Thursday, March 8, 2012

Hurray for Mother Goose

From last Sunday:

Maria: I go get rabbit skin for Elmo.
Leaves and returns with an imaginary rabbit skin.  Wraps skin around the Elmo puppet.
Donnie, as Elmo:  Thank you, Maria!  Did you kill the  rabbit yourself?
Maria: Yes!

We've been reading a lot of Mother Goose lately.  Can you tell?  In case you're a little rusty on your nursery rhymes, here's where the rabbit skin reference comes from:

Bye, bye, Baby Bunting
Daddy's gone a-hunting
For to get a rabbit skin
To put the Baby Bunting in

My mother gave us several beautifully illustrated books of Mother Goose, and we've read from them now and then since Maria was quite small.  This is the one we brought across the pond.

Recently, Maria has begun asking for "Muddah Goose" and we've begun hearing her recite snatches of the rhymes.  Out of the blue, she'll mention "hot cross buns" or tell me she wants to eat porridge (as in peas porridge).  Or I'll be sewing and and she'll point to the needle and and say, "Ol muddah twitchett*"

We especially enjoy when she deviates from the text.

Maria: Ding, dong bell.
Me: What comes next?
Maria, laughing at her joke: Babar's in the well! 
Me: No, no, no! Babar is an elephant and does not fit in the well.

Maria then repeats the rhyme, inserting the name of one of Babar's children.  We loop until the royal elephant family tree has been exhausted.   Oh the hilarity!

Here's another example. I quite enjoy the rhyme "Davy, Davy Dumpling" and often recite it to Loulou, whose delicious chubbiness brings dumplings to mind:

Davy, Davy dumpling
Put him in the pot
Sugar him and butter him
And eat him while he's hot!

Maria, recognizing that her little sister is the dumpling, has come up with her own set of words:

Hey Baby, Hey Baby
Put the baby in the pot!
Sugar the baby
Butter the baby
Eat the baby up!

While we're enjoying Maria's enthusiasm for Mother Goose, we've found that a little background information on the  rhymes has increased our own appreciation for them. For instance, through Internet research, we discovered that "Hey Diddle Diddle" may be a way of describing the constellations at planting time.  The cat is Leo, the fiddle is Lyre, the cow is Taurus, and the moon is the moon.  Doesn't that make the rhyme ten times more interesting?  And "Pop Goes the Weasel" is actually about being poor and needing to pawn one's winter coat.  ("pop" = pawn and "weasel" = coat).  Once we're back in the States, I'd like to add this Annotated Mother Goose to our Library, and I think this book may become my standard baby shower gift.

Now, I'll leave you with a recitation of sort:

Old mother Twitchett had but one eye
And a long tail that she would let fly.
And every time she went through a gap
A piece of her tail she would leave in a trap.

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