I was reading a book last night and in it was the old nursery rhyme â€œRock-a-bye Babyâ€. I always thought â€œWhat a horrible thing to say to a baby unless of course you are Hannibal Lecter and are grinning and salivating as you are repeating it! Aww, sauteed baby butt with portabella mushrooms and a nice Chianta, SLURP SLURP!â€ . As you get older you realize that mom and dad were traumatizing you as a baby, and later in life you will wonder why seeing tree boughs blowing in the wind promote a panic attack and you do not know why! I always wanted to ask my mom, â€œHow high up in the tree was my cradle? Three or four stories? No wonder I have acrophobia!â€ Mom always replied that cradles were very sturdy and difficult to obtain but babies were a dime a dozen! Mom was always a kidder!
The first line from the rhyme is really â€œHush-a-by babyâ€. So you find yourself on the top of the tree staring at cloud and if it is sunny, you hope you have sun screen on. Hmm, getting a little windy up here. Cradle is starting to move back and forth. You start crying because it is the only thing you CAN do (I still resort to crying to this day, it gets me the remote every time!). You hear a crack and you feel the sensation of falling. You had a clean diaper on but it is full now! Fortunately, you are a smart baby and had foreseen your parents having psychopathic tendencies and are ready for a base jump. You grab the 4 corners of your blankie and float safely to the ground! Mom and Dad place you right back up onto the tree top and you just keep base jumping all day. Unfortunately, for the majority of babies they just fall! Cradles are not as well built today and the mothers and fathers race around to catch the cradle. Many receive injuries and deservedly so!
Different versions of the rhyme mention Kings and Queens and so I suspect King Henry the VIII had to have been involved: as he was cutting off the heads of all his wives, he was obviously getting rid of unwanted children in the most morose of ways. He had devised the means of having them march with the lemmings over cliffs but the babies were easily seen and it was difficult to camouflage them.
Today we are fortunate that most properties do not have tall trees and cradles have reached the proportions of a King-sized bed! No more taking baby up the tree in the cradle.
There is talk of revising the rhyme:
Hush-a-bye artificially conceived baby,
On the house top,
When smoggy winds blow,
the Tupperware container will drop!,
When the shingles shatter,
The container will fall,
And down will scream with horror, baby,
Spagetti sauce stained container and all!
Now a whole new generation of babies can go through what I did: many a sleepless night!