Old Om Tom Bom Tumble Bumble Bee

This little story requires a rather large backstory. In addition to reciting the Little Piggies as we count our children’s toes, we also do a little toe-counting rhyme my mother learned from her father, that goes like this, starting with the little toe:

“Icky Pea, Penny Roo, Rudy Whistle, Mary Hasso, and Old Tom Bumblebee.”

I’m pretty sure I’ve gotten at least one of these wrong, because the last time I checked my memory against my mom’s I had one of them different from how she says it. But apparently there are MANY variations, as shown if you follow this link. It’s unsurprising there would be so many versions, given that it’s nonsense, and that we learn it at such a young age.

Anyway, Dean was doing this with Hazel, but he was making up all new nonsense names. I didn’t hear his first four, but the big toe was “Old Flea Bag.”

Hazel answered, “No, it’s Ombumble!” And then, correcting herself, “It’s OmTomBumble! OmTumblebee! He scares all the little bees!”

Henry and Rose are playing with their Playmobils, and Mabel just heard Rose make the captain of the army say,

“The bad guys forgot all about the battle today! They stayed up late watching a movie! We’re gonna win!”

(I think this is genuinely how a lot of battles are won. And lost.)

Mabel says earlier in the game she also heard them say, “We’re all waiting in line to exercise so we can be better in the battle.” Each Playmobil figure was getting a 2-second turn to bounce on a treadmill-like device. And their password to get into the kingdom was “Knights are cool!”

Treadmill

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6 Responses to Old Om Tom Bom Tumble Bumble Bee

  1. Jason says:

    So entirely delightfully, adorably precious. Thanks for another wonderful post.

    I love that you and Dean are passing along Dad’s schticks. Does that include Pussy Willow and the Bowwow/Cow-Cow song? Be Kind to Your Web-Footed Friends?

  2. the MomB says:

    Oh Zina this post–and the link!–make me so happy!
    Jason has made me curious as to whether or not any of you remember the Pussy Willow song. Each line is sung on the next note up on a major scale:

    I know a little Pussy–
    Her coat is silver gray;
    She lives down in the meadow
    Not very far away.
    She’ll never be a kitten;
    She’ll never be a cat,
    For she’s a pussy willow!
    Now what do you think of that?
    Meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow [this time descending the scale]–
    Scat! [shouted tunelessly]

    Jason, the Bow-wow/Cow-cow song is definitely part of my children’s repertoire. How about “Spring is very lovely weather…” and “She wore green leaves…”? My impression is that the web-footed friends song was known by both Mom and Dad, and is a little better-known than the others generally. I love it about Mom that she was enthusiastic about all those Huntington-side ditties and songs and took them on as important family lore. There’s also the Rock-a-bye song. Remember how Mother used to say that Dad knew every nursery rhyme that ever there was?

    Acheté and some of my other kids have carried on the tradition by also making up songs. At my retirement party this past Tuesday, five of them sang Tracy’s “Mr. Pickle”, baffling some of my colleagues and delighting most of them. Then there’s Mary’s “Sad” song… and more.

    • the MomB says:

      Oh, and I meant to add that the 4th toe named (which is of course right next to the great toe) is Mary Hostle or Mary Hosso (either is OK; even spelling Hostle as Hossel is OK).

  3. Jason says:

    Mom did delight in the Be Kind song. Another favorite–that we’ve discussed–is Animal Fair.

  4. Rachel Hinkle says:

    I love that your children actually play with such imagination!

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