Tag Archives: innocence

Zapatito blanco, zapatito azul. Dime cauntos anos tienes tu: Children’s folklore/game/counting-out-rhyme

Text: “Zapatito blanco, zapatito azul. Dime cuántos años tienes tú.” “Little white shoe, little blue shoe. Tell me how many years are you.” 

Context: EC’s relationship to this piece stems from her Mexican culture influenced by her childhood specifically within elementary school. Given that she attended a predominantly hispanic elementary school in Whittier California, EC would often hear this children’s folklore/game/counting-out-rhyme within her classmates ranging from kindergarten through third grade as they spoke Spanish. They would typically say the phrase and touch everyone’s shoe according to every syllable of the phrase as they were getting ready to play a game and the goal was to determine who was “it”; similarly to “bubble gum bubble gum in a dish, how many pieces to do wish?”. EC interprets this speech as a fun way to determine who was ‘it” when playing hide-and-seek or tag. She explains that this phrase takes her back to her childhood where playing with friends at recess showcased innocence. She interprets this phrase as a sweet, youthful, random, and nice sounding statement used to get the game started. 

Analysis: The cultural value that I see present within this children’s folklore/game/counting-out-rhyme relates to the customs of childhood within society. Despite the fact that this phrase has cultural value within the Mexican/Hispanic community, it ultimately revolves around the culture of childhood considering that it is a shared experience among many elementary aged children due to the variations in both English and Spanish. Given the fact that even though I am Mexican myself and have never heard this phrase being said at school, I often heard the English bubblegum version. Overall, I see this children’s game as a pure indicator of childhood innocence as it is a silly pre-game ritual used to determine the start of a game whether playing tag or hide-and-seek. I interpret this children’s folklore/game/counting-out-rhyme as a creative standpoint considering it has similar rhyming components and various alomotifs that connect to the English version that I grew up playing.

A Romantic Knock Knock Joke

My informant here recounts a knock knock joke which was spontaneously told to her by an adolescent:

So I was babysitting this kid, and he started telling me this knock knock joke: he was like “knock knock” and I was like “who’s there?” and he was like “window!” and I was like “window who?” and he was like “window to your heart,” and I was like “wow kid that’s really deep.”

Although my informant said she felt as much amusement as genuine gratitude in return for this knock knock joke, she mentioned how “awesome” it was since it had come from a child. Indeed, the propensity of the cheesiest lines to touch us when recited by children can only be due to their pure child-like honesty. In fact, It was this selfsame pure benevolence, which comes through this knock knock joke, and so touched my informant.