5.17.2013

Nursery Crimes


As (approximately) one-half of the parental unit responsible for the care of a toddler, I hear a lot of songs for kids...over and over and over again. Most of them are pretty stupid, almost as stupid as listening to the adult radio most of the time. However, there seem to be a special class of nursery rhymes that were written by a psychotic kid-hating individual to sound really nice until you actually listened to them.

I can't imagine why anyone would sing these songs to their innocentish little rugrats (and not be reported for child abuse). There are 5 that I can immediately think of off the top of my head that aren't only not very cute, they're pretty horrifying in some cases.

People may have whatever to say about my...distinct...parenting style, but at least I don't sing this sick shit to my own child. Let's start with...



"Jack and Jill" who, in this old yarn, went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. Jack then fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after. Even before I had kids, I was always curious about what exactly made two children running a simple errand and getting a concussion and an involuntary trip down a steep incline for their troubles a good message for children, but then again I have a different perspective on life.

"Ring Around the Rosie" is another excellent example of something that I'm not sure we should be singing to kids. In case you didn't know, it's thought to be a series of references to the symptoms of the Great Plague from the ringed red sores to the ashes, ashes bodies are cremated into after they all fall down. A worldwide tragedy that killed about a quarter of the Sapes in existence at the time is a pretty fucked up thing to compose a kid's song about. I'd think we'd put that kind of unpleasantness behind us at some point...I mean, you don't hear children's songs about the Holocaust, and for very good reason.

"Humpty Dumpty", the classic tale of a humanoid egg who became a ground omelet for no greater offense than having a seat on a wall is one of the most depressing stories you could tell a child under 5 and a really horrible realization that the baby bird that likely lived inside him was miscarried as a result of the fall.

"This Old Man" played knick-knack outside children's doors as well as on their knees, thighs and chins whenever he got inside the door, which sounds like something that should get you locked the fuck up. No wonder he had to play it in heaven once they finally caught him.

Worst of all, there's the song so often used to lull younglings to sleep with its' gentle melody and subtly appalling lyrics. You know the one I'm talking about, and if not, I have to question your judgement as a parent and the content of your character. Here below are the lyrics to this sordid sleepytime song:

"Rock-a-bye baby, in the tree top/when the wind blows, the cradle will rock/when the bough breaks, the cradle will fall/and down will fall baby cradle and all."

There are just so many questions.

Why in the name of Child and Family Services would any reasonable person plop their baby in a cradle high up in some old, brittle tree on the night of a windstorm then just go see what's on TV?

Why is an infant taking an extremely obstructed freefall from a great height to the jagged rocks below soothing imagery for a small child to drift off to sleep by?

Why is there a classic child's song about such incredibly incompetent parenting? I mean, kids can be annoying and all, but damn!

To me, it just seems like some pretty crazy shit to pleasantly chirp at some squirt's happy little face. Hell, some of them sound like things you would sing to a kid you were upset at. I don't know, maybe I'm reading too much into this. Maybe you haven't read into it enough, though. Just think about that before you end up singing your children to sleep with some cute little tune based on Pearl Harbor.

No comments: