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July 31, 2002
The Lawnmower Song

Does anyone know what the Lawnmower Song is? I'm asking because Caleb requests it every night.

Every. Night.

Here's out ritual: First, I get his PJ's on while he dances all over my feet and pooches out his belly, making the whole enterprise a challenge, which seems to be his goal. Next, we read a story, which is usually the same story we've read for several weeks in a row. Once he gets on a story, that is the only story worth reading. Right now he's stuck on "Busytown," though I think I'm transitioning him back to "Curious George Goes Fishing." Oh, for the blissful days of "Goodnight Moon." "Busytown" is just so, well, busy, and Caleb is like Howard Cosell, with a comment on everything, and some sort of weird programming that requires him to repeat a sentence until I confirm its veracity.

After the story, we say our prayers. Then I turn off the light while he climbs into bed, and then the following exchange takes place:

Me: "What song would you like for me to sing?"

Caleb: "Umm, the mawnbower song."

Me: "I don't know that song. What other song would you like?"

Caleb: "It's from the mawnbower book."

Me: "Okay, now what song would you like?"

This is followed by a selection governed by the aforementioned rule applicable to stories, namely, that it will be something I've sung for the last 47 nights. We were on "Away in a Manger" earlier this summer, and now we're on "You Are My Sunshine," which I improvise with a verse about Caleb. (Because someone will ask: "You are my Caleb, my Stephen Caleb, and I will love you -- all the rest of my days; I will hug you, and I will kiss you -- please don't take my Stephen Caleb away.")

So, what the heck is the Lawnmower Song? Is it a real song, or is he just messing with me? He'll do that, you know. He kind of smiles when he asks for it, like he knows it doesn't exist. Maybe I should make one up, something like:

Lawnmower, lawnmower Cuttin' my grass all day Cuttin' in the mornin' Cuttin' in the noontime Cuttin' my cares away

or, I could do a riff off "The Wheels on the Bus":

Oh, the blade on the mower goes round and round Round and round Round and round The blade on the mower goes round and round All around the yard
The carb on the mower goes putt putt putt Putt putt putt Putt putt putt The carb on the mower goes putt putt putt All around the yard

And so on. That would throw him off his little two year-old game, to have me actually sing something the next time he asks for the Lawnmower Song. At the same time, if his cultural knowledge is greater than mine (a distinct possibility), and there really is a Lawnmower Song, I don't want to screw him up with a fake one. You parents understand my dilemma. Any ideas?

Posted by Woodlief on July 31, 2002 at 05:13 PM


A quick search on Yahoo yielded this song by Billy Bob and Clayton Grogan:


There are actual lyrics and everything. It's a doozy.

Have fun!

Posted by: Lori at July 31, 2002 6:44 PM

How very cool. I must have this CD. The question is, how did that little guy shimmy down the drainspout and make his way down to the honky-tonk to hear this song in the first place?

Posted by: Tony at July 31, 2002 10:39 PM

"A quick search on Yahoo yielded this song by Billy Bob and Clayton Grogan:"

Just improvise a replacement for "Light myself a smoke and set that bitch on fire". I wonder how many weeks they'd suspend your son for chanting that on the playground ("You see, Mr. X, we need to maintain discipline. We can't take any chances that your son might grow up into a Trenchcoat Mafioso." "How did you discipline the troglodyte who rubbed gravel into his hair last week?" "Well, he's from a broken home, so we pretty much let him do whatever he wants." "So idiot boy acts how he wants and that's okay, whereas my well-mannered child, who respects and fears you, is being suspended because he complains less?")

Uh, okay, it appears that I have successfully gone waaaaay off-topic. (BTW, actual conversation, more or less. Probably not the last one, either.)

Posted by: disconnect at August 1, 2002 12:54 PM

Genesis: I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)

It's one o'clock and time for lunch
When the sun beats down and I lie on the bench
I can always hear them talk

There's always been Ethel
"Jacob, wake up! You've got to tidy your room now"
And then Mister Lewis
"Isn't it time that he was out on his own?"
Over the garden wall, two little lovebirds - cuckoo to you
Keep them mowing blades sharp

I know what I like, and I like what I know
Getting better in your wardrobe, stepping one beyond your show
Sunday night, Mr Farmer called, said
"Listen son, you're wasting your time
There's a future for you in the fire escape trade
Come up to town"
But I remembered a voice from the past
"Gambling only pays when you're winning"
I had to thank old Miss Mort for schooling a failure
Keep them mowing blades sharp

I know what I like, and I like what I know
Getting better in your wardrobe, stepping one beyond your show

When the sun beats down and I lie on the bench
I can always hear them talk
Me, I'm just a lawnmower - you can tell me by the way I walk

(T. Banks/P. Collins/P. Gabriel/S. Hackett/M. Rutherford

Posted by: David Perron at August 1, 2002 3:17 PM

Make it up - that's what I'be been doing for the last 3 years with my son. I'll ask him what he wants me to sing about, then I'll wrack my brains trying to come up with something that is rhyming and relevant.

Hey, YOU try coming up with a song about semi-tractor trailer car carriers. You have three seconds. Starting now...

It's amazing the things you can do with practice...


Posted by: JLawson at August 2, 2002 8:05 AM

OK, I guess this only shows how sick and twisted I am, but the phrase "the lawnmower song" brought to mind the song "I'm Looking Over My Dead Dog Rover" from the Dr. Demento Show, sung to the tune of "I'm Looking Over a Four-Leafed Clover", about a guy who accidently runs over his dog with his lawnmower.....

Like I said, I'm sick and twisted.... :)


Posted by: Hale Adams at August 2, 2002 9:40 AM

You are brilliant!!!!! Both of you.

Posted by: Llana at August 3, 2002 1:22 AM

Your son may be refereing to a kidz song often used at camp. It is sang to upbeat music and goes through the steps used to mow the grass. If you have ever heard clips from "Jock Jams", the second track (Get Ready 4 This by Unlimited) is a great tune to use. First, you say, "Start the lawnmower!". This is followed by a pantomine of starting a push mower. (For those who have never endeavored to use this machine, this involves reaching downward with one hand across the opposite side of the body and then quickly pulling it diagonally upward from the direction you started.) Next you can mow the grass. This is done by taking two or three steps forward as if pushing a lawnmower, then pulling the lawnmower back two or three steps. You can use the weed-eater, clip the hedges, do the sprinkler, or any other yardcare related action. Each action is done to the beat of the music. It's high action and works especially well with groups of children. Most kids (and even adults) REALLY have a lot of fun with this one!
Hope this helps!! Happy mowing!

Posted by: MIke at August 3, 2003 3:01 PM

Just read the response from Mike regarding the Lawnmower Song which is used at camps for kids. Does anyone know who does this song and where I can obtain a copy?


Posted by: John at February 19, 2004 10:53 AM