Monday, September 12, 2011

Nursery Rhymes Creep Me Out

Ethan sang me a new song this afternoon. It's a common tune that he thinks goes a little something like this:

Flea flying mice
Flea flying mice
See how day one
See how day one
(incoherent mumbling)
(more incoherent mumbling)
(continued incoherent mumbling)
Flea flying mice

I think we all know that the real story goes more like this:

I'm kind of okay with him not knowing that those poor visually impaired rodents met with a violent end. I don't fancy myself super sensitive, so I'm sure that some of you reading this are with me on the creep-out factor of most nursery rhymes. Humpty Dumpty? Dies. Jack who went tumbling down a hill? Probably dies. And Jill may have too, for that matter.

Some of my least favorite classics:

Goosey Goosey Gander
Is an old man refusing to say his prayers one night justification for throwing him down the stairs? Seems harsh.

Rock A Bye Baby
Call me crazy, but a cradle crashing to the ground after a gust of wind is not the most comforting image to fall asleep to.

There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe
Overwhelmed by the parenting responsibilities of many, many, many small children, the woman starves and beats them.

Ladybug Ladybug Fly Away Home
Your house is on fire and your children are gone?!? *shudders*

I realize the purpose that nursery rhymes once served. I get the necessity for oral tradition and coded messages due to political persecution back in the days of yore. But these are the days of free speech, and the internet, and social media. We'll slap ratings on our TV shows and movies and censor video games, but tell the most awful, depressing tales to our young impressionable children. I'm totally guilty of reading nursery rhymes before bed, or singing lullabyes to Ethan that are less than wholesome. Chalk it up to nostalgia, but even though some of the poems give me pause, I can't really picture childhood without thinking of Mother Goose.

But today, in the car on the way home from preschool, I took a quiet stand. As much as it drives me crazy when people sing the wrong lyrics to songs, I let Ethan belt out what he probably thinks is a song about a flea circus. In all honesty, I'll go right back to reciting poems about locking people up inside of London Bridge or imprisoning wives in pumpkin shells if Ethan requests a nursery rhyme book before bed.

But today, for a brief moment during our car ride home, I preserved a little bit of his innocence.

1 comment:

Emily Q. said...

*cracking up*

You are so right! I've always thought they were ridiculous...

I like Ethan's version better, anyhow.