Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear turn around...and then what?
May 19, 2009 2:10 AM   Subscribe

What's your version of Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear Turn Around? Miss Susie had a steamboat? Cinderella dressed in yella?

I am doing a short presentation on children's jump rope rhymes and count-out games. I've noticed that a lot of these have regional variations.

Some rhymes I've come across frequently include Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear Turn Around, Cinderella dressed in yella (made a mistake and kissed a fella), Bubble gum bubble gum in a dish, Not last night but the night before (24 robbers), Miss Mary Mack, etc. Variations on these and other rhymes definitely welcome!

I am aware of: this previous AskMe as well as this one, The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren, Brian Sutton-Smith, and a whole bunch of scholarly articles.

What's your variation? I'm looking for any type of jump rope rhyme, any type of counting rhyme (playground, not classroom), that sort of thing. It would help if you would explain what region you learned the rhyme in.
posted by librarylis to Writing & Language (73 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
I had a couple on the East coast (NC and VA).

Down down baby, down by the roller coaster
Sweet sweet baby, mama never let you go
Jimmy jimmy cocoa pop, jimmy jimmy wow
jimmy jimmy cocoa pop, jimmy jimmy wow
Grandma, grandma, sick in bed
Grandma went to the doctor and the doctor said
Lets get the rhythm of the head! ding dong
Lets get the rhythm of the hands! ding dong
Lets get the rhythm of the hips! ding dong
Lets get the rhythm of the feet! ding dong
There was more but I can't remember how the rest went...

As far as Miss Susie.. it gets stuck in my head randomly from time to time but I can never remember the whole thing. Here's what I've got:
Miss Susie had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell
When the steamboat sunk, Miss Susie went to
Hello operator, give me number nine
If you disconnect me, I'll cut off your
Behind the refrigerator, there was a piece of glass
Miss Susie sat upon it and broke her little
Ask me no more questions, tell me no more lies
The boys are in the bathroom, zipping up their
Flies... dunno what comes next, haha.

I love this question! I'll post more if I think of them!
posted by srrh at 2:47 AM on May 19, 2009


Flies are in the bathroom, bees are in the park
The boys and girls are kissing in the d-a-r-k dark dark dark!
posted by Sweetie Darling at 3:15 AM on May 19, 2009


Another East Coast variation (this time for SC!). It's neat seeing the differences already:

Miss Susie had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell,
Miss Susie went to heaven, the steamboat went to
Hello operator, please give me number nine,
And if you disconnect me, I'll kick your little
Behind the refrigerator, there stood a piece of glass,
Miss Susie sat upon it and broke her little
Ask me no more questions, tell me no more lies,
The boys are in the bathroom, zipping up their
Flies are in the meadow, bees are in the park,
Miss Susie and her boyfriend are kissing in the
d-a-r-k, d-a-r-k, dark dark dark!
I know I know my ma, I know I know my pa,
I know I know my sister and her 40-acre bra!

I always crack up at the 40-acre bra bit. I mean, seriously? :)

In our Cinderella rhyme, Cinderella dressed in yella made a mistake and kissed a snake.

This thread talks about a creepy rhyme/chant where the object is to hypnotize-cum-freak out your partner with talk of death and blood and people dying. I remember playing that one a lot in elementary school.
posted by ElectricBlue at 3:46 AM on May 19, 2009


(I'm in Australia - I don't know if that's too regional for you?)

This was a hand-clapping rhyme:
My boyfriend's name is Tony
He rides upon a pony
with 57 toes and a pickle on his nose and this is how my story goes:
one day when I was walking
I saw my boyfriend talking
to a pretty little girl with a strawberry curl and this is how my story goes
my boy friend gave her an apple
my boyfriend gave her a pear
my boyfriend gave her a kiss on the lips and I said that's not fair
so my boy friend gave me an apple
my boyfriend gave me a pear
my boyfirend gave me a kiss on the lips and I kicked him down the stairs

We also had teddybear teddybear turn around, for skipping to; and srrh's down-by-the-rollercoaster as a hand-clapping rhyme
posted by girlgenius at 4:01 AM on May 19, 2009


This is all Southern Ontario, in the 80s.

Miss Susie had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell,
Miss Susie went to heaven, the steamboat went to
Hello operator, please give me number nine,
And if you disconnect me, I'll kick you in
Behind the yellow curtain, there was a piece of glass,
Miss Susie sat upon it and hurt her little
Ask me no more questions, please tell me no more lies,
The boys are in the washroom, doing up their
Flies are in the city, the bees are in the park,
Miss Susie and her boyfriend are kissing in the d-a-r-k
Dark is for the movies, the movies for the show
The show is for the theater, and that is all
I know you know my ma, I know you know my pa,
I know you know my sister with the 100 meter bra

Had a little sports car, 1968,
Went around the coooooooorner (Jump out, run around, jump back in)
Steppend on the brakes, the brakes didn't work SO
Bumped into a lady, bumped into a man
Bumped into a police man, man oh man,
The poilice man caught me, put me in jail
All I had to drink was ginger ale
How many bottles did I drink?
2,4,6,8....


Fire Freezies Sits Splits (in later years, "Disco Fever/Temperature" was attached to this)

The "When you eat your Smarties" song had a great clapping pattern to it.

Miss Lucy had a baby, she named him Tiny Tim
She put him in the washtub, to see if he could swim
He drank up all the water, he ate up all the soap
He tried to eat the bathtub but it wouldn't go down his throat
Miss Lucy called the doctor, the doctor called the nurse,
The nurse called the lady with the alligator purse
Pennicillin said the doctor, Penicillin said the nurse
Pizza! said the lady with the alligator purse
(There's more I don't remember)


I remember in later years seeing the "Miss Lucy" one on a kids TV show, but I knew it at the time because they had slightly different words and were SO TOTALLY WRONG.
posted by cathoo at 4:01 AM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Does anybody know where I can hear recordings of these?
posted by surenoproblem at 4:04 AM on May 19, 2009


I had forgotten about the Lady with the Alligator Purse. Our version was much the same, except we didn't use penicillin.

Miss Lucy had a baby, she named him Tiny Tim,
She put him in the bathtub, to see if he could swim,
He drank up all the water, he ate up all the soap,
He tried to eat the bathtub but it wouldn't go down his throat,
Miss Lucy called the doctor, Miss Lucy called the nurse,
Miss Lucy called the lady with the alligator purse,
"Measles!" said the doctor, "Mumps!" said the nurse
"Hiccups!" said the lady with the alligator purse.

100 meter bra > 40-acre bra
Miss Susie's bust has expanded over time, I see.
posted by ElectricBlue at 4:16 AM on May 19, 2009


I actually had a whole book of jump rope rhymes that were variations on each other. Cinderella dressed in yellow was also accompanied by Cinderella dressed in pink, blue, white, green, etc.

Here's my version of Miss Susie's adventure:

Miss Susie had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell,
Miss Susie went to heaven, the steamboat went to
Hello operator, please give me number nine,
And if you disconnect me, I'll kick you in
Behind the 'frigerator, there was a piece of glass,
Miss Susie sat upon it and broke her little
Ask me no more questions, tell me no more lies,
The boys are in the bathroom, zipping up their
Flies are in the city, the bees are in the park,
Miss Susie and her boyfriend are kissing in the
d-a-r-k, d-a-r-k,
Dark is like the movies, a movies like a show
A show is like a theater, and that is all
I know I know my ma, I know I know my pa,
I know I know my sister with the 40 acre bra!

I leaned that in St. Louis, MO.
posted by Mouse Army at 4:24 AM on May 19, 2009


I can only remember one hand-clapping chant from my primary school days (Queensland, Australia) and it goes:

Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?
Number one stole the cookie from the cookie jar!
Who me?
Yes you!
It couldn't have been me!
Then who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?
posted by h00py at 4:29 AM on May 19, 2009


Miss Suzie had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell
When suzie when to heaven the steamboat went to
hello operator please give me number nine
and if you disconnect me, I'll kick you in
behind the yellow curtain, there was a piece of glass
when suzie sat upon it she broke her little
ask me no more questions. please tell me no more lies
the boys are in the bathroom pulling up their
flies are in the meadow, the cows are in the corn......

