Sunday, 14 July 2013

A Zorse is a Zorse, of Course of Course!


I often like to play a memory game with Ben (otherwise known as Muddle-Headed Offspring Number One). You’ve probably played it, or a variation of it, yourself at some point, either at school or on a long car trip. The way I originally learnt it was that the person who goes first starts off by saying “I went to my grandmother’s chest and out of it I took (something starting with the letter A)”, then the next person repeats what has been said already and adds something that starts with B. If you are only playing with two people, it becomes the first person’s turn again and they repeat “I went to my grandmother’s chest and out of it I took (something that starts with the letter A), (something that starts with the letter B) and (something that starts with the letter C). If you are playing with more people, it would be the third person’s turn at that point. The game continues until everything has been taken out of grandmother’s chest-  that is, when the last person reaches Z, repeats the 25 items that have been listed beforehand and adds one final thing, starting of course, with the letter Z.

The beauty of this game is that it can be played with anywhere from two to twenty-six players (or even more if you wanted to re-commence at the beginning of the alphabet once you’ve got all the way to Z) and it requires no equipment. It’s also excellent for developing your child’s memory and concentration – and your own! Not only that, but it’s a fun way to teach your child new things. For example, rather than always listing off items that your child knows about already, after they’ve got the hang of the game, you could throw in something like this: “I went to my grandmother’s chest and out of it I took: an apple, a balloon, a cake and a dromedary”. When they ask you “what’s a dromedary?” you have the chance to teach them that it’s a one-humped camel and you know they’ll be paying attention to the answer because they’re not being lectured at since they asked the question!

To spice things up, Ben and I invent variations on this theme. These have been known to include:

inserting an adjective starting with the same letter as the noun it proceeds: I went to my grandmother’s chest and out of it I took (an angry ape, a big box, a cute cat, a delicious donut, etc)

or making the subject matter more specific, with modifications such as:

When I went to my grandmother’s house I was so ravenous I ate (an apricot, a banana, a cake, a donut, etc)

When I grow up I want to be (an actor, a baker, a chef, a dentist, etc)

When I grow up I want to travel to (Argentina, Botswana, China, Denmark, etc)

I went to the zoo and there I saw (an albatross, a baboon, a cheetah, a dingo, etc)

We were playing this ‘zoo’ version a couple of weeks ago and it was up to me to round off the game with the letter Z. As there are few words in the English language commencing with this letter and even fewer animal names, I could see him losing interest as I rattled off the previously-mentioned animals, confident that I was going to say zebra.

So I decided to add a bit of zest and zing for the occasion and said “zorse”.

“What’s a zorse?!” he demanded, eyes suddenly wide and eyebrows up around his hairline.

“It’s what you get when a daddy zebra and a mummy horse have a baby”, I answered.

“I don’t believe you!” he cried. “I’m going to look it up in the dictionary!”

Unfortunately, that wonderful word is not in the dictionary. It is a great pity, because they really are far too few Z words in the English dictionary and it really is a beautiful letter. To prove to him that a zorse does actually exist, we googled it together and not only are there many articles on zorses, there are also many photographs to prove what happens when a zebra and a mare become amorous. Why, there’s even a zorse called Zelda on facebook!

These photographs awakened his interest in hybrid offspring and so we continued to investigate what happens when a lion gets cosy with a tigress (a liger), when a tiger gets cosy with a lioness (a tigon) and when a zebra gets cozy with a donkey (a zonkey) – yah, another Z word!


He found these discoveries hilarious so we kept playing around with these words (you know, saying things to each other like “can you stop being a zonkey please?” and “a zorse is a zorse, of course of course” until we decided that, with the aid of our trusty old tiger xylophone, we would write an song for these aforementioned crossbreeds. The tune just popped into my head, but after a while I realised that it was pretty much the same tune as Squeeze’s Cool for Cats (the bits in red are the bits sung by the girls and the other parts should be sung in a male voice J) . Our adapted version repeats the melody we filmed below eight times. Apologies for the very flat yellow key ... perhaps santa's little elves are tone deaf? 








So here is our ode to hybrids – sing it loud and clear and who knows, eventually we might even help these poor fellows get their rightful place in the dictionary …

    Beeeee Yourself     

 (lyrics by Benjamin & Elizabeth Allan)






My daddy was a lion and my mummy was a tiger,
They took one look upon me and they said “We’ll call him liger!”



Heee’s a liger,
Yes heee’s a liger (x2)

The kids at school all teased me and they said that I looked funny,
So off I went a-running home a-crying to my mummy
And she said:

“Beeeee yourself, just beeeee yourself” (x2)  






My daddy was a tiger and my mummy was a lion,
They took one look upon me and they said “We’ll call him tigon!”



Heee’s a tigon,
Yes heee’s a tigon (x2)

The kids at school all teased me and they said that I looked funny,
So off I went a-running home a-crying to my mummy
And she said:

“Beeeee yourself, just beeeee yourself” (x2)   


My daddy was a zebra and my mummy was a donkey,
They took one look upon me and they said “We’ll call him zonkey!”


Heee’s a zonkey,
Yes heee’s a zonkey (x2)

The kids at school all teased me and they said that I looked funny,
So off I went a-running home a-crying to my mummy
And she said:

“Beeeee yourself, just beeeee yourself” (x2)  





My daddy was a zebra and my mummy was a horse,
They took one look upon me and they said “We’ll call him zorse!”



Heee’s a zorse,
Yes heee’s a zorse (x2)

The kids at school all teased me and they said that I looked funny,
So off I went a-running home a-crying to my mummy
And she said:

 “Beeeee yourself, just beeeee yourself” (x2)    

Yes, that's right:
 Beeeee yourself, just beeeee yourself  (x2)

Just be yourself!
                                       *******************

Yes I know it’s silly, but didn’t someone once say that we don’t stop being silly because we grow old; we grow old because we stop being silly? Or something like that.