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Reflections on Lullabies

by on March 2, 2018

So. I realize the blog has been quiet for the last several months. I have a very good reason for that. We’ve had a baby. She is several months old now and doing reasonably well; there’s some health challenges which have caused us some sleepless nights, and I’ve learned that it is a very bad idea to google medical terms with which one is not familiar, but overall, we have been very blessed. And when she smiles at me in the morning, and right after I’ve “changed her diapey!”,….I am truly blessed.

That being said, Little Bit’s arrival has given us a whole new perspective on the world. Lullabies, for instance. It turns out that when one has a baby and the baby is fussing, oftentimes one can calm the baby by holding her and singing to her. My stock of music is somewhat eclectic; by now I’ve run through everything from Hail Holy Queen to Edelweiss from The Sound of Music. (That last one choked me up a bit. If one is sentimental, one should be careful what one sings to one’s baby.)

But I’ve also hit some of the classic lullabies. And to be honest, some of them are kinda weird. Take “Rock-a-Bye-Baby.,” for instance. It starts off nice, the baby’s rocking peacefully in her tree…but wait. Why is the baby in the tree? Oh, well, maybe it’s a big tree like Rafiki’s tree in The Lion King and maybe the baby is secure and…”When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall…” 



And down will come baby, cradle and all! 

This seems an odd choice for a lullaby. “Sleep well, baby! Try not to think about other babies plummeting to their deaths from the trees!”

And then there’s” “Hush, Little Baby.”  When I sang this to my baby recently, I had many questions.

Is it a good idea to buy one’s baby a mockingbird?

Who’s going to take care of the mockingbird?

The baby’s not going to take care of it. She’s a baby.

So Papa’s going to get stuck with the mockingbird.

Of course.

Now the mockingbird won’t sing, so naturally I…buy the baby a diamond ring.

What did I do with the bird?

I trust I kept it around as a beloved pet.

Do I even know why it didn’t sing?

Why won’t the caged bird sing?

Also, the baby’s a little young for jewelry, isn’t she?

Suppose she chokes on the ring?

But apparently the diamond ring was faulty and turned brass, so I…buy the baby a looking glass.

Well, okay. A mirror’s kinda cool.

It’s not like the baby’s going to break the mirror or anything….

It broke.

So now I buy her….a billy goat.

*record scratch*

“Hey, honey, sorry about the ring and the mirror and the bird….but here’s a GOAT. Yeah! Everyone loves goats!”

Now the goat won’t pull. (Pull what?)

So I buy…a cart and bull.

A bull seems like a dangerous gift for a baby.

Is the baby in the cart?

Is the baby fastened securely?

Is there a cart seat?

Wait. The cart and bull have turned over.

Was the baby in the cart at the time?

Trusting not, I now buy the baby…a dog named Rover.

Rover. How original.

Of course the dog doesn’t bark.

Where am I finding these animals?

I should sue.

Meanwhile, I buy the baby….a horse and cart.

Is it the same cart, or a new one?

If the old one, was it repaired after the bull fiasco?

Boy, I sure hope nothing happens to this horse and cart….

They fell down.

Of course they did.

I would say I have the worst luck, but then again…

I do have the sweetest little baby in town.

This much is true.

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  1. Oh how funny! I always thought the same thing about “hush little baby” but your running commentary really hits it on the head.
    Congratulations on your sweet little baby! That’s an excellent excuse for not posting on the blog or writing that much. I hope you stop by and update us occasionally, though. Good luck dealing with health issues — hers and yours — and I hope you are all sleeping through the night every night like regular, sane humans again soon.

    • We’re getting there. 🙂 She still wakes up sometimes in the middle of the night when she realizes she doesn’t have her pacifier in her mouth, but she is sleeping for longer stretches now. 🙂
      I do intend to stop by more often; my work schedule has changesd recently such that I have a little more time. And I miss the writing and the blogs, I really do. 🙂

      • Glad to hear the sleep schedule is moving in the right direction. I can’t throw any stones about the blog thing; I’ve been cutting back myself a lot lately, and I don’t have an excuse nearly as good as a baby. Only bogged down in other life priorities. My current goal is to post just one flash fiction piece per week (and then comment on as many other stories in the same challenge as I can — which takes 10x longer), and even that doesn’t happen some weeks.

  2. Sounds like a good goal; I’m going to try something similar myself. 🙂 My philosphy is, you do what you can do, and go on from there.

  3. Absolutely hilarious! I’ve often wondered the same things myself, but this post of yours explains it perfectly. I do love the tune of the poem though… It’s a true classic and will live on forever.

    In fact, I uploaded my own parody to Hush Little Baby onto my blog yesterday. I think you might get a kick out of reading it, and I would certainly love to hear your thoughts on it. Thank you!

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