Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Kids' Songs Are Drain on Parents' Brains

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Kids' Songs Are Drain on Parents' Brains

Article excerpt

SOMETIMES when Rodger J. Mansfield sits in the morning staff meeting, he hears Barney singing "I Love You, You Love Me."

In the afternoon, working at his desk, he finds himself humming "Prince Ali! Mighty is he! Ali Ababwa" from the Disney cartoon "Aladdin."

He wakes up in the middle of the night with more Disney drumming in his ears. "Hakuna Matatta" from "The Lion King" is cavorting in his cranium.

There's nothing wrong with Rodger. He's perfectly normal - for the parent of a 3 1/2-year-old.

Rodger estimates he and his wife, Kathleen, have heard Barney, Belle, Jasmine, Aladdin, and Pocahontas some 18,200 times.

"That's counting videos and sing-along songs. I hear them 100 times a week, 52 weeks a year. I like them all, but 18,200 times is too much."

That number is probably a low estimate. "It doesn't count the tapes we play in the car."

When adults see a movie once or twice, that's usually enough. When they see it 1,000 times, they get their names in the paper as super fans.

But kids don't know the meaning of, "You've already seen that." They've barely started to study their shows when they've watched them 500 times. Young Jon Morgan Mansfield watches his videos again and again. His 10-month-old brother, Alexander James, is right beside him.

"Even just a few minutes of these songs can be a grind," said Rodger. "We've seen `101 Dalmatians' so many times over the past two years we know the dialogue and have found the bloopers with continuity errors in the animation. Ughhhh!"

But it's Barney and "Beauty and the Beast" that almost cracked the poor man. You can only listen to that old teapot-head, Angela Lansbury, spouting "Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme, Beauty and the Beast" so often.

In the old days, parents had it easy. All Mom and Dad had to do was read to their children. Sure, the kids wanted them to read the same book over and over. They still do.

"We've read `Stop That Ball' so many times that I want to throw it in to the river," Rodger said.

But once Rodger shuts the book, he doesn't hear it in his head. …

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