I know in our version it was "corn" not "park". I just can't remember what happened next. i think the steamboat had a horn maybe? God I'm old. I used to know these inside out. I feel like I have lost my childhood. LOL



We also had "Pizza Pizza daddy-o". I can't remember all of it but it was something like

Rhonda has a boyfriend!
Pizza pizza daddy-o!
How do you know it!
Pizza Pizza daddy-o!
Cause she told me!
Pizza pizza daddy-o!
posted by gwenlister at 4:34 AM on May 19, 2009


Norfolk, VA in the mid-80s...

Miss Susie had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell
Miss Susie went to heaven, the steamboat went to
Hello operator, give me number nine
And if you disconnect me, I'll kick you in your
Behind the refrigerator, there was a piece of glass
Miss Susie slipped upon it and broke her little
Ask me no more questions, I'll tell you no more lies
The boys are in the bathroom, zipping up their
Flies are in the meadow, bees are in the park,
Miss Susie and her boyfriend are kissing in the
dark. dark. dark! dark! dark! dark!
Darker than the ocean, darker than the sea,
Darker than the undewear my momma puts on me.
My momma is Godzilla,
My poppa is King Kong,
My sister is the stupid one
Who made up this here song.
---
Here comes (person's name)
Floating down the Delaware
Chewing on their underwear
Looking for another pair
Three days later
Bitten by a polar bear
Then the polar bear died.
---

Miss Susie had a baby, she named him Tiny Tim,
She put him in the bathtub, to see if he could swim,
He drank up all the water, he ate up all the soap,
He tried to eat the bathtub but it wouldn't go down his throat,
Miss Susie called the doctor, the doctor called the nurse,
The nurse called the lady with the alligator purse.
---
There was a farmer who took a young miss
in back of the barn where he gave her a...
Lecture on horses, and chickens, and eggs
and told her that she had such beautiful...
Manners that suited a girl of her charm
the kind that he wanted to take in his...
Washing and ironing and then as she did
they would get married and raise lots of...
(and then you yell this part)
SWEET VIOLETS... SWEETER THAN ALL OF THE ROSES
COVERED ALL OVER FROM HEAD TO TOE
COVERED ALL OVER WITH SWEET VIOLETS....
(and then you'd repeat the whole song until you tired of it)
posted by sephira at 5:00 AM on May 19, 2009


I had a very different version of down down baby than Srrh (Chicago, mid-90's)

Down down baby, down by the roller coaster
Sweet sweet baby, I'll never let you go
Jimmy jimmy cocoa pop, jimmy jimmy wow
jimmy jimmy cocoa pop, jimmy jimmy breakdown!
last night and the night before
I met my boyfriend at the candy store
he bought me ice cream, he bought me cake
be brought me home with a bellyache
mama mama, I'm so sick
Get to the doctor quick quick quick!
Doctor doctor what do I do?
Lets get the rhythm of the head! ding dong
Lets get the rhythm of the hands! Clap clap!
Lets get the rhythm of the hips! (put your hands on your hips)
Lets get the rhythm of the feet! stomp stomp
Let's get the rhythm of the ho-ot dog (kind of made a shimmy motion)

And then I was told it was about teen pregnancy.

There was one about a mailman, but I don't remember.

There was also

Mickey Mouse Built a house
Donald Duck messed it up
who will pay the consequences
(start counting)
posted by dinty_moore at 5:01 AM on May 19, 2009


Oh I almost forgot my favorite:

My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord,
He is driving down the alley in a pink and yellow Ford.
With one hand on the throttle and the other on a bottle
of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer. Glory, glory!
posted by sephira at 5:02 AM on May 19, 2009


Wow, it seems like what comes after "dark" in Miss Susie is the big variable. For us it was:

Flies are in the city, bees are in the park.
The boys and girls are kissing in the d-a-r-k d-a-r-k d-a-r-k dark dark
Darker than the ocean, deeper than the sea
The naked boys are chasing
Chasing after me me me!
posted by lampoil at 5:14 AM on May 19, 2009


Oh! Now I remember:

Mailmail Mailman do your duty
I've got a date with a Mexican beauty
She can do the pom pom, she can do the twist
But most of all she can kiss kiss kiss!
K-I-S-S Kiss! (and you move your legs out with each letter, until someone falls)
posted by dinty_moore at 5:15 AM on May 19, 2009


Another ending for Miss Suzy, this one SE Michigan from the late 80s.

...Ask me no more questions, please tell me no more lies.
Miss Suzy told me all of this the day before she
Dyed her hair all purple, she dyed her hair all pink,
She dyed her hair all polka dots and washed it down the
Sink me in the ocean, sink me in the sea,
Flush me down the toilet, and that's the end of me me me.
The boys are in the bathroom, the girls are in the park,
Miss Suzy and her boyfriend are kissing in the d-a-r-k
Dark is like a movie, a movie's like a show,
A show is like a TV show and that is all
I know I know my ma, I know I know my pa,
I know I know my sister with the 90 meter bra.

Also, yes, holy crap, I'd forgotten about the Alligator Purse Lady too. She was especially confusing because nobody I knew as a kid owned anything made out of alligator skin. I just figured the purse ate people.

And we had a version of Down Down Baby that wasn't quite the same as srrh's, but between the Nelly song with yet another version of those lyrics and the Sesame Street sketch with another one still, it's all gotten jumbled up in my head and I can't rememer the one we actually used when we were kids.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:16 AM on May 19, 2009


Oh, and as for "Teddy Bear..." we had a modified version that we tacked on to a different rhyme. I think this was my mom's thing:

I went downtown, to see Mr. Brown
He gave me a nickel to buy a pickle
The pickle was sour so I bought a flower
The flower didn't smell so I bought a bell
The bell wouldn't ring so I began to sing:
Lady, Lady, turn around
Lady, Lady, touch the ground
Lady, Lady, shine your shoes
Lady, Lady, that will do.
posted by lampoil at 5:22 AM on May 19, 2009


(Oh, shit, did anyone else have "Say Say Oh Playmate"? The only part I remember is the start of the second verse
Say say oh sorry,
I can't come out with you.
My dolly has the flu.
She might throw up on you.
which I thought was goddamn hilarious when I was eight. But there was an invitation-type verse before that.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:23 AM on May 19, 2009


nebulawindphone - maybe part of:

playmate, come out and play with me
climb up my apple tree
slide down my rainbow
into the cellar door
and we'll be best of friends forever more, more, more!

i remember there was a 2nd "i can't play with you" verse.

i sing the first verse to my boyfriend sometimes.
posted by nadawi at 5:35 AM on May 19, 2009


Say say my playmate
Come out and play with me
And bring your dollies three
Climb up my apple tree
Slide down my rainbow
Into my kitchen door
And we'll be jolly friends
Forever more, more, more

And there was an "enemy" verse I liked better:

Say say my enemy
Come out and fight with me
And bring your bulldogs three
Climb up my poison tree
Slide down my razor blade
Into my dungeon door
And we'll be jolly enemies
Forever more, more, more

There was also one that you did with the complicated wavy hand clap that went:

Big Mac, Filet-o-Fish, Quarter Pounder, French fries
Icy Coke, thick shake, sundae and apple pie

And one that started:

Shame, shame, shame
I don't wanna go to Mexico no more, more, more
There's a big fat lizard at the door, door, door
(I forget the rest)

There was also one that was all in gibberish that went "Bo bo skinny otten totten" and ended in "Boom," but I don't recall that one so well.

Also:

Miss Sue (clap clap)
Miss Sue (clap clap)
Miss Sue from Alabama
Sittin' in her rocker, eatin' Betty Crocker
Watchin' that clock go
Tick, tock, tick all around
Tick, tock, tick all around
A B C D E F G
Gotta wash that stain right outta me
I got a boom shot (I actually don't know the actual word here)
I got a boom shot
I got a crack in my side
I got a crack in my side
DON'T MOVE! (and then you had to freeze.)

We also had the sister with the 18-meter bra, 48-inch bra, and alligator bra. I guess she had a lot of bras.

(North Carolina, mid-80s.)
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:55 AM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


NYC in the 1970s was a tad more vivid and violent, as you might expect
Also I remember it as Miss Lucy having the steamboat

Miss Lucy had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell
Miss Lucy went to heaven, and the steamboat went to
Hello operator, give me number nine
And if you disconnect me, I will chop off your
Behind the refrigerator, there is a piece of glass
Miss Lucy sat upon it and went right up her
Ask me no more questions, tell me no more lies
The boys are in the bathroom, pulling down their
Flies are in the ? (not meadow), bees are in the park,
the boys and girls are kissing in the
D-A-R-K D-A-R-K D-A-R-K dark! dark! dark! dark!
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:57 AM on May 19, 2009


The hand-clap version I know of nebulawindphone and nadawi mentioned goes like:

See see [or possibly ce-ce] my playmate,
Come out and play with me,
and bring your dollies three,
climb up my apple tree.
Slide down my rainbow
into my cellar door.
And we'll be jolly friends,
Forever more, more...more-more.

I grew up in northern Illinois and central Indiana in the 80s.
posted by cooker girl at 5:57 AM on May 19, 2009


My mama your mama live in the woods
And every night they have a fight
And this is what they say:
Boys are rotten, made out of cotton
Girls are dandy, made out of candy
Boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider
Girls go to college to get more knowledge
Boys go to Venus to get more penis
Girls go to school to get more cool
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:01 AM on May 19, 2009


These are from TX & CA in the early 80s.

Cinderella dressed in yella
went upstairs to kiss a fella.
Made a mistake & kissed a snake.
How many doctors did it take?
1 - 2 - 3 etc.


Say say oh playmate,
come out and play with me
and bring your dollies three
climb up my apple tree
slide down my rainbow
into the cellar door
and we'll be jolly friends
forever more, more, shut the door!

We also had a variation I can't completely remember:
Say say oh enemy,
come out and fight with me
and bring your soldiers three
????
slide down my drainpole
into the cellar door
and we'll be enemies
forever more, more, shut the door!


Down down baby, down by the rollercoaster
sweet sweet baby, I'll never let you go
shimmy shimmy cocoa pop , shimmy shimmy powwow
shimmy shimmy cocoa pop, shimmy shimmy POW!


Down by the banks with the hanky-panky
where the bullfrogs jump from bank to bank-y
with an eeps - opps - ohps - umms
then sloppy joe & then go POW!
posted by belladonna at 6:03 AM on May 19, 2009


In our Cinderella rhyme, Cinderella dressed in yella made a mistake and kissed a snake.

Yep. "Made a mistake and kissed a snake. How many doctors did it take? 1...2...3" Our "Miss Suzie" ended after D-A-R-K dark". I never head the extra bits before. (York county, PA, mid to late 70s.)

I know a lot of camp songs, but not so many of these...I was a tomboy, and jumprope was girls stuff.
posted by JoanArkham at 6:10 AM on May 19, 2009


I remembered another one by reading the other comments.

Bazook! (clap clap)
Bazook! (clap clap)
Bazook from alabama
sitting in a rocker
eatin' Betty Crocker
Watchin' the clock go
Tick tock
tick tock bananarock
tick tock
tick tock bananarock
A B C D E F G
Wash those boy germs off of me
Moonshine!
Moonshine!
Moonshine!
FREEZE!

(and then we would freeze and whoever moved first lost..)


We also had Cinderella...

Cinderella dressed in yella
went upstairs to kiss a fella.
Made a mistake.
Kissed a snake.
How many doctors did it take?
1, 2, 3, 4..... etc


and for the record, I am from New Brunswick, Canada, and it was the mid to late 80's that I was enjoying this.
posted by gwenlister at 6:27 AM on May 19, 2009


Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack
All dressed in Black Black Black
With Silver Buttons Buttons Buttons
All down her back back back
She asked her mother mother mother
for fifty cents cents cents
to see the cows cows cows
jump over the fence fence fence
they jumped so high high high
they reached the sky sky sky
and didn't come back back back
till the fourth of july ly ly

Miss susie had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell, miss susie went to heaven, the steamboat went to
hello operator, please give me number nine, and if you disconnect me, I'll chop off your
behind the 'fridgerator, there was a piece of glass, miss susie sat upon it, and it went up her
ask me no more questions, tell me no more lies, the boys are in the bathroom, zipping up their
flies are in the garden, bees are in the bush...

coca cola went to town
pepsi cola shot him down
dr pepper fixed him up
now they're drinkin 7-up.

X and Y sitting in a tree
K-i-s-s-i-n-g
first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Y with a baby carriage.
Get out the diapers, get out the bibs, X and Y just had twins.

Down by the banks of the hanky-panky
where the bullfrogs jump from bank to bank-y
with an eep - ipe - ope - ump
knee slap a dilly and a ker-PLOP.

Kansas, 90's.
posted by mgogol at 6:45 AM on May 19, 2009


The version of the shame rhyme that I knew (Chicago, 90's again) went like this:

Shame shame shame
I don’t want to go to Mexico no more more more
There’s a big fat policeman at my door door door
He grabbed me by the collar
He made me pay a dollar
I don’t want to go to Mexico no more more more

We also used rockin’ robin as a clapping rhyme, same as the usual song, only it involved this verse.

Momma’s in the kitchen, burnin’ that rice
Daddy’s in the alley, shootin’ that dice
Brother’s in jail, waiting for bail
Sister’s on the corner selling fruit cocktail.

Honestly, we must have had some rhymes that didn’t involve prostitution, police extortion or Disney, but my mind’s drawing a blank.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:53 AM on May 19, 2009


My Miss Susie was Miss Lucie, too. New Jersey, late 70s-1980s. Same words as CunningLinguist's version (though I think the flies were in the meadow...). I definitely remember the "chop off your... Behind the 'fridgerator" (we never pronounced the "re," it messed up the rhythm).
posted by chowflap at 6:54 AM on May 19, 2009


Miss Suzy had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell (ding ding!)
Miss Suzy went to heaven, the steamboat went to
Hello operator, please give me number nine
And if you disconnect me, I'll kick you in
Behind the 'frigerator, there was a piece of glass
Miss Suzy sat upon it and broke her little
Ask me no more questions, tell me no more lies
The boys are in the bathroom, zipping up their
Flies are in the city, bees are in the park
Miss Suzy and her boyfriend are kissing in the
D-A-R-K D-A-R-K DARK DARK DARK DARK
Dark is like a movie, a movie's like a show
A show is like a TV show, and that is all
I know I know my ma, I know I know my pa
I know I know my sister with the 40-acre bra

(Though I think I once heard a girl who said "double-D-sized bra". Not sure if that was a regional variation or if she (or a sibling?) thought that 40 acres made no sense and corrected it.)

------

Down by the banks of the Hanky Panky
With the bullfrogs jumpin' from bank to bank-y
With an Eeps! Ops! Opes! Ops!
Eeps ops opes and it goes ker-SPLASH!

--------

Shame, shame, shame
I don't want to go to Mexico no more, more, more
There's a big fat policeman at the door door door
You can shriek and you can holler
But he'll grab you by the collar
I don't want to go to Mexico no more, more, more
SHAME!

--------

Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack
All dressed in black, black, black
With silver (seventeen?) buttons, buttons, buttons
All down her back, back, back.

She asked her mother, mother, mother
For 50 cents, cents, cents
To see the elephants, elephants, elephants
Go jump the fence, fence, fence.

They jumped so high, high, high
They reached the sky, sky, sky
And they didn't come back, back, back
Till the 4th of July, ly, ly!

----------

Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?
[Name] stole the cookie from the cookie jar!
Who me?
Yes you!
Couldn't be!
Then who?
Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?

-----------

I don't remember enough about our version of the "shimmy shimmy cocoa puff" one or "bubblegum bubblegum in a dish" to give any detailed answers. We also had ElectricBlue's version of Tiny Tim. This is Cleveland, OH.
posted by ubersturm at 6:54 AM on May 19, 2009


Oh! We had Miss Mary Mack, too. There we go. My childhood now feels a little less sordid.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:54 AM on May 19, 2009


Back when Tom Hanks used to star in comedies, he made a film called Big. I recall you can hear two boys working through one of these rhymes.
posted by Wild_Eep at 7:05 AM on May 19, 2009


Slightly older (late 1960s-early 1970s) California version:

Say say my playmate
Come out and play with me
And bring your dollies three
Climb up my apple tree
Slide down my rain barrel
Into my cellar door
And we'll be jolly friends
Forever more, more, more

We also had one I've been dying to remember forever - anyone else?

Pamela pamela pamela a-biscuit
(something I've forgotten)
Oooooh chichi wawa (a-biscuit)
She had a (something) (a-biscuit)
It was so pretty (a-biscuit)
Just like a (something) (a-biscuit)

Aaaaaand yes, I'm old enough to remember an incredibly politically-incorrect one about a Chinese gentleman sitting on a fence. I went to grade school in Chinatown and most of my friends were Chinese, but we sang it anyway.
posted by chez shoes at 7:07 AM on May 19, 2009


In Eastern Ontario, Canada, we had a couple of the above variations on the steamboat rhyme, but the steamboat belonged to Miss Mary, and the flies were in the kitchen.
posted by ITheCosmos at 7:10 AM on May 19, 2009


We had this weird clapping/elimination game where you sat in a circle with at least four other kids. You held your arms out on both sides with your palms up (comfortably, with a bent elbow), and you put your right hand on the palm of left hand of the person to the right of you (I feel like I need to draw a diagram). The clapping involved reaching your right hand over to the left hand of the person to your left, so I guess it was more slapping than clapping, technically.

Anyway, the chant was:
Quack-a-dilly oh my
Quack quack quack
Say chico-chico, chico, chico chuck
Follow, follow, follow-follow fol-low!
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Whoever was slapped on "10" was out.

Oh, and "Miss Suzie" was "Miss Lucy" for us.

Boston suburbs around '92-'95.
posted by giraffe at 7:12 AM on May 19, 2009


Oh, and this one!

Not last night but the night before.
Twenty-four robbers came knocking at my door,
I asked them what they wanted
And this is what they said:
Spanish dancer turn around,
Spanish dancer touch the ground,
Spanish dancer do the kicks,
Spanish dancer do the splits!
posted by chez shoes at 7:16 AM on May 19, 2009


As far as my memory serves me:

"Miss Susie"

Miss Susie had a steamboat,
the steamboat had a bell! (Toot! Toot!)
Miss Susie went to Heaven;
the steamboat went to
HELLo, Operator!
Please give me number nine.
But, if you disconnect me,
I'll chop off your -
Behind the 'frigerator
There was a piece of glass.
Miss Susie sat upon it
and broke her little
ASk me no more questions
Please, tell me no more lies.
The boys are in the bathroom
pulling down their
FLIES are in the meadow
The bees are in the park
Miss Susie and her boyfriend
Are kissing in the D-A-R-K, D-A-R-K, dark dark dark
Is like a movie
Dark is like a show
Dark is like a movie show
And that is all I know
I know my mother
I know, I know my pops
I know, I know my sister
But I ate her, ate her, ate her, ate her BRA, BRA, BRA

Then, there's always "Miss Mary Mack":

Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack
All dressed in black, black, black
With silver buttons, buttons, buttons
All down her back, back back
She asked her mother, mother, mother
For fifteen cents, cents, cents
To see the elephants, elephants, elephants
Jump over the fence, fence, fence

They jumped so high, high, high
They touched the sky, sky, sky
And they never came back, back, back
'Til the Fourth of July, July, July

Then, another, rather macabre, one, "No Title", popular at summer camps:
Concentrate! Concentrate on what I'm saying:
People are dying, children are crying
Concentrate! Concentrate on what I'm saying!

Stick a knife in your back,
let the blood run down, let the blood run down,
and the shivers run up

Thousands nails in your spine
Let the pain run down, let the pain run down,
and the shivers run up

[This could go on for quite a while, if you could make up more verses]

Cool breeze (blow air on friend's back)
Tight squeeze (light pinch)
Now you've got the willy-wees!

Ones I don't remember:
* Round Round Robin
* Something about a watermelon down by the river
* Something that began with:

A, B, C! It's easy as 1-2-3!
My mama drinks cold coffee!
My papa takes care of me.
Ooh, aah
Want a piece of pie
Pie too sweet?
Want a piece of meat.
Meat too tough?
Wanna ride a bus.
Bus too full?
Wanna go to school? [etc.]
posted by simulacra at 7:26 AM on May 19, 2009


I grew up in Nova Scotia in the 1960s. In my neighbourhood, the steamboat was owned by Mary, who was kicked behind the yellow curtain. Miss Mary Mack went to see elephants jump over the fence. We also skipped to this:

Fudge, fudge, call the judge
Somebody's havin' a baby (often a particpant's name was substituted)
Wrap it up in tissue paper,
Throw it in the elevator
First - floor - stop
Second - floor - stop
Third - floor - do not stop
Run through jolly-oh pepper (rope is turned double-time)
Hi, low, medium, slow
Run through jolly-oh pepper (these two lines are repeated until the skipper misses a beat)

We also had a game where two girls (almost invariably girls in skipping games although occasionally a boy joined us) would skip together and the rest would chant "Down the Mississippi where the boats go puh-ush". On the "puh-ush" one girl would lightly push the back of the girl in front of her who would jump out. The girl doing the pushing would simultaneously move a little forward and another girl would jump in behind the girl now in front.
posted by angiep at 7:27 AM on May 19, 2009


Dammit, everyone in this thread is WRONG, it's "kick you FROM behind the 'frigerator..." and "EIGHTY-METER bra." Northern Virginia, late 80s, this was a clapping rhyme for two people and the clapping part goes: left hands down/right hands up, then both people's hands straight on, then each claps normally, repeat, one-two-three-one-two-three etc. (Is that the "complicated wavy hand clap" Metroid Baby's talking about? There's also another one with a lot more steps that I'm not even going to try to describe...)

The Cinderella rhyme is for jumping rope and the counting keeps going as long as the jumper can keep jumping without missing. Also a jump rope rhyme, but I don't know how it ends, is: "Lincoln Lincoln I've been thinkin' what on earth have you been drinkin'? is it water is it wine? oh my gosh it's turpentine." Maybe you just start counting after that? There is a Simpsons episode where this goes "what the hell have you been drinkin'?" and "oh my god it's turpentine," but that was the first time I heard it that way. I don't remember the bubble gum rhyme as well as the others, but I'm pretty sure it just goes "bubble gum bubble gum in a dish, how many pieces do you wish?" and then you count until jumping failure.
posted by clavicle at 7:28 AM on May 19, 2009


I learned this at summer day camp outside of Richmond, VA in ~1991:

Say say my playmate
come out and play with me
we'll have a jolly spree
climb up my apple tree
slide down my rainbow
into my cellar door
and we'll be jolly friends
forever more more more

under the rainbow
under the sea
true love forever
true love for me
when i get married
i'll have a family
with sixteen children
all in a
row row row your boat
gently down the stream
throw your teachers overboard
and listen to them scream
five days later
floating down the delaware
lost a pair of underwear
couldn't find another pair
five days later
eaten by a polar bear
and that's how the polar bear died
posted by dust.wind.dude at 8:00 AM on May 19, 2009


Wow this is bringing back some serious memories!

For the "hot dog" line of "down down baby" we swiveled our hips around.
posted by radioamy at 8:05 AM on May 19, 2009


Another version of the game/chant that giraffe posted:

Quack diddly oh so, quack quack quack,
singing sam-arico, rico, rico, rico
flora, flora, flora-flora-flora fa-lor!
one two three four!

