Like many fellow parents of little ones, I spend a large percentage of my time singing nursery rhymes.
In my younger, hipper, cooler days the soundtrack to my life may have been some 90’s R&B (Brandy and Monica, anyone?), Noughties dance music and a bit of early 21st century Brit-pop, but these days I’m more likely to be grooving to ‘Three Blind Mice’.
For me, nursery rhymes are nostalgic and the words trip off the tongue automatically after many, many years of hearing them throughout my childhood.
When trying to calm my little one, I generally accompany my nursery rhyme singing (or cat-yowling-type-noises loosely disguised as singing) with a crazed grin. Lucky child, I hear you say.
However, a few days ago, in conversation with some mum friends, the topic of nursery rhymes came up and made me think twice about the scary tales we sing to our little ones.
Seriously, let’s just take a moment to consider the nightmarish tales we tell:
The injury-filled legend of Jack and Jill does not end well.
Sing a Song of Sixpence culminates in a maid having her nose pecked off by a blackbird.
London Bridge fell down.
Doctor Foster got stuck in a puddle right up to his middle, poor fellow.
Humpty Dumpty was simply un-fixable.
Pouring rain caused an old man to bump his head, and judging on his inability to get out of bed the next day, he may well have suffered serious concussion.
Jack Sprat’s food choices were rather limited.
Little Bo Peep’s sheep are still nowhere to be found.
Little Miss Muffet was terrorised by a large spider as she was trying to eat her lunch.
Old Mother Hubbard can’t eat lunch as the cupboards are bare.
The Weasel gets popped.
A Knave stole the Queen of Heart’s tarts.
Ring a Ring O’Roses – well, frankly that’s just plain morbid.
Rock a bye baby falls out of a tree, cradle and all.
Solomon Grundy only lived for a week.
The old woman living in a shoe arguably had quite a tough life with so many children to care for.
On the plus side….
Baa baa black sheep made plenty of wool and shared it out equally.
Old Macdonald’s animals are happily making a variety of noises and
Incey Wincey spider to this day continues to try to get to the top of that Everest-like spout. Sustained by the curds and whey consumed after scaring Little Miss Muffet away, obviously.