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Am I reciting the right words to “Patty-Cake”?
Q: I saw your instructions on how to play “Patty-Cake” with a baby. I’m confused because the words you listed don’t match my memory of the words my mother used with me. I remember: "Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man, bake me a cake as fast as you can. Roll it and pat it and mark it with "B” and put it in the oven for baby and me.” My son is 3 months old. Does it matter if I sing him the words I remember instead of your words?
Jennifer Tulsa
A: It doesn’t matter one bit, Jennifer. I thought I mentioned in the earlier answer that the words and actions are different in different parts of the country. Who knows? I may have made up the verse that goes “Roll ’em over, roll ’em over, throw ’em in the pan.”

I have to say, in defense of my version, that it is very popular with babies and that they love to copy (and later display on their own) the gestures that go with “roll ’em over.” They go mad with glee when they get to throw their arms up in the air and “throw them in the pan.” Though why that should be the correct gesture for throwing something in a pan is beyond me; obviously I inherited it from somebody else! Seriously, what matters is that you are playing a delightful game with your son—a game that has a distinct rhythm, uses gestures to accompany certain words and allows imitation as the baby “learns” the words and gestures and gets with the rhythm! And that it is a treasured experience for both of you.

Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell Ph.D. Professor of Pediatrics in Child Development and Education