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!