The Jeelie Piece Song (Skyscraper Wean)

With Burns Night coming up on the 25th of January I thought I’d give this week’s posts a Scottish theme. Today, I’d like to share with you a favourite song that I often sing with Babybear (well, I sing and she claps appreciatively!) . I find singing a wee tune to be a great activity when her dinner is just out of the oven or off the hob and I’m trying to distract a hungry BabyBear!

The Jeelie Piece Song (originally by folk performer Adam McNaughton) is a real childhood favourite of mine, which I loved to watch being performed on my ‘Singing Kettle’ (Scottish children’s performance group – www.singingkettle.com) video over and over again. It tells the tale of ‘weans from castlemilk’ who are missing out on their dinner because their ‘pieces’ are ‘skyting oot the winda’ of twenty story flats – that is, for those not versed in Scots, the children from a housing scheme in the south of Glasgow are missing out on their lunch as their sandwiches are being thrown of windows of twenty story flats, to them playing below.

Have a listen to The Singing Kettle’s performance, so you know the tune, and below are the words so you can sing along! Can you figure out what it all means?!

The Jeelie Piece Song (Skyscraper Wean)

I'm a skyscraper wean, I live on the nineteenth flair,
But I'm no gaun oot to play ony mair,
Since we moved to Castlemilk, I'm wasting away,
'Cause I'm getting one less meal every day.

O ye cannae fling pieces oot a twenty-story flat,
Seven-hundred hungry weans will testify to that,
If it's butter, cheese or jeely, if the breid is plain or pan,
The odds against it reaching earth and ninety-nine to one.

On the first day my maw flung out a piece o' Hovis brown.
It came skyting oot the winda and went up insteid o' doon,
But every twenty-seven hours it comes back into sight,
'Cause my piece went into orbit and became a satellite.

One the second day my maw flung me a piece oot once again.
It went and hit the pilot in a fast, low-flying plane.
He scraped it off his goggles, shouting through the intercom:
`The Clydeside Reds have got me wi' a breid-and-jeely bomb!'

One the third day my maw thought she would try another throw.
The Salvation Army band was staunin' doon below.
`ONWARD, CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS' was the piece they should have played,
But the oompah-man was playing a piece-on-marmalade.

We've wrote away tae Oxfam to try and get some aid,
And a' the weans in Castlemilk have formed a ``Piece'' brigade;
We're going to march to George's Square, demanding civil rights,
Like `Nae Mair Hooses Over Piece-Flinging Height!'

Why not have a think back to your childhood and share with your baby one of your favourite songs or rhymes. Babies and young toddlers love the rhyme and rhythm, it will build their vocabulary and listening skills and most of all singing with your baby is a great fun, interactive activity.

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I ‘heart’ Libraries!

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One of my favourite activities with my daughter, aka Babybear, is a trip to our local library, she gets so excited when we near the library door so I know she loves it too! Libraries have so much to offer babies and toddlers and regular trips to the library is a great habit to get into when they are young. Here are my top reasons to love your local library:

Rhyme time – Many libraries offer free sessions (like ‘bounce and rhyme’ and ‘Bookbug’) for babies, toddlers and their carers. It’s a great opportunity to learn some new songs and rhymes to sing with your little one at home but also to spend some time focused on and engaging with them. This benefits the literacy development of even the youngest tots and can be a great opportunity for you to meet other parents in your local area.

Lead by example – Toddlers love to copy, only today Babybear was busy cleaning her highchair while I got her lunch ready! So, if your little one sees you borrowing and enjoying library books they will want to do the same so they can be just like mum/dad/granny/grandpa!

A space away from home – Libraries are especially wonderful on those freezing winter days or when it’s bucketing with rain, they give you a child friendly space to get out of the house. The children’s sections in libraries will usually have little chairs and tables toddlers can sit at to look at books or draw/colour in.

Did I mention the books? Of course, the best part of the library is all the wonderful books you can borrow! Babybear loves to leaf through the baby/toddler books and pick out ones that catch her eye. Its never too early to read with babies and show them the pictures in books; it can help them understand the rhythm of language and begin to build their vocabulary. With a mass of choice of children’s books to borrow, all for free, there is nothing to stop your little one being a baby that loves books!

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