My husband has taught le Petit to sing Céline Dion. Now during bath time he belts out "All By Myself" with all his heart and soul. He does it in perfect imitation of my husband, off-tune, with a heavy French accent and a few extra syllables missing in the original recording. It sounds something like "All-eh by my self-eh, don-tuh wanna be, all-eh by my-SEEEEELLLLLF!"
I don't know whether either or both of them exaggerate the accent for effect, but the result is loud, passionate cacophony. I pointed out that it makes me want very much to be all by myself for a change.
"He was singing all day long today," the nanny reported, amused, when I came home from on Monday. "But not a kid's song. A chanson des grands."
"It must've been Céline Dion, no? 'All by myself...? His dad taught him that."
"No it was... I think it was Bob Marley."
Sure enough, le Petit also sings Bob Marley's Get Up, Stand Up. I started singing it to him when he was six months old and in the jack-in-the-box phase of pulling up to his feet in our laps whenever we'd hold his hands. Now I chuckle when I hear my gloriously headstrong, "no"-obsessed two-year-old singing "Stand up for your rights." It certainly wasn't meant to be an anthem to toddler angst, but it almost works.
Le Petit absorbs songs, stories and even randomly overheard phrases like a sponge right now. He listens to our singing and storytelling until he knows the words by heart, then repeats it all back much later according to his own logic and inspiration. He can repeat his favorite stories practically word for word without even looking at the pages. He hears sirens and sings "Au feu les pompiers." He sees a boat and sings "Maman les petits bateaux."
I'm often startled by the connections he makes. On Monday night, I called him to the table and put him in his high chair. "'Come and get it!' cries the cook at noon," he recited from Cowboy Small, a book we hadn't read together for a couple of weeks.
The two-year-old mind is a fascinating, beautiful thing.