Friday, June 29, 2012

Sharing our Canadian Childhood Experiences

I overheard my husband doing a little French action rhyme with our son the other day. It was a song from his childhood.

Although we were both kids of the '80s, we didn't have entirely the same cultural experience as kids.

For example, growing up part of English Canada, my TV hero was Mr. Dressup, while my French-Canadian hubs had never heard of him (I know, right?! I can't believe it either). He, like his peers, was into the children's show Passe-Partout, which I'd never heard of until my late 20s. As far as I can tell, Passe-Partout was a Quebecois kid's show with creepy puppets that do skits and sing songs.

(Aside: Alright, I guess you might say Mr. Dressup's Casey and Finnegan were somewhat of 'creepy puppets' as well... what with their black soulless eyes, and Casey's talking-but-not-moving mouth and Finnegan's moving-but-not-talking mouth. But these guys were worse.)

So where was I?

So I overhear my husband singing a Passe-Partout rhyme with sonny, which talks of the parts of the body: "I have two eyes... two ears...two shoulders..." etc. Cute song.

Then I really pay attention to the lyrics.

OK, maybe it would be the equivalent of "buns" in English, but that's still a hilarious idea.

Ah, the richness a child gets when parents bring their varied backgrounds, including the songs and stories they grew up with, to the parenting table. It's a learning experience for us, too. I get to see what delights I've missed out on.

Wishing you all a Happy Canada Day-- whoever your childhood Canadian 'heroes' might be!


  1. Since I grew up in bilingual New Brunswick, in a French but bilingual family, I had both Mr. Dressup (I'm old enough to remember when that was called "Butternut Square") and Bobino & Bobinette and La Boîte à Surprises. Passe Partout was my daughter's generation and she told me about this blog. I love it.

    1. Thanks a lot! Nice to hear of the experiences of a fellow Maritimer. My dad grew up in Quebec and used to watch Bobino and Bobinette. Another classic, apparently!

    2. Bobino was a real person, a cane-carrying adult dressed in a patched suit, gloves and bowler hat. His sister Bobinette was a blonde braid-wearing girl puppet who was more expressive than Casey although her mouth didn't move either. She was always trying to play tricks on him but the show usually contained a moral or some lesson or other. There were several unseen characters: Camério, the camera man, who was asked questions and responded by moving the camera up and down or side to side; Télécino, who showed us cartoons and Tapageur, the sound effects person. The vocabulary was quite sophisticated for a children's show as was the vocab of all the French children's shows at the time. It was on the air for 28 years, from 1957 to 1985.

  2. I totally grew up on Passe-Partout and I plan on doing this exact song! (still waiting for him/her to show up)

    My mom bought me and my sister DVDs of Passe-Partout when it came out, (For when we have kids.. of course.....) and once in a while I watch it as an adult. It is a bit creepy, when you analyse it. ;)