'Ode to Sleep Deprived Parents' strikes chord with moms and dads


Attention exhausted moms and dads everywhere. Have you been chasing after a little one who just won’t quit? Are you secretly dozing off at work after another draining night? Do you feel the need to child-proof every square inch around you?

Don’t fret. Here is your chance for comic relief.

We dare you not to giggle when you hear “Ode to Sleep Deprived Parents and Terrorizing Toddlers,” performed with somber gravitas by more than 200 members of the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and set to the music of “O Fortuna,” the intense opening movement of “Carmina Burana.”

You’ll instantly recognize the choral piece even if you’re not a fan of classical music – the composition by Carl Orff is a fixture in movie trailers, soundtracks and late night comedy sketches. It’s even been featured on “Dancing With the Stars.”

The new version comes courtesy of Matthew Hodge, the winner of the Sydney Symphony’s “Say it with Carmina” contest, which invited the public to submit new lyrics that would fit the music. The entries ranged from odes to the new pope to tributes to cats.

But it was Hodge’s libretto -- full of lines such as “Why won't you sleep?/Is it your teeth?” and “Put my phone down/Where are your pants?” – that received the most Facebook likes, e-mails, messages, phone calls and texts, the symphony announced.

Hodge, a father of three in Sydney, Australia, said there are elements of all of his kids in the lyrics, but he was especially inspired by his youngest, a 1-year-old boy who has started walking, climbing and exploring everything in sight. Hodge’s wife Rachel recently spent a “night of limited sleep and a day of rampant destruction” with the toddler, he wrote when introducing his winning entry.

“(She) recognized many of the phrases instantly and given that our son threw her phone into the toilet two days later, they seemed very appropriate,” Hodge told TODAY Moms.

“I put the lyrics together one lunchtime when I heard about the contest. The original lyrics refer to a relentless wheel of fate crushing the poet, and Carl Orff's music reflects that, with its short, sharp phrases and its repeating melodies. Somehow, the idea popped into my head that we speak to our children in ‘short, sharp phrases’ as well when we're telling them off.”

The winning entry was sung by the same choir that would later perform the real “Carmina Burana” at the Sydney Symphony, though the new version was not staged in front of an audience. It took just two takes to get it right, said Yvonne Zammit, a spokeswoman for the Sydney Symphony.

The resulting video was posted on YouTube late last month and has received more than 100,000 views, one of the most-watched clips the symphony has ever produced, Zammit said.

“I think people can relate. I know that it resonated with parents everywhere and people were just sharing it and they found it amusing,” she said.

Hodge agreed.

“Parenting, while it's highly rewarding, is also a job that involves many frustrations and we constantly find ourselves barking orders to these little people that just won't listen,” he said. “So I think many parents have found themselves saying very similar things to their children.”

But back to the video for a moment and a perplexing question: how did the singers manage to keep their faces so straight when singing lyrics such asDon't throw those blocks/What is that smell?”

“They’re professionals,” Zammit said.

Meanwhile, Hodge hopes to show the video to his son when he is older. He’d love to break it out at his 21st birthday, he said.