Ding dang dong.


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