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July 15, 2024

Unfit Mother Goose

By Alexandra Queen

Editor's note: I was rummaging around in the Archives and came across this little gem. After 13 years in the basement, I thought it should see the light of day again.

As a new mother, I have spent the past year discovering the joys and challenges of parenthood. One of the more difficult aspects of parenting has been spending fourteen+ hours a day with a person who can't talk. It hasn't been a bad thing, it's just taken some getting used to.

The first few weeks of being a new parent went something like this:

Me: "So, Lill, what do you think about Vick's performance with the Falcons this year?"
Me: "Uh. How about this -- would you rather go through life being like Winnie the Pooh or like his friend Rabbit?"
Me: "Hm. Blink once if you know who Winnie the Pooh is."
Me: "Okay, blink once if you know who I am."

She is a year old now and although the only things she says reliably are the names of the cats (demonstrating a deep rooted set of priorities that I find disturbing and the cats find appropriate) we are, nonetheless, able to communicate surprisingly well without words. However, that has still left me with twelve months of adjusting to one-sided conversations with someone who liked the sound of my voice and had absolutely no concept of what I was talking about. This, I have decided, has been Nature's way of protecting human young from psychological damage. It had been decades since I had read Mother Goose. Unable to remember the exact words of nursery rhymes, I was left trying to come up with something to entertain my daughter, and what came out has been like something like a Rorshach Test. One which I think I failed.

The songs started out simple enough, with innocent words being put to tunes I couldn't get out of my head. Comedian Heywood Banks's catchy song "Wiper Blades" came in handy when modified for poopy diapers.

Playing with my ball or with my blocks
Suddenly my sphincter just unlocks
The smell's so bad that off my feet it knocks
I think it's time I had a diaper change!

Sadly, though, it didn't stop there. I caught my husband, ever the student of military history, using nursery rhymes as a commentary on the atrocities committed in the early years of our nation's history.

One little, two little, three little indians.
Four little, five little, six little indians.
Seven little, eight little, nine little indians,
Ten little indian braves.


One little, two little, three little indians.
Four little, five little, six little indians.
Seven little, eight little, nine little indians,
Nine little indian braves.


One little, two little
Two little indians,
Being shuffled off to a reservation ...

A discussion on warlords in third-world countries and their relation to organized crime and the Mafia in our own nation yielded the following disturbing trinket I can only hope our daughter will not remember.

Mary had a little lamb
With fleece as white as snow
And everywhere that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go

It followed her to school one day
That was against the rules
So they shot it in the head at lunch
And dumped it in the pool

Politics are one of my husband's very favorite topics. It's not enough that the rest of the family has to suffer through these discussions when we are all together, but they inevitably work their way down to family play time with the baby. She learned how to play patticake to this one.

Jack and Jill went down the hill
To fetch a pail of water
Jack fell down and broke his crown
And Jill said "Sue -- you oughter"

So up Jack got and home did trot
To find himself a lawyer
The taxpayers got the bill and Jack got six mill
And was able to retire

Now the well near where Jack fell
Is no longer open for public usage
But what can you do when everyone sues
And commits legal system abusage?

I was a little surprised to find myself singing the following song, given that the issue should be dead. But the recent biography on Clinton (wherein he was portrayed as being self-sacrificing for committing perjury and lying through his teeth because he was "protecting his wife" -- where was that self sacrifice when he had the option of keeping it in his pants?) brought the issue back to simmer in the subconscious and erupt at inopportune times.

The itsy bitsy intern played with the trouser trout
Around came reporters and flushed the story out
The politician denied it to a public with no brain
And as soon as they weren't looking got himself an intern again.

And then of course there are the instances in which the baby is just collateral damage. These are perhaps the most heinous, because my daughter thought I was paying attention to her, when in reality I was just trying to get her very pro-military daddy stirred up.

Go, go, go to war
Quickly overseas
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Blow things up to enforce peace

Mother Nature has done her job. As Lillian is getting old enough to comprehend words and try to mimic them back, I've had time to get more rest and do my homework. We sing the songs properly now. Mommy and Daddy may be warped, but she still has a fighting chance. Now, if only we could stop singing them to each other after she goes to bed.

Originally appeared 2003-06-16

Article © Alexandra Queen. All rights reserved.
Published on 2016-06-13
Image(s) are public domain.
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