Seattle, early to mid 90s. We did See See Oh Playmate, too.
posted by illenion at 8:09 AM on May 19, 2009


simulacra, the watermelon thing wasn't by chance "Down by the bay", was it?

Down by the bay,
Where the watermelons grow.
Back to my home,
I dare not go.
Because if I do,
My mother will say,
Did you ever see a bear combing his hair?
Down by the bay.

I sang a lot of the same songs as are listed above when I skipped rope. As someone noted above, around here it was Miss Mary that had a steamboat, and the racecar's year of make was 1949.

We also had two "patty-cake" rhymes. This is one, which I haven't seen listed (and which is horribly racist to my now adult mind!!).

I went to a Chinese restaurant
To buy a loaf of bread, bread, bread,
They wrapped it up in Chinese silk
And this is what he said, said, said,
My...name...is...
Kayleye, pickle-eye, pickle-eye, kayleye
Hum-bum-birdie, wally-wally whiskey
Chinese chopsticks,
Chow-wow!

And the complete rhyme we used to use for "Oh Little Playmate"

Oh little playmate,
Come out and play with me,
And bring your dollies three,
Climb up my apple tree,
Slide down my rain barrel,
Into my cellar door,
And we'll be jolly friends,
Forevermore.

I'm sorry playmate,
I cannot play with you,
My dollies have the flu,
Boo hoo, hoo hoo hoo hoo,
Ain't got no rain barrel,
Ain't got no cellar door,
But we'll be jolly friends,
Forevermore.

Oh little enemy,
Come out and fight with me,
And bring your henchmen three,
Climb up my poison tree,
Slide down my razor blade,
Into my iodine,
And we'll be jolly enemies,
Forevermore.

(don't ask me where the iodine comes from. I never thought it rhymed, either).

Location: Southeastern Ontario, late 1970's.
posted by LN at 8:09 AM on May 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


From MD in the 90s. I realize now a lot of this doesn't necessarily make sense but this is what I remember saying..

miss lucy had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell (toot toot)
miss lucy went to heaven and the steamboat went to
hello operator, please give me number 9
and if you disconnect me i will chop off your
behind the refrigerator, there was a piece of glass
miss lucy sat upon it and broke her little
ask me no more questions, tell me no more lies
the boys are in the bathroom, pulling down their
flies are in the meadow, the bees are in the park
miss lucy and her boyfriend are kissing in the d-a-r-k d-a-r-k dark dark
dark is like a movie, a movie's like a show
a show is like a TV show and that is all
i know i know my mother, i know i know my father
i know i know my sister with the 80 hour 80 hour 80 hour bra bra bra

--

miss mary mack mack mack
all dressed in black black black
with silver buttons buttons buttons
all down her back back back
she asked her mother mother mother
for 15 cents cents cents
to see the elephants elephants elephants
jump the fence fence fence
they jumped so high high high
they reached the sky sky sky
and they never came back back
til the 4th of july ly ly
(there may have been another line in here to make a transition into the next part but i don't remember it..)
got punched in the eye eye eye
that's what you get get get
for telling a lie lie lie
posted by elysenavidad at 8:24 AM on May 19, 2009


girlgenius, that's so funny how rhymes travel - yours is really similar to my Ohio rhyme, but with some obvious differences (I'm not surprised that Australians aren't talking about Cincinnati).

I am a pretty little Dutch girl, as pretty as pretty can be
And all the boys around my block go crazy over me
I have a boyfriend Fatty, he comes from Cincinnati
With three big toes and a pickle on his nose and this is how my story goes.

One day when I was walking I saw my boyfriend talking
to a pretty little girl with strawberry curls and this is what he said to her:
I l-o-v-e love you, I k-i-s-s kiss you
I k-i-s-s kiss you on your f-a-c-e face face face!
posted by harperpitt at 8:42 AM on May 19, 2009


Little boys don't have any rhymes at all, do they?
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:51 AM on May 19, 2009


illenion and giraffe touched on a clapping game that I think is some variation of the one I remember from Girl Scout camp. I'll try to write in the beats, but I can't vouch for accuracy!

Croc-a-dilla | dilla dilla
1 2 | 3 4
oh, my my my!
1 2 3 4
Casey | my trinka
1 2 | 3 4
trinka | trinka | tra!
1 | 2 | 3 | clap with words
Fa la, | fa la,
1 2 | 3 4
fa la fa la fa la fa LA
[can't annotate!]
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10!

It's interesting that our "follow" turned into "fa la." I'll bet the nonsense syllables actually meant something at some point in time. :)
posted by ElectricBlue at 9:13 AM on May 19, 2009


CT in the 1980s (close to the others, but the MD one above made me remember the last line.)

miss lucy had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell (toot toot*)
miss lucy went to heaven and the steamboat went to
hello operator, please give me number 9
and if you disconnect me i will chop off your
behind the refrigerator, there was a piece of glass
miss lucy sat upon it and it went right up her
ask me no more questions, tell me no more lies
the boys are in the bathroom, pulling down their
flies are in the meadow, the bees are in the park
miss lucy and her boyfriend are kissing in the d-a-r-k d-a-r-k dark dark
dark is like a movie, a movie's like a show
a show is like a TV show and that is all
i know i know my mother, i know i know my father
i know i know my sister with the 18 (16?) hour bra (no repetition because that's when it ended.)

* I never did this part, because I thought it was stupid!

The Cinderella rhymes I actually learned from a book and don't recall, except that there were more verses with other colored dresses and that was the selling point for me. I recall attempting to make one for orange and failing epically.
posted by cobaltnine at 9:23 AM on May 19, 2009


Down by the banks of the Hanky Panky
where the bullfrogs jump from bank to banky
they go eets ites oats ots
[I can't remember how we ended this one]

--

And this is a jingle, but we used it as a clapping game:

Gimme a break, gimme a break
Break me off a piece of that KitKat bar.
It's the chocolaty taste that'll make your day,
Wherever you go you hear the people say
Gimme a break, gimme a break
Break me off a piece of that
Break me off a piece of that
Break me off a piece of that KitKat bar.

--

Not exactly a jumping rhyme, but:

Crack an egg on your head [hand on head then run down the back]
Let the yolk run down
the chills go up
the chills go down

Concentration, concentration.

Stick some pins in your back [fingers in the back then run down]
Let the blood run down
the chills go up
the chills go down

Concentration, concentration.

Stick some pins in your back [fist in the back then run down]
Let the blood run down
the chills go up
the chills go down

Concentration, concentration.

[Tell a long, vaguely menacing story, then push.]
posted by ocherdraco at 9:31 AM on May 19, 2009


I'm from Alabama, and was doing these in the early 90s, btw. I recognize a ton of them, but didn't remember the words myself.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:35 AM on May 19, 2009


Cinderella
Dressed in yella
Went to the ball
To catch a fella
Made a mistake
Kissed a snake
How many doctors
Did it take?

And in Mary Mack, we had:
"Mumps!" said the doctor
"Measles!" said the nurse
"Ha, ha!" said the lady with the alligator purse.
Say good-bye to the doctor
Say good-bey to the nurse
Say good-bye to the lady with the alligator purse!

Lincoln, Lincoln
I've been thinking
What the heck have you been drinking?
Looks like water
Tastes like wine
Oh my gosh it's turpentine!

My son had Social Studies homework once to bring in quotations about American Presidents. Naturally, he didn't remember the assignment until the last minute, and we were racking our brains to come up with some. So, in the end, we used that Lincoln, Lincoln poem. As I recall, the teacher couldn't stop laughing and he got an A on the assignment.
posted by misha at 9:38 AM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


You should buy this book. It's exactly what you're looking for:
posted by pokeydonut at 9:49 AM on May 19, 2009


Tucson, 1970s

Miss Lucy had a steamboat, not Miss Susie.
"And if you disconnect me
I'll kick YOU in YOUR
Behind the 'fridgerator..."

and it didn't go beyond
"Boys and girls are kissing in the d-a-r-k dark dark dark!"

Also Miss Mary Mack paid 15 cents to see elephants jump the fence.

