Songs for Suicide: The Tummy Tango

Banana on Pancake

Image via Wikipedia

I have come to the conclusion that as long as I work at The School, I’m going to be sick.  It doesn’t matter how many vitamins I take, how much sleep I get or how often I wash my hands: I’m a teaching artist at a inner city preschool and considering that I teach creative movement— the most hands-on of all the arts—every 45-minute class comprises a new assault on my immune system.

I’ve been blowing my nose more or less non-stop since the middle of December.  Sometime in January, my mom finally broke down and bought the good tissues (the soft, double ply ones, complete with aloe), which was a good thing because another month with the cheap brand would have resulted in the irrevocable erosion of my entire nose and upper lip.

Still, I love my job 99% of the time.

At least I did until I introduced my students to the Tummy Tango.

Now, thanks to the shrill, sing song chorus that comprises Track #1 on my newest creative movement mix CD, I only love my job 95% of the time; this is because the Tummy Tango takes approximately three minutes to perform and the kids request it every morning.

Last Tuesday, they began shrieking with such delight when I took the Tummy Tango CD out of its clear green sleeve that the branch director placed a call to my supervisor to ask, “What’s going on up there?”

“It’s just the Tummy Tango,” I explained.  “They love it.”

What I didn’t mention is that as a result of playing the Tummy Tango twice a day, every day, I now hate it.  It’s is all I can do to “Tango to the right (Tummy Tango!), tango to the left (Tummy Tango!), tango to the front (Tummy Tango!), tango to the back, tango way down low, tango till you touch the sky-y-y!” without wanting to disembowel myself with a plastic spork.

And that’s just the chorus.  Each verse begins with “Think about your favorite food: what’s the shape of a…?”  In response to the music, my students and I contort our bodies into apple shapes, pear shapes, banana shapes, pretzel shapes, and, last but not least, “wiggly spaghetti” shapes.

I have one student who loves pancakes.  Without fail, he asks me every morning, “Miss Kat, can we make a pancake shape?” and without fail, every morning, I tell him, “Yes, of course, you can make a pancake shape.”   (I like to encourage independent thinking and have a soft spot for young, insurrectionary types.)   Unfortunately, by the time the next verse starts, he forgets that he wanted to create a pancake shape and goes right along making egg shapes, lollipop shapes, pizza shapes and grape shapes.  Then, when the Tummy Tango comes to an end and we get ready to move onto the Mexican Hat Dance, he exclaims, “Miss Kat!  I didn’t make a pancake!”

“That’s okay,” I assure him.  “We’ll do the Tummy Tango again tomorrow.”  And we will, because if we don’t, I’ll have a mutiny on my hands and I can barely defend myself against my students and their runny noses when they’re being nice.

(And on that note, Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.  May your day be filled with love, chocolates, or, at the very least, blog-worthy misadventures.  Also, as my special VDay gift to you, I’ve decided to finally stop procrastinating and sign up for WordPress’s “Post-a-day” challenge.  This means that I’ll be posting every day for the duration of 2011, or at least attempting to do so, and seeing as I’ve been concocting a few schemes to ratchet up the romance, things just might start to get interesting again!)

14 Responses to “Songs for Suicide: The Tummy Tango”

  1. Anna

    And every day those same children request “the car song” in music class…aka Highway #1, a folk dance from Australia. Miss Anna: “OK, kids. Let’s go for a drive.”

    • Kat Richter

      Those kids and there songs requests… I’ve been playing this track from Putamayo Kids European Playground and for whatever reason, they’re convinced that the song for England (“The Change Song”) is really from Italy. They request “The Pizza Song” almost as much as they request “The Tummy Tango…” We now do a whole pizza dance, complete with kneading our pizza dough, throwing our dough in the air, adding cheese, putting it in the oven, then “eating” our pizzas, at which point someone always shouts, “Miss Kat! We forgot the tomato sauce!!!”

  2. Debbie

    Welcome to your “first” year as a teacher. By “first” I mean every day in the same place. (Not that you have just started teaching…) My “first” year I was sick all year long… Just go buy yourself a box of the Puffs Plus with lotion and pray for Spring!

    • Kat Richter

      It just hit 60 degrees here in Philly! I’m trying not to get my hopes up that this weather is here to stay but it’s all I can do to not strip down to my tank top and go running around outside! Tissues in hand of course…

  3. Your Landlord

    They sound better than the millions of times we listened to “Baby Songs” when you were miserable with your first ear infection (new parents who had no idea what was wrong) while traveling in AZ, making an already stressful trip an utter “delight” 😉 You will soon perfect the art of “listening” without hearing, LOL.

    • Mary Lynn

      I’d completely forgotten about Baby Songs! (Mercifully, perhaps). But now, I can’t get the toilet training song out of my mind (“I have a little potty of my very own . . . .” ) Thanks a lot, Landlord!

  4. postadaychallenge2011

    Tango every day requested by students is so neat! I hope that you feel better soon.

  5. Rachel

    Schemes – yay! 🙂 Watching Dateline’s look at & what its recent polling reveals about singles. Would love to know your thoughts if you run out of daily posting material! 🙂 Should be

  6. shenanitim

    My best day during my stint as a Delaware sub was teaching a music class. Who knew little kids loved “Rockin’ Robin” so much? Who knew I’d still enjoy it after all these years?

    Also, Twink’s “Broken Record” captivated them. Though I felt bad playing “the Alphabet Song” where the alphabet is repeatedly misspelt. But they seemed to get the joke. At least I hope they did.


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