What has happened to nursery rhymes? Have they been lost in translation? I saw a cute 4 year old patient the other day who had fallen at pre-school and gotten a really “nice” bump on the middle of her forehead. Fortunately she was just fine, except for the goose egg. When I told her she was just like Humpty Dumpty she looked at me with big wide unknowing eyes and said, “Who?”
Her mