“Hush Little Baby” lullaby is certifiably insane

Once you become a dad, you start to discover new things about yourself, like how your eardrums are built to not rupture from your baby’s supersonic screams. In my case, I have also discovered that I’m into singing lullabies. I’m not much of a singer, but it seems to calm my son down. Granted, he could also simply be pretending to fall asleep whenever I start a song in order to make me shut up. But hey, I’ll take it.

Luckily, we live in the age of the Internet, so it’s easy to look up lullabies and lyrics online. This is how I stumbled upon “Hush Little Baby,” probably one of the most well-known lullabies out there. You know, this one:

I was vaguely familiar with the lullaby before, but I was surprised to learn that the lyrics actually went beyond “Hush little baby don’t say a word, na na nanana na na mockingbird.”

Now, as an expert on all things “Hush Little Baby,” I can inform you that the lullaby’s lyrics are basically a smorgasbord of loopy outbursts that hint at the singer’s unraveling psyche. Come, take my hand, and let’s take a look at those lyrics together:

Hush little baby, don’t say a word,
Mama’s gonna buy you a mockingbird.

We’re off to a decent start. A bit of a random present for a tiny baby, but it sort of makes sense. A mockingbird can mimic other birds and even imitate the sounds of amphibians and insects. So I guess it’s quite handy for baby entertainment purposes.

Also, mockingbirds are relatively easy to come by, so that’s always a plus. It’s probably not strictly legal to tame wild bird species, but I’m not a wildlife lawyer, so what do I care.

And if that mockingbird won’t sing,
Mama’s gonna buy you a diamond ring.

Wow. Really went for the top shelf with that one, mom. Sounds like a really ill-advised present for a newborn. What’s a baby to do with a diamond ring? Sure, it’s shiny, but so is glitter, which has the added benefit of not single-handedly wrecking your entire household economy. Plus a diamond ring is a definite choking hazard, so this is starting to smell of gross parental negligence.

And if that diamond ring turns to brass,
Mama’s gonna buy you a looking glass.

Kind of a letdown after that diamond ring, don’t you think? Way to build up unrealistic expectations and then shatter your child’s fragile mind with this shitty gift. From diamond ring to fancy-sounding mirror. How does this even happen? Do you make your purchasing decisions by closing your eyes and thrusting your finger into a coloring book? But yeah, okay, at least the baby can learn to recognize shapes and—eventually—himself in the mirror. Whatever.

And if that looking glass gets broke,
Mama’s gonna buy you a billy goat.

Now you’re just fucking with all of us. What kind of a gift is that for someone still in the process of developing basic motor skills?! Where are you going to store a freaking goat? Do you live on a farm? If yes, your baby is already surrounded by farm animals. He doesn’t need a smelly goat living next to his crib. If you live in a city, this can’t possibly be a feasible venture. You’re starting to sound like a bit of a maniac.

And if that billy goat won’t pull,
Mama’s gonna buy you a cart and bull.

Okay, so here’s the thing: You have now purchased two animals of two separate species for your very spoiled and now very confused infant. Both of them stopped functioning in one way or another. Is yet another animal really what you’d want to go for?

Also, what does it mean that a goat “won’t pull,” exactly? What’s the poor creature supposed to be pulling?

Unless…unless this whole “won’t sing” and “won’t pull” nonsense is your way of gently informing your baby that the animals you’ve purchased are dead. It’s that, isn’t it? If the goat were still alive, you wouldn’t be out buying a bull-drawn cart, like some untamed lunatic.

You have successfully managed to murder two animals in your care, and your first instinct right after that is “Meh, let’s go get another one”?! You’re a truly sick human being, did you know that?

And if that cart and bull turn over,
Mama’s gonna buy you a dog named Rover.

Right, so a puppy is a perfectly acceptable gift and makes for a loyal family pet. This is where normal people would typically start.

But not you. Oh no, not you.

