When my elder son was three months old, I had started singing a few nursery rhymes to him; while putting him to sleep, while changing his diapers and sometimes while playing with him. It had a calming effect on him, he would quieten the moment I would start. I only knew a handful of them, the ones that I remembered from my childhood. I’m not a good singer, but the tune itself would be soothing enough for him.
Then at 2 years as he started going to playgroup, I learnt (had to learn, actually) dozens of other rhymes some of which I had never even heard before. He would come home and tell me what he wants to hear.
Him : “Mumma, didde fidde”
Me: “What? What’s that”?
Him: “Didde fidde..” (stamps his legs for insistence)
Then, I would search through the CD that was given by the school and find out what he was trying to say. And I realised that he wanted me to sing “Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle..” I had never even heard of such a rhyme. “The cow jumped over the moon?” Wow, something different.
Each day, he would tell me to the best of his ability, which rhyme he wanted me to sing. And he also wanted me to do all the actions! Now, how am I supposed to do the same actions that he learnt in school? So, I learnt ‘kookaburra’, ‘two little dickey birds’, ‘hickory dickory dock’, ‘wheels on the bus’ and ‘hot cross buns’ and many more!
But, one day he came to me and told me, “Mumma, birdie”.
Me: “Okay. Wait dear. I’ve never heard of it. Let me search in the CD.”
Him: “Birdie, Birdie.. Mumma.”
Then he started to do some actions. First, he did twinkle star action, then he kept his arms by the side and flapped them, then he wiggled his bums and then he clapped his hands. He kept on doing that and saying ‘birdie birdie’.
Finally, as I failed to find it in that nursery rhymes CD, I did some research on the Internet and found out that he was talking about the ‘birdie dance.’ At the end of the day, the entire family was dancing the ‘birdie dance’! It was fun though.
Now, at three and a half years of age, he is familiar with most of the nursery rhymes and so am I. So much so that sometimes we end up talking in nursery rhymes.
Him: ” Mumma, today the wheels on the bus went round and round and I went to school. Uncle was selling hot cross buns. And my brother finger got hurt and it was pouring and raining and all the dogs were snoring. And then, I did row row row your boat in the water!”
Me: “Wow, that’s really good. Today, mumma’s dish ran away with the spoon when mumma was cooking. And Peter and Paul also flew away. Mumma then did rock-a-bye baby with your little brother and Kookaburra was sitting on the old gum tree and laughing and then the clock struck one, and you came home!”
My husband gets so annoyed sometimes when he hears us talking like this. And more so when he hears me singing them! “Stop croaking!” He says. But I don’t think I can do that. I have become so used to it that now if I don’t sing atleast one rhyme per day I get restless! And the best part is when I sing them, my younger one year old becomes so quiet that I can change his clothes and his diapers very easily. Otherwise it’s a nightmare!
I know that this is just a phase in our lives which will be very soon replaced by loads of books and homework. So let us enjoy this phase till it lasts!
My son’s favourite rhyme is the ‘finger family song’ and mine is ‘old mac Donald had a farm.’
What is yours??
Author’s note: This post first appeared on mycity4kids parenting platform.