Rock-a-bye Rhapsody

Being a parent involves more singing and rhyming than anticipated

Is this the real life?  Is this just fantasy?
Last time we explored,
How infants cry ceaselessly.
Rich range of meaning,
Conveyed in each keening shriek.
Different for you and me.
Because we’re nursery rhymes, lullabies,
Twinkle, twinkle, three blind mice,
Poems, songs and melodies,
Parents all depend on these,
To speak…
To speak.

Baby, needs you to engage,
With a dedicated voice,
Not indifferent background noise.
Comfort; entertainment too;
Something sweet and mesmerising just for them.

So we (in the first year)
Spent an average hour a day,
Mumbling vague rhyme recollections from our childhood.
Which is why,
In hospital,
I sang the first thing I remembered. *

Our lives, were filled with song.
Rediscovered those of yore,
Lots of new ones to explore.
Changes, well-intentioned, but hit and miss,
Edits and extensions of old favourites.

YouTube (it’s not all junk)
          …in moderation
Books and baby groups,
Toys engineered to fill your head with ear-worms.

          [Guitar solo]

I sing a little song of sixpence in the car,
Stay awake, stay awake – now is not the time to sleep!  Dis-
-tracted, calm and happy,
While I change your nappy,
          Baa, baa, black sheep
Baa, baa, black sheep,
          Baa, baa, black sheep
Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you please got any wool?
          Hey diddle, diddle…

Hush little baby, don’t say another thing,
          Papa wants to sleep without any struggling.
          Spare him tonight; his reward for singing.

If you’re happy, and you know it, could you please not cry?
          London-Bridge!  No!  The bridge is falling down!
Please don’t cry!
          Jack-and-Jill!  We will come tumbling down!
Please don’t cry!
          A-tishoo!  And now we all fall down!
Please don’t cry!
          Wheels go round and round!
Please don’t cry!
          Fighting for the crown!
Oh, please don’t cry!
Oh, Mother Hubbard, wind the bobbin!
          Now you’re neither up nor down!
The weasel pops and he never, ever stops for me…
For me…

          [Headbanging guitar bit]

Do you think you control every chorus and verse?
Round and round in your head but no chance to rehearse.
Baby bunting?
No, wait, hold on, something, something…
Don’t need to know the line,
Just gotta make it rhyme,
And keep rhythm.

          [Guitar fades into instrumental]

          Oh yeah, oh yeah…

Once upon a time, it
Seemed an easy thing.
Nothing quite prepares you,
Nothing quite prepares you to sing.

          Any way your boat rows…


* i.e. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen


  1. This is absolutely amazing. Especially when I pulled up Spotify and then re-read the blog to the appropriate music!!

    One of your finest Oli

    1. Thank you very much 🙂

      Whilst it may seem peculiar that I can remember this song so well and not all of (for example) Pop goes the weasel, I did in fact spend numerous school music lessons learning the words to this song when I was … um … thirteen? As required of us by the teacher, I should add. Amazing what sticks and what doesn’t.

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