Thursday, December 22, 2011

Songs of the Season, Part 2

JoyDad and I had a remarkable time at Monday's Solidarity Singalong! Hundreds of protesters filled the Capitol rotunda on the ground floor and balconies, singing recall-themed versions of Christmas tunes, in cheerful defiance of our governor's latest attempt to quash dissent. A resounding win for free-speech!

Photo credit madtowntj of Daily Kos

The re-purposed tunes of the Solidarity Singalong are at least somewhat analogous to a little ditty to the tune "The Farmer in the Dell" that we've
been experiencing a lot lately:

The A says "aaa", the A says "aaa"
Every letter makes a sound,
The A says "aaa!"

The song is from a series of products by a company called Leapfrog. (Link goes to a YouTube video -- I'd've embedded it, but it looks like they've disabled that option for this one.)

The "A says 'aaa'" phonics-washing of Joy began around the time of her birthday at the start of the summer, when she got a Leapfrog Fridge-Phonics toy from Auntie S as a present. The toy has a magnetic back, so you can stick it on the fridge -- or in our case, the fireplace.

You choose a letter to put in the slot, and then the toy sings the song for that letter. Or, push the little orange notes above the letter and it sings the familiar ABC song.

Some months after we got the toy, we discovered that the Leapfrog Talking Letter Factory DVD, which we'd gotten for Rose when she was just beginning her love affair with letters and words, had become acceptable to Joy as well. The cartoon story on the DVD involves a tour of a factory that makes letters, and sings through their "every letter makes a sound" songs one by one, with funny little additional mnemonics (for example, the E cups its hand to one ear and says "eh?" as if it couldn't hear you!) Joy particularly loves the opening menu-sequence, something she apparently shares with quite a few kids on the spectrum.

Then still more recently, just at Thanksgiving, we pulled out yet another saved Leapfrog artifact from Rose's toddlerhood -- her "My First LeapPad." Kids interact with this clever toy by touching a series of printed pictures with an attached electronic pen. You can buy a variety of spiral-bound books, each coming with its own game-cartridge. To tell the toy what page you're on in any given book, you have to touch the green "GO" circle on that page with the pen in order to get the correct noises that go with that page. It's definitely a couple of steps beyond the baby-toys that have been the staple of Joy's repertoire.

And guess what? We already had the "I Know My ABCs" book and cartridge, built around the "A says aaa!" song!

I was amazed how fast Joy figured out the sequence of turning on the toy, turning the pages of the book, and tapping the "GO" cicle. The latter is a particular accomplishment because the "GO" circle is at a different location on the perimeter of each page, in order for the toy to differentiate which page's fun to serve up. I love to watch Joy scan all the way around the edge to find the "GO"!

After all this musical phonics-washing, Joy now can fill in the blanks when we sing her a letter:

JoyMama: "The B says..."
Joy: "buh!"

And look what else she's been doing lately, another Rose hand-me-down:

One more Songs of the Season post yet to come... stay tuned!

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