In your case, the poor puppy is just the next victim in some twisted plan to wipe out our planet’s fauna. Your animal-keeping record is goddamn atrocious. You should be on some watch list by now, if not locked up safely in maximum security prison. Stop compulsively buying animals you can’t even take care of!

And if that dog named Rover won’t bark,
Mama’s gonna buy you a horse and cart.

Fuck right off! You have already tried the “cart + hoofed animal” combo. Two animals ago. Remember how that turned out? Horribly, is the answer.

You’re the worst. You make crappier decisions than an epileptic monkey placing bets on a roulette table. What’s the meaning of this lullaby?! What are we to understand from this?

Wait. I have a theory. Nod once if I’m right, okay?

It’s…it’s your newborn son. He’s the one killing all those animals. You’re just trying to appease his insatiable appetite for blood. That’s why you can’t stop obsessively buying up all those animals. You’re his mother; you can’t resist his charms. You’re under his spell. No matter what he does, no matter how many animals he murders in cold blood, he’ll always be your little baby boy, won’t he?

And if that horse and cart fall down,
You’ll still be the sweetest little baby in town!

I knew it!

30 thoughts on ““Hush Little Baby” lullaby is certifiably insane

  1. Thank you! I’m not the only one thinking along these lines. Yes! I did learn my eardrums can successfully not rupture. And why does this baby require so much hauling capacity?? And can you really pull a cart with a bull? Cause I only see bulls freaking out trying to trample anyone who goes near them. And Rover NOT barking is the deal breaker? This was clearly written pre-UPS/FedEx refusing to stop ringing the doorbell.

    Side Note: I would’ve preferred it w/out the f-bombs to share with conservative family, but that’s not your problem.


  2. Ryan says:

    This was down right hilarious and awesome! My sister and bro-in-law are pregnant and the whole family is estatic. Yet, in all the excitement, I started to remember this song and thought, something just is not right. My first thought was that it was about Hush Money or about Big Pimpin’. Then I read the rest of lyrics and that idea fell flat. So… I’m going with your version instead. Well done! Definitely sharing this with friends. Thanks for the laugh!


  3. Jen says:

    This was waaaay too funny!! I thought the words were weird as my son watched it on youtube, then googled the song title with the word silly and came accross your blog. Made me.laught so hard i cried.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Haha. None of these songs make any sense. In Scotland, nursery rhymes are often quite gruesome in origin, harking back to the pre-industrial revolution when children were slave labour often munched up by primative machinery. It’s only now as an adult learning them back that they are truly the stuff of nightmares! Fun post, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your distinctive style, and sense of the ludicrous, is all over this one. As other commenters have already mentioned, lullabies and nursery rhymes are often full of non-sense (or violence!)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You had me at: “Hush little baby don’t say a word, na na nanana na na mockingbird.”
    It’s great to see that fatherhood has only sharpened your sense of humor.
    Little Nathan is in good hands. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • At the very least, Nathan can count on not getting any diamond rings from me!

      By the way, tried to comment the other day on your “CARTOON FOR A FRIEND,” but couldn’t help but notice that I, uh, couldn’t. I’ll go ahead and assume that you simply closed all comments and are not instead waging some hidden war against my priceless commenting words.


      • Sorry about that Daniel. I did see you had been by and thank you! Yea- I closed comments for now… just taking an extended break. I love your priceless commenting words!!


  7. Leave it to you to turn a nursery rhyme into a Stephen King horror story. Too funny. And I loved the part about your son pretending to fall asleep so you’ll stop singing. Reminds me of a Modern Family episode (not sure if you’ve ever seen that show) where the little girl pretends to fall asleep to get one of her daddies to quit reading to her. She’s a sarcastic little imp, and the scene when her sensitive father finds out what she’s doing is hilarious. I think you should go write for the show.


    • I do tend to see horror and treachery everywhere, don’t I? I’m a joy to be around!

      Haven’t heard of that episode, but yup – Nathan is very likely going to be a sarcastic little imp, if his dad is anything to go by.

      Off to pitch my next episode’s script!


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