Oh, and we had Say say oh playmate in which we slid down the rain barrel not the rainbow, and we also had the second verse with the sick dollies, but we didn't have the third verse with the enemies.

And what I remember is Ladybug Ladybug turn around, not Teddybear Teddybear, but I might be misremembering that one.
posted by Brody's chum at 10:14 AM on May 19, 2009


The Playmate song is actually a real song with real lyrics:

Oh PLAYMATE, come out and play with me
And bring your dollies three.
Climb up my apple tree,
Look down my rain barrel
Slide down my cellar door
And we'll be jolly friends forever more.

I'm sorry Playmate, I cannot play with you
My dollies have the flu,
Boo-hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo.
Ain't got no rain barrel,
Ain't got no cellar door
But we'll be jolly friends forever more.

It's funny how it seems to be almost universally switched from "look down my rain barrel, slide down my cellar door" to "slide down my rainbow [or rain barrel]." I guess because most people wouldn't have a cellar door with a ramp instead of stairs (or they wouldn't have a cellar door at all).
posted by lampoil at 10:41 AM on May 19, 2009


We had Miss Lucy who ended at the D-A-R-K D-A-R-K dark dark dark as well - I've never heard any of these extra verses! I remember feeling as though it were extra-scandalous that we nearly said "ass", etc. We also had Teddybear Teddybear turn around, as well as Tiny Tim (with measles, mumps, and hiccups).

There was another very long rhyme that listed multiple members of a family with accompanying actions (the only line I remember is "my brother is a cowboy" while twirling a pretend lasso), but I can't remember it for the life of me.

We also had Shimmy Shimmy Cocoa Puff with a lot of verses along the lines of "I can shake my body" (while doing just that); "I can do karate" (while karate-chopping); "Oops, I'm sorry" (while smacking the other person on the head); "I can tell my mommy" (immediately following the previous).
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 10:49 AM on May 19, 2009


Sorry, that was in South Dakota in the '90s.
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 10:50 AM on May 19, 2009


Grew up in northern New England in the late 80s and early 90s:

Miss Susie had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell (ding ding)
Miss Susie went to heaven, the steamboat went to
Hello operator, give me number nine
And if you disconnect me, I'll cut off your
behind the refrigerator, there sat a piece of glass
Miss Susie sat upon it and broke her big fat
Ask me no more questions, tell me no more lies
The boys are in the bathroom zipping up their
Flies are in the meadows, bees are in the hives
Miss Susie and her boyfriend are kissing in the
D-A-R-K, D-A-R-K, D-A-R-K
Dark, dark, dark

The dark is like the movie, the movie's like a show
The show is like the tv and that is all I know
I know my mother, I know I know my pa
I know I know my sister with the eighty mile bra!
It's not too big, it's not too small!
It's just the size of City Hall

I saw her in the country, I saw her in the state
I saw her skinny dipping! Oops! My mistake
________________

The non-dirty version:

Miss Susie had a baby, she name him Tiny Tim
She put him in the bathtub to see if he could swim
He drank up all the water, he ate up all the soap
He tried eating the bathtub but it wouldn't fit down his throat
Miss Susie called the doctor, the doctor called the nurse,
The nurse called the lady with the alligator purse
The doctor said it was measles, the nurse said it was chicken pox
The lady with the alligator purse said he was fine!
Miss Susie punched the doctor, Miss Susie kicked the nurse
Miss Susie *paid* the lady with the alligator purse!

___________

Cinderella dressed in yellow
Went upstairs to kiss her fellow
How many kisses did she take?

Cinderella dressed in pink
Dried the dishes in the sink
How many dishes did she break?

_________________

My mother is a baker, a baker, a baker
My mother is a baker and this is how it goes
Yum Yum!

My father is a trash collector, trash collector, trash collector
My father is a trash collector, and this is how it goes
Yum! Yum! Peeeyuu!

My sister is a dodo brain, a dodo brain, a dodo brain
My sister is a dodo brain and this is how it goes
Yum! Yum! Peeeyu! La-di-da whoop-di-doo

My brother is a cowboy, a cowboy, a cowboy
My brother is a cowboy and this is how it goes
Yum! Yum! Peeeyu! La-di-da whoop-di-doo, bang bang stick 'em up!

My aunt is an operator, operator, operator
My aunt is an operator and this is how it goes
Yum! Yum! Peeeyu! La-di-da whoop-di-doo, bang bang stick 'em up! Operator please hang up!

(There are a lot more to this one. It goes on FOREVER!)
___________________

Ladybug, Ladybug, turn around,
Ladybug, Ladybug touch the ground.
Ladybug, Ladybug shine your shoes,
Ladybug, Ladybug read the news.
Ladybug, ladybug, how old are you?
One, two, three, four . . . . .

______________

Boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider
Girls go to college to get more knowledge

or:

Boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider
Girls go to Mars to get candy bars

_______________

I have a lot more. Feel free to pm me if you like.
posted by zizzle at 12:32 PM on May 19, 2009


Southern Delaware, 80s.

Miss Suzy had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell.
Miss Suzy went to heaven, the steamboat went to
Hello operator! Give me number nine! If you disconnect me, I'll kick you in the
Behind the 'fridgerator, there was a piece of glass.
Miss Suzy sat upon it, and broke her little
Ask me no more questions, I'll tell you no more lies.
The boys are in the bathroom, zipping up their flies.
(We ended it there.)

Miss Suzy had a baby, his name was Tiny Tim.
She put it in the bathtub, to see if he could swim.
He drank up all the water, he ate up all the soap.
He tried to eat the bathtub, but it wouldn't go down his throat.
Miss Suzy called the doctor, the doctor called the nurse.
The nurse called the lady with the aligator purse.
(I don't remember if there was more.)

We also had a totally different version of "Down Down Baby." I can't remember all of it, but we recited it while playing a two (or more!) person clapping game:

Down down baby, bown by the river
You're a sweet, sweet baby
Mama never let you go
Shimmy shimmy cocoa pop, shimmy shimmy pop
Shimmy shimmy cocoa pop, shimmy shimmy pop
Well, I like coffee, I like tea, I like a (white/black) boy and he likes me.
So go away (white/black - opposite of above) you don't shine.
I bet you five dollars I can beat your behind.

This one was my favorite:

10-20-30-40-50 or more
Ronald Reagan (or whoever, but if there was nobody around to sing to, we would say Ronald Reagan) let a fart in the grocery store.
Fifty men died trying to hold their breath
but Ronald Regan let another one and killed the rest.
posted by jennyb at 1:05 PM on May 19, 2009


This was the classic one among my friends (I remember getting in trouble because my parents were scandalized their six-year-old would chant this):

Candy apple on a stick
Makes my stomach go two-forty six!
Not because I'm dirty
Not because I'm clean
Just because I kissed a boy behind a magazine
Heyyyyy boys! How 'bout a fight?
Here comes Johnny with his pants on tight
He can wiggle, he can wobble
He can do the splits
But most of all he can kiss, kiss, kiss
With his red hot lips!

~~~

Also, another popular one that I couldn't fully master (and no doubt a reason why it makes no sense to me now) was:

Down, down, baby
Down by the rollercoaster
Sweet, sweet baby
I will never let you go
Shimmy shimmy cocoa pop
Shimmy shimmy raw
I met a boy at the candystore
He said a-tisket, a-tasket
Oh-me-goss-a-maw!

~~~

Our version of the "Tiny Tim" had the pencillin (with whatever delictable we wanted in place of ElectricBlue's "pizza"), but also had Miss Lucy kicking the doctor and the nurse [as in zizzle's version], but thanking the lady with the alligator purse).

