Sunday, August 16, 2009

Move Over Mother Goose

With my son starting nursery school in a few weeks, I figured now would be a good time to introduce him to the late and great Mother Goose. Fortunately for me, my mother was a giant pack rat and stored my favorite childhood book of nursery rhymes away until I had a kid of my own to share it with. I pulled the faded black and white checkered book out of storage and began thumbing happily through the tattered pages looking for my old favorites. I'm aware that at my reasonably young age, I should have some of these memorized. But time and child rearing has done a number on my memory, so it's virtually impossible for me to remember anything past what I had for breakfast and sometimes even that's a stretch.

I found a few that I recognized and read them. When I was done, I sat quietly in shock. As a child these rhymes made me laugh and smile, but now as an adult reading them it felt a little disturbing.

When you think back to your childhood, what are the rhymes you remember? I'm sure there are many, but did you ever take the time to dissect them? Well, this Mouthy Mommy did, and here are my Top Five Disturbing Nursery Rhymes, courtesy of Mother Goose. I also have taken the liberty to break them down for you and give it my classic spin, enjoy!

#5> Rock-a-Bye Baby

Rock-a-Bye baby in the tree top
When the wind blows the cradle will rock
When the bow breaks the cradle will fall
And down will come baby, cradle and all

The Facts: This was written by a young Pilgrim woman who watched the Native Americans hoist their babies' cradles into the trees allowing the wind to lull them to sleep.

The Crazy: Was this Pilgrim suffering from some form of postpartum? Or was she simply deranged when she imagined these cradles falling out of the trees taking the babies with them?

More Crazy: Why do we continue to sing this to our tired toddlers? Are we deranged?

#4> Rub-a-Dub-Dub

Three men in a tub
And who do you think they be?
The Butcher, The Baker, and The Candlestick maker
Turn them out, knaves all three .

The Facts: Knave means a very crafty fellow. I'm not an idiot, but I had never seen this word before and thought it may need some defining.

The Crazy: While I am a HUGE advocate for gay rights, I was left wondering when it was ever socially acceptable to tell a child about three men being together in a bathhouse.

#3> Ring Around the Rosy

Ring around the rosy
Pocket full of posies
Ashes, Ashes

We all fall down!

The Facts: Ah, a lovely song about the great bubonic plague. Most of you know the basic history but I'll continue anyway. The "ring around the rosy" describes the sores one would get after contracting the plague.

Pockets full of posies were carried to mask the scent of rotting corpses.

"Ashes, Ashes" = Ashes to ashes

"We all fall down!" In a nut shell, we all drop dead.

Lovely right?

The Crazy: I can still remember spinning around with my school buddies blissfully unaware of the song meaning. Now it just seems creepy!

#2> Three Blind Mice

Three blind mice, three blind mice
See how they run, see how they run
They all ran after the farmer's wife, who cut off their tails with a carving knife
Have you ever seen such a sight in your life,
As three blind mice?

The Facts: This story actually has to do with Queen Mary of England. Better know as "Bloody Mary," she is the farmer's wife in this story and the mice were three men who wouldn't adhere to the Protestant faith. Cutting off there tails actually means chopping off their heads.

The Crazy: Hmm... So we have three physically handicapped mice trying to find their way around and one psycho woman who likes to chop up defenseless, visually impaired animals.

More Crazy: I'm wondering if this was little Ted Bundy's favorite.

#1> The Old Woman in the Shoe

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe
She had so many children she didn't know what to do.
She gave them all broth without any bread.
She whipped them all and sent them to bed.

The Facts: This is dysfunction at it's finest.

The Crazy: This rhyme leaves me to wonder if there were child advocates back when this was written. The woman lived in a shoe, which I'm sure is short for shoebox, a phrase I lovingly used to describe my first apartment. She displayed poor family planning and apparently had no way to get to the WIC office to receive her food checks. Frustrated and unable to control her rage, she takes her aggression out on the children and shuffles them off to bed for some mommy time.

More Crazy: A+ Parenting at it's finest and a great rhyme to prove to your child how good he or she has it. Unless of course, your living in a shoebox, beating and starving your kids. Then it's a good way to prove your life is normal.

Now that I've given these some perspective, I thought it would be fun to give you some new updated alternatives. Move over Mother Goose, Mouthy Mommy's come to rhyme!

Dancin' round with Swine Flu
(Played to the tune of Ring around the Rosy)

Boogies in my nosey
Coughing as I goesy
Ahchoo, Bless you
We're all sick now!

* This teaches children, in a fun way, the importance of staying away from sick people.

Three Handicapable Mice
(Played to the tune of Three Blind Mice)

Three handicapable mice, three handicapable mice
Escorted as they run, Escorted as they run
They all ran into an advocate
Who made sure they received their community bus permits
Now they all can ride to their therapy in it
Three handicapable mice

* Shows kids the importance of community out reach programs for the disabled.

Rock-a-Bye Baby
(Same tune, same name)

Rock-a-bye baby in a safe spot
When mommy is better she'll love you a lot
Daddy will hold you and grandma will stay
Till mommy's postpartum all goes away.

* A sad but true tale of the American mommy.

The Middle-Aged Woman who Lived in a House
(Played to the tune of Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe)

There was a middle-aged woman that lived in a house
She had two kids and a wealthy spouse
Everything the kids ate was organically grown
And only if they were naughty did she use a harsh tone.

* Listen they can't all be gems!

(Same name, same tune)

It's not OK to share your tub
No matter what anyone may say
If someone tries to touch your danger zone
Call 911 on the telephone
The Police will then take them away.

* Teaches children the importance of self-preservation and also how to call for help in an emergency.

I hope you've enjoyed reading these as much as I did writing them. Who knows, maybe some day our children's children will be singing them.


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