When children misinterpret song lyrics, words or expressions, their mistakes are often more descriptive — and certainly more amusing — than what was originally written. Kids hear the darnedest things! And by hearing through the ears of our children we can share their fresh, innocent (and sometimes even more sensible) point-of-view of the world.
I was driving my two younger children to the morning school bus last week. My daughter was in sleepy, adolescent-growth-spurt mode, and my eight year old son was exhilarated from playing outside with the dog. “Dulce and I played a game where we run and shoot!” He chirped. At that moment, the Green Day song “21 Guns” played on the radio. “Here is a song for you and Dulce,” I said. “What?” He replied. I repeated, “This song is for you: ‘21 Guns’.” My boy was astonished, “Guns? I thought it was “21 Goods!” “Oh, that’s much better,” I thought aloud. “21 goods.”
My son’s upbeat misinterpretation of the Green Day song reminded me of other endearing ‘mistakes’ I have heard from my children over the years, and also some that I’ve heard about from other parents. My nephew Jack had a particular talent for ‘rephrasing’, and it doesn’t surprise me at all that he is now a teenage actor and comedian. Some of Jack’s more original and memorable inventions: Mean, evil knights (medieval knights); The Entire State Building (The Empire State Building); and my favorite, Naked Americans (Native Americans).
A couple of rephrasing examples from my childhood: “… And deliver us from eagles (The Lord’s Prayer); “Ooof over!” (“Move over”).
And some song lyric adjustments made by kids I know: “Do you believe in love like a bird, like a bird …” (“Do you believe in life after love” – Cher); “I’m not crazy, I’m not little!” (“I’m not crazy, I’m just a little impaired” – Matchbox 20); “Row, row, row your boat gently down the street……….merrily, like a spider’s dream.”
That last one was my nephew Jack again, and his mom (my sister) commented, “I didn’t notice that he was singing it that way until he asked why the song was about a spider’s dream. My older son burst out laughing, and for years we talked about spiders’ dreams.”
I hope you will all please contribute to this list by sharing your child’s (or your own) remembered rephrases in the comment section below. Please attribute them to the child who authored them for posterity’s sake. I know that there are so many more that I have heard from family or friends, but I’ve forgotten because I didn’t write them down!
Children share their innocent perceptions of the world with us when they reinterpret language. Often, though, these precious ‘mistakes’ are quickly corrected by others and too soon erased. Aside from providing a few laughs, I hope this list will help us to enjoy our children’s imaginative spin on life and to appreciate the simple purity of their authentic impressions.