Oh, and this was in the mid-80s, CO.
posted by paisley sheep at 1:19 PM on May 19, 2009


Growing up in Nebraska in the 90's, we had a variety of the cinderella songs that went with jumproping. I knew miss mary mack and the lady with the alligator purse from children's books. We also had:

Miss Suzy had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell (ding ding!)
Miss Suzy went to heaven, the steamboat went to
Hello operator, give me number nine
And if you disconnect me, I'll PADDLE your
Behind the 'frigerator, there lay piece of glass
Miss Suzy sat upon it and broke her BIG FAT
Ask me no more questions, tell me no more lies
The boys are in the bathroom, zipping up their
Flies are in the meadow, bees are in the park
Miss Suzy and her boyfriend are kissing in the
D-A-R-K D-A-R-K DARK DARK
Darker than the ocean, darker than the sea
Darker than the bee-ee-ees, chasing after me me me!

(That last line seems like a definite incorrect translation from someone's older sister or something)

We did this odd holding-hands-with-arms-crossed-while-yanking-back-and-forth motion with this song:

Down by the banks of the hanky panky
Where the bull frogs jump from bank to banky
With an eeps, ipes, ohps, oops...
Leap off a lily pad and...Kerplunk!

We had a very elaborate, specific clapping sequence that went along with this one:

Great green gobs of
greasy grimy gopher guts,
mutilated monkey meat,
chopped up little birdy feet,
french fried eyeballs
swimmin' in a bowl of (something?? poo?)
Oops I forgot my spoon,
(But I gotta strawwww!)

We picked teams using this one by putting our feet in a circle and the lead person goes around the circle tapping one foot for every word:

Bubble gum, bubble gum in a dish
How many pieces do you wish?
(Person who is tapped says a number)
1,2,3,4,5...and you are it/not it

also could be:
1,2,3,4,5...and my mother told me to pick the very best one
and you are it/not it
posted by dahliachewswell at 2:23 PM on May 19, 2009


for Miss Susie, who was Miss Lucy for us...

Miss Lucy had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell,
Miss Lucy went to heaven, the steamboat went to
Hello operator, please give me number nine,
And if you disconnect me, I'll kick you in the
Behind the refrigrerator, there was a piece of glass,
Miss Lucy sat upon it and hurt her little
Ask me no more questions, please tell me no more lies,
Miss Lucy's in the bathtub with 40 other guy-uy-uys!

Another variation of the make-a-design-on-the-other-person's back thing:

X marks the spot (do an x on the person's back)
dot, dot dot (poke three times on the back)
HOLE in the back, blood rushes down (hit with fist, squiggle fingers down back)
KNIFE in the back, blood rushes down (do the same)
Spiders crawling up your sleeves! (squiggle fingers up arm)
Tight squeeze (squeeze shoulders)
cool breeze (clap hands over person's head)
now you freeze (person gets a chill! I swear, this works!)
posted by printchick at 3:25 PM on May 19, 2009


Wow, I guess I'm the only one who grew up with the racist version of "Miss Suzie"? Southern Indiana, late 80s and early 90s:

Miss Suzie had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell,
Miss Suzie went to heaven, the steamboat went to-
Hello operator, give my number nine,
and if you disconnect me, I'll chop off your behind-
the 'fridgerator, their lay a piece of glass,
Miss Suzie sat upon it, and broke her little-
Ask me no more questions, I'll tell you no more lies,
the boys are in the bathroom, zipping up their-
Flies are in the meadow, the bees are in the park,
Miss Suzie and her boyfriend are kissing in the
D-A-R-K, D-A-R-K, D-A-R-K, dark dark dark!
Darker than the ocean, darker than the sea,
darker than the black boy, kissing Miss Suzie!

I remember having a sense that the last line was wrong in a way that the rest of it wasn't, that it went a little bit past the deliciously naughty tingle you got from almost saying dirty words. A lot of the time the last little bit got left off completely, and we just stopped with "dark, dark, dark!" I did know one girl who used to say "nigger boy" instead of "black boy," but that was frowned upon by the other kids.

I've also discovered that our version of "Fudge, fudge, call the judge" was a little edgier than some. A friend of mine from Michigan learned it as:

Fudge, Fudge, call the judge!
Mama's having a baby!
Wrap it up in tissue paper,
send it down the elevator,
One, two, three, four...
(This last part is where you count how many times the girl in the middle can jump the rope without tripping, and can go on basically forever)

That version has a sense of a baby being born in the hospital, where it's bundled up in sterile material and taken off to some distant part of the building. Which is interesting, and seems to date the rhyme as a more modern creation, or a modern take on an older rhyme. However, the version I learned seemed to be describing an illicit abortion, undertaken by the young girl jumping rope:

Fudge, Fudge, call the judge!
[Name of the girl in the middle]'s having a baby!
Wrap it up in toilet paper,
toss it down the elevator,
One, two, three, four...
posted by bookish at 5:07 PM on May 19, 2009


My mother is a baker, a baker, a baker
My mother is a baker and this is how it goes
Yum Yum! ...


THIS IS IT. This is the "family" one I mentioned earlier but couldn't remember. I'm so glad someone brought it up!
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 7:11 PM on May 19, 2009


West Michigan, 1960s

Not last night but the night before
24 robbers came-a knockin at my door.
As I went out,
they came in,
and this is the song they began to sing:
Spanish dancers, turn around
Spanish dancers, touch the ground.
Spanish dancers, do the [twist? I'm a little uncertain on this word...].
Spanish dancers, give a high kick! [each action is done as it's chanted.]
Spanish dancers, 1,2,3,4, etc. [while the rope twirlers go fast fast fast!]
posted by sparrowdance at 7:14 PM on May 19, 2009


also, variation on Mary Mack, learned from a tape by Ella Jenkins, probably recorded in the 1970s

Mary Mack
dressed in black
buttons all up and down her back!
Hi-O! Hi-O! Hi-O o, hi-uh-ii-o!
Give me a nickel!
Give me a dime!
Be my honey baby all the time!
Hi-O, etc.
posted by sparrowdance at 7:20 PM on May 19, 2009


Wow. No one's reported any variant on Had A Little Car?

I had a little car in 19-(insert current year, not so good for this century obviously)
I took it around the cor...NER!!
And all of a sudden I PUT ON THE BRAKES.
Policeman caught me and put me in jail,
All I had was ginger ale.
How many bottles did I drink? (10, 20, 30, 40...)

For counting off we used:

Engine, Engine, Number 9
Going down Chicago line
If the train goes off the track,
Do you want your money back?
Y-E-S spells yes (or N-O spells no) and you are (or you are not) going to be it!

Also, the following weird clapping song. One verse sounds traditional, the other one less so, but both seem very unlikely for Montreal., don't they:

I'm a bowlegged chicken and an ugly hen
Been so happy since I don't know when
I laughed and I giggled and I giggled and I laughed
Down in a Tennessee...WIGWAM!

I'm a sexy girl with nothing to do
I shot my father with a 202
I laughed and I giggled and I giggled and I laughed
Down in a Tennessee...WIGWAM!
posted by tangerine at 8:25 PM on May 19, 2009


I'm from Los Angeles, and I would say these are from my experiences in elementary school around 1990-1994ish.

Down by the banks of the hanky-panky
Where the bullfrogs jump from bank to banky
With an eeps, opps, opes, oops
Ker-smack-a-doodle and I've got you.


Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack
All dressed in black, black, black
With silver buttons, buttons, buttons
All down her back, back, back
I asked my mother, mother, mother
For 50 cents, cents, cents
To see the elephants, elephants, elephants
Jump over the fence, fence, fence
They jumped so high, high, high
They touched the sky, sky, sky
And they didn't come back, back, back
Til the 4th of July, July, July.


We also had the "Concentrate!" one that simulacra mentioned earlier (which I haven't thought about in a long time, but creeps me out entirely to think about now. The "concentrate on what I'm saying" part was very much like a song although the rest was spoken, like "concentrate on what I'm saaaaaaying".

