Lullabies? More Like Nightmares!

I was getting the baby to sleep this week when it dawned on me that I always sing him the same three songs. Twinkle Twinkle, Jesus Loves Me, and a song I made up just for him. Sure, I occasionally throw in the Stay Awake ala Julie Andrews from Mary Poppins, and Schlof Main Kind (a Yiddish lullaby I learned when I was very little), but when I thought of some of the songs I grew up with as a child, such as ‘Rockabye Baby’, and ‘Ring Around the Rosy’, and sang the words, I was astonished just how morbid those songs really are.

It would seem to me that after having had children previously to Richi, I would have caught on sooner to just how evil, twisted, strange and plain morbid some of these songs really are. For some reason, it just never crossed my mind. I actually got chills when I thought about the lyrics to, ‘Rockabye Baby’:

Rock-a-bye, baby
In the treetop
When the wind blows
The cradle will rock
When the bough breaks
The cradle will fall
And down will come baby
Cradle and all

Somebody, please tell me I’m not alone when you really read what these words are saying. I have so many questions.

First of all, please somebody tell me why this poor baby would be in a tree. Nevermind in a tree, but at the very top of one. And why is the cradle in the tree also? And…why would you want to sing about a baby falling from a tree?? What genius came up with this garbage?

Why would you tell the tale of a baby falling from the top of the tree in their cradle in a lullaby?? And just what is the outcome of the poor child’s fall, hmm? One is left to wonder, but rightfully assume, that the poor child has met their untimely demise. This gives me chills. This is in no way, shape, or form a song meant to inflict sweet dreams. This is the stuff nightmares are made of.

That song will never be sung to my tiny guy. I feel so bad for ever having sung this song to my other children. Ugh.

Next on the list of songs not to be sung to small children is Ring Around the Rosie and .

Have you any idea what this song is about?

The lyrics sing:

Ring-a-round the rosie,
A pocket full of posies,
Ashes! Ashes!
We all fall down!

This song is about the Black Plague which occurred in Europe in the 1300’s. Apparently, those who had the illness developed red rings around their eyes (hence, ring around the Rosie). The pockets full of posies, or pockets full of flowers, were quite literally kept to keep the disease away, as rumor had it that this worked to keep the Black Death away and at bay. The next line, ashes, ashes refers to the bodies which were burned from all of those who died from the Plague, ties in nicely with the last line of, ‘We all fall down’, as it ultimately means, we all die. The Black Plague was said to have killed 60% of Europe’s population. How’s that for a history lesson?

Then there’s the nursery rhyme, ‘Mary Mary Quite Contrary’.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockleshells
And pretty maids all in a row.
Okay, so this isn’t about gardening in a girl named Mary’s garden at all, as I once previously believed. This nursery rhyme is actually about Queen Mary I (“Bloody Mary”) and she was strong in the Catholic faith. She was also insane and a murderer. Nonetheless, she was known for slaughtering thousands of Protestant believers and ‘planting them in her garden’ which translates to burying them in a graveyard, and silver bells and cockleshells are actually torture devices – not beautiful flowers or gardening tools as we all once believed. Scary.

Feel confident about singing this stuff to your children anymore? Yeah, me neither.

For now, I’m going to stick with Twinkle Twinkle and Jesus Loves Me, thanks.

 

 

 

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