Cute Baby Photo Contest - Enter NOW!

Welcome to our Featured Article...

By:  Jeff Stimpson





Author Bios


Contact Us

Current Issue

Freelance Agreement

Freelance Writers

Further Reading

Get Interactive

Helpful Materials

Letter From the Editor



LINK to us!



Get Your FREE Child Care Ebook!







Bell Boy 

"-jingle all the way. Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh..."

If you convert all the syllables in that refrain to "de" (as in "de-de-de, de-de-de, de-de-dedede...") you can do a Vegas-worthy impersonation of Alex.

"De-de-de, de-de-de, de de de de de..."

I have no idea how or when Alex ever heard "Jingle Bells." We used to play Chet Baker and classic lullabies in his NICU isolette until we could sing the words from memory as long as we were staring at our baby son in a plastic box. For his first Christmas, he was drugged and paralyzed in an ICU. During his second Christmas we did have a tree and the accompanying music, but the only carol I cranked was the Royal Guardsmen's "Christmas Bells" about Snoopy and the Red Baron.

"'...or was it the bells from the village below...'"

"De-de-de, de-de-de, de de de de de..."

Alex's connection with "Jingle Bells" surfaced in November, when we were all at his grandparents' and he was sitting in his stroller next to Aunt Julie. He was fiddling with some toy and he started going "de-de-de..." in a rhythm that was soon vaguely familiar.

"That's 'Jingle Bells!'" said Aunt Julie. "He's singing 'Jingle Bells.'" She turned to him. "'Jingle all the way...'"


I'm glad Alex likes "Jingle Bells." Of all the carols, it was the most magical in my childhood, and like a good sport it lent itself to variations: "Jingle Bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg. The Batmobile lost a wheel, and something something day..."

Confirmation of Alex's predilection came during "A Charlie Brown Christmas," when Schroeder plinked out the song sarcastically for Lucy. Alex, watching from the stroller, started "de-de-de"ing not only with the music, but ahead of it.

"That's eerie," Jill remarked.

Indeed. As I often do, I experimented in his bath, singing: "Dashing through the snow, in a one-horse open sleigh, o'er the fields we go, laughing all the way. Hahaha-" I rapped half the tune out on the side of the tub, and he picked right up with the rest of it. Rapraprap, "de-de-de." Rapraprap. "de-de-de - de - de." Where'd Alex learn so much about changes in tempo?

For adults (and everyone else except Alex), the carol is gone for another year, like its compatriots "God Not the Bells!" and "Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire" (that song was written in 20 minutes during a July heat wave, imagine that). But to revisit carols just once more this year, "Jingle Bells" has some arresting lyrics. Especially if you relish studying them with a two-year-old.

"Oh what fun to laugh and sing and something something night!"

"De de de, de de, de, de-de-dedede..."

Alex is rapidly developing his own language. "Ma" for more when he wants you to keep reading a story. "Pfft pfft" for "beep beep," "poppa" for "grandpa." When asked, he recites "mama" and "dada" without fail, but ask him to say "Alex" and he replies only "ga." He's starting to say "ga" for his name with more strength and conviction, and I'm starting to wonder what the sound means in his secret language.

Furthermore, what is a "bell of bobtail" and what makes it ring? Alex has no clear answer. He just gazes at the toy in his hands, a new wind-up plastic frog that paddles itself through the bathwater, flips it over and over and just keeps saying "De de de, de de, de, de-de-dedede..."

I may never know exactly what in his world makes a spirit rise.


Copyright 2000/2001/2002. All rights reserved.  

Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!


Our Magazine Friends

Child Care

Sites for Teachers

Ebook Publishing

List Your Site Here, Click Here to find out more!

Copyright 2000/2001/2002. All rights reserved.   No unauthorized reproduction or excerpts without express permission from Child Care Magazine or DataWorkZ and the author of the article. Please read our Disclaimer and our Privacy Statement.