The Unspoken Reality of Nursery Rhymes 


One of my favorite activities as a daddy is Saturday mornings with my daughters. It is my job to wake up with the girls on the weekends, which is spent reading books, coloring at the dinner table, putting together puzzles, cuddling on the couch, playing with toys on the floor, and their latest obsession: singing and dancing to nursery rhymes. The ones we often watch are ones performed by and sung by people who have learned English as a second language, sung by talking animals, or adults wearing costumes meant for children.

I remember singing and dancing to the same songs, but now as an adult, the reality of these songs have left an unsettling feeling in my parental gut. The following ten thoughts came to me as I listened to the following songs for the 5,894,333 (a rough estimate) time.

Disclaimer: If your childhood is ruined or funny bone tickled, you’re welcome. 🙂

  1. If the old man who bumped his head, fell asleep, wouldn’t it make more sense to call a doctor than ridicule the man? If I bumped my head after going to bed and “couldn’t get up until morning,” I would hope my family calls 911.
  2. Why did the children mock Mary for bringing her pet lamb to school? Was the lamb eating their homework? Did it interrupt the teacher during the lesson? I highly doubt it was against the rules, but come on, sheep are smelly creatures.
  3. Why is so important to know the Muffin Man? Bad reviews on Yelp? Shady business practices? Delicious muffins?  Or could it be that the entire song is one big marketing campaign for a failing business on Druy Lane?
  4. Who is the “fair lady” in London Bridges? The Queen? The wife of the foreman who needs an explanation for his long hours? Furthermore, are bad materials causing constant accidents or bad workers on the project?
  5. Kittens crying for losing their mittens and their mother withholding pie makes sense. Kittens crying for soiling their mittens because of eating pie and their mother being upset with them makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is why is the mother withholding pie after they found their mittens? Also, how did kittens learn how to knit mittens or make pie? I have it on good authority both are extremely difficult tasks.
  6. Jack and Jill’s parents should have known better than to send their clumsy children to such a laborious task. Or was their klutziness a rouse so they could get out of chores?
  7. Is the bad grammar and pronunciation of apples and bananas come as a result of eating with your mouthful?
  8. I’m pretty sure that knowing that the wheels on the bus “goes round and round” is useless information unless the bus encounters a flat tire.
  9. I get it. When an egg falls from wall, the King’s men are the people you want to help repair a broken egg. However, what practical use are horses for putting Humpty Dumpty back together again? Transporting the pieces to the hospital? Transporting the King’s men? Otherwise, there is no need for them being mentioned. End of discussion.
  10. Last but not least, why does Johny Johny Yes Papa, a song promoting lying, consumption of sugar, and zero consequences to a child’s deceit exist? Last time I checked, one version of the song has over 1 billion views on YouTube.  I’ll save you the pain and share with you the one that has 281 million views.
    , c

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