Also the "X marks the spot" weird back rub thing. "Knife in your back! Blood rushing down" ... what the hell is wrong with kids??!?
posted by so_gracefully at 10:14 PM on May 19, 2009


Hah... I read through a ton of these and haven't found one that is exactly like the version I knew, but some are extremely close:
Miss Lucy had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell (ding ding)
Miss Lucy went to heaven, the steamboat went to...
Hell-o Operator, please give me Number Nine
And if you disconnect me, I will chop off your...
Be-hind the 'frigerator, there was a piece of glass
Miss Lucy sat upon it and it went right up her...
Ask me no more questions, please tell me no more lies
The boys are in the bathroom, zipping up their...
Flies are in the meadow, bees are in the park
Miss Lucy and her boyfriend are kissing in the d-a-r-k, d-a-r-k, d-a-r-k, dark dark dark!
The dark is like a movie, a movie's like a show
A show is on TV, and that is all I know!
I know I know my mother, I know I know my pa
I know I know my sister with the 18-hour, 18-hour, 18-hour bra bra bra!
Also be sure to check out The Sneeze's Global Schoolyard Rhyme project. Hilarious!
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 11:02 PM on May 19, 2009


tangerine, I'm pretty sure the second verse of your unlikely rhyme is from outer space, but the first one sounded familiar. I googled "bowlegged chicken" and found this. I think as a kid I knew the first verse, but ending with "Tennessee bird walk."
posted by clavicle at 1:29 PM on May 20, 2009


Response by poster: Thanks very much everyone! I won't mark a 'best' answer as this would be a wall of best answers, because I found them all useful. I hope it was as fun for you as it was for me!
posted by librarylis at 10:30 PM on May 21, 2009


Hey, wait. A few more, in hopes of getting these out of my brain--reading through this fascinating thread woke 'em from their longtime slumber. Some of the clapping/count-off/jump rope chants I remember:

Ice cream soda!
Delaware punch!
Give me the name of your honeybunch!
Capital A!, B!, C!, D!, E!, F!, G!... (whichever letter you'd trip the rope on would indicate the first name of a nearby boy you secretly liked)


Engine Engine Number 9
Going down Chicago line
If the train veers off the tracks,
Do you want your money back?
Yes / No / Maybe So
(counting off, kinda) My. mother. told. me. to. pick. the. very. best. one.
And. you. are. [not.] going. to. be. it. for. the. rest. of. your. LIFE!


Then, we also did the oldie-but-goodie:

Eenie, meany, miney, moe,
Catch a tiger by the toe,
If he hollers, let 'im go (OR: if he hollers, make 'im pay / 50 dollars everyday)
My. mother. told. me. to. pick. the. very. best. one.
And. you. are. [not.] going. to. be. it. for. the. rest. of. your. LIFE! (and then you'd better RUN or you'd get tagged again.)


Not last night but the night before,
24 robbers came knocking at my door
As I ran out, they ran in
Bopped me on the head with a rolling pin
Doctor! Doctor! I'm so sick!
Call the doctor quick-quick-quick!
Doctor, Doctor, will I die?
"Count to 5, and you'll be alive."
[counting off] 1, 2, 3, 4, 5...
I'm ALIVE!


Down by the banks of the hanky panky
Where the bullfrogs jump from bank to bank (my memory is that we left off the '-y')
They go eeps, ops, soda pops!
Then one jumped a lily[pad?] and he went ker-PLOP!
(This one had the sideways prayer-palm clapping style where you'd swipe your hands across your partner's, later slapping one of your thighs and snapping one hand's fingers as part of the clap rhythm.)


Miss Susie had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell,
Miss Susie went to heaven, the steamboat went to
HELLo operator, please give me number 9,
And if you disconnect me, I'll kick you in your
BeHIND the 'fridgerator, there was a piece of glass;
Miss Susie sat upon it and broke her little
ASk me no more questions, please tell me no more lies;
The boys are in the bathroom zipping up their
FLIES are in the kitchen, the bees are in the park;
Miss Susie and her boyfriend are kissing in the d-a-r-k, d-a-r-k,
DARK! DARK! DARK! (I think we ended it there; the other verses don't sound familiar.)


Similar to the racist clapping game/"patty cake" LN mentioned above, the one I knew was hugely racist, with seriously regrettable corresponding hand movements at the end:

I went to a Chinese restaurant
To buy a loaf of bread, bread, bread
The man wrapped it up in Chinese silk,
And this is what he said, said, said:
My name is L-i, L-i
Chickle-eye, chickle-eye,
Pom-pom beauty,
don't like whiskey (clapping stops here to do hand movements!)
Chinese! (index fingers pull outside corner of eyelids upwards)
Japanese! (index fingers pull outside corner of eyelids downwards)
Indian CHIEF! (3 fingers symbolizing feathers held atop the back of your head)

...That one I learned at a Montessori whose small classes were much more racially/ethnically diverse than any school I've attended since. As a little kid, I remember feeling weird about the 'Chinese!' 'Japanese!' movements, worrying it was in some way offensive to my friends of Asian descent who were playing along, but not feeling any concern about the song itself--it was pretty nonsensical to me. And it wasn't until later on that I came to understand what was wrong with the 'Indian CHIEF!' part; in these early grades, we happily played 'Cowboys and Indians' alongside 'Cops and Robbers' with no comprehension about the bigoted parallels between the two similar game structures.


RE some of the other chants people have pitched in to the mix...

We linked pinkies, swinging our arms between each other, singing, "Say, Say, Oh, Playmate", too, but without the enemy verse noted above.

We sang the "Shimmy Shimmy Cocoa-Puff" one, but I don't remember it all that well.

I keep thinking of the "Glory Glory Hallelujah" song where the teacher hit you with a ruler, then you drove her up to the attic with a semi-automatic. "Now my teacher don't teach no more!" ...When did we sing this? It wasn't a jump rope chant. Did kids just sing for each other? Weird.

There was one about buttons, I think... can't quite recall it.
There was one about root beer, cola, sassifrass or something???

We did the "X marks the spot / Circle and a dot / Spider crawling up your back / Bites you on the neck / Spider crawling down your back / Bites you on the back / Crack an egg on your head / Watch the yolk seep down (x2) / Tight squeeze / Cool breeze / Now you've got the shiver-ies!!" thing, too.

Also,

Little fly upon the wall
Ain't you got no clothes at all?
Ain't you got no BVDs?
Ain't you 'fraid you gonna freeze?
I love you,
God loves you,
Wanna see God?
(Smack your hand down hard on a nearby surface as if to squish the fly, making your friends jump.)


As an aside, my grandmother (who was full of sayings like "XYZ PDQ") used to do a little rhyme when she was feeling overwhelmed by the raucous noise her grandchildren were effortlessly able to create given a moment's notice; it was obviously designed to shut us up, and it worked every time. I'm curious if anyone else has heard this one or a variation on it:

Quaker meeting has begun
No more laughing, no more fun
If you show your teeth or tongue,
You will have to pay a forfeit
[Starting... ... ... NOW!] (silent face-making ensues; grandmother goes about her business)

Wowza, all the memories! I learned all these rhymes circa the mid '80s in various areas of central/southern CA.
posted by blisskite triplicate at 12:52 AM on May 22, 2009


blisskite triplicate, that reminds me of a rhyme my grammie used to use whenever her kids would whine and complain, and my Mom used to use it on us:

I got a toothache, an earache, a bellyache
A pain in my left side,
A pimple on my nose!
posted by LN at 10:35 AM on May 22, 2009


Cinderella dressed in yella
Went upstairs to kiss her fella
Made a mistake
And she kissed a snake
How many doctors did it take...
[counting]

Miss Lucy had a steamboat
The steamboat had a bell
Miss Lucy went to heaven
The steamboat went to
Hell-o operator
Get me number nine
And if you disconnect me
I'll kick you from
Behind a 'frigerator
there was a piece of glass
Miss Lucy sat upon it
and cut her big fat
Ask me no more questions
Tell me no more lies
The boys are in the bathroom
Opening their
Flies are in the kitchen
Bees are in the shed
And little boys and little girls
Are making love [or sound asleep] in bed.

Teddy bear teddy bear
turn around
Teddy bear teddy bear
touch the ground
Teddy bear teddy bear
climb upstairs
Teddy bear teddy bear
say your prayers.
posted by MsMolly at 5:44 PM on May 24, 2009


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