There is nothing like a 4 year old asking questions to make you feel completely and utterly incompetent.
I am so thankful for Google. I’m quite certain before the invention of Google, parents just made up answers to these questions.
Also- I realized, while typing this, that I am still listening to Dora, even though no one else is in the room.
But back to questions- we sing a lot in this house. Lately, a favorite has been “hush little baby”. I never thought that this song would cause so much drama in my life. Apparently there are various ways to sing this song. People wanted to make it more “grammatically correct”, or various other reasons to change a classic song that already makes no sense.
Here is our version-
Hush, little baby, don’t say a word.
Papa’s gonna buy you a mockingbird
And if that mockingbird won’t sing,
Papa’s gonna buy you a diamond ring
And if that diamond ring turns brass,
Papa’s gonna buy you a looking glass
And if that looking glass gets broke,
Papa’s gonna buy you a billy goat
And if that billy goat won’t pull,
Papa’s gonna buy you a cart and bull
And if that cart and bull turn over,
Papa’s gonna buy you a dog named Rover
And if that dog named Rover won’t bark
Papa’s gonna buy you a horse and cart
And if that horse and cart fall down,
You’ll still be the sweetest little baby in town
For starters- can we discuss how quickly the situation escalated? The mockingbird didn’t sing, so what did daddy do? BUY A DIAMOND RING? Who thought this was a good idea? What is a baby going to do with a diamond ring? Two options- hit someone with it, or eat it. I’m quite certain those are the only two things that happen when you give something to a baby.
The other night, our sweet two year old asked if daddy would buy her a horse and cart. No…no he will not. She also was singing the song and forgot the words, she paused and said “papa’s gonna buy you….something….”
Clearly a consumerist mindset is not new to this generation. According to the ever reliable wikipedia- “Hush, Little Baby” is a traditional lullaby, thought to have been written in the United States (mockingbirds are from the New World), but the author and date of origin are unknown. The lyrics promise all kinds of rewards to the child if he or she is quiet. The simple structure allows more verses to be added ad lib.
Ahh parenting since forever- promising children things to get them to stop freaking out. Also- are people actually adding more verses? I am not. That seems like way too much work. I sing the basic version- and this is an actual chain of questions.
“why was the baby crying?”
“why isn’t the mockingbird singing?”
“what happened to the mockingbird?”
“why did the baby want a diamond ring?”
“what does brass mean?”
“will my toys be brass?”
“what is a looking glass?”
“if it breaks, does that hurt the baby?”
“how did the mirror break?”
“can a billy goat fix the broken mirror?”
“why is it called a billy goat?”
“can we have a billy goat?”
“why did the cart and bull turn over?”
“is the bull okay?”
“I don’t like the name Rover, can we name it something else?”
“why did the horse and the bull fall? did they trip?”
“why did the baby want a horse and cart?”
“what does the baby get after the horse is gone?”
Guys- you think I’m kidding- this is what happens when we sing…or read stories…or eat…or go for a walk. The things she asks are so funny, and often quite insightful. Unfortunately, she doesn’t quite grasp that the song just simply makes no sense. This kid is hilarious, and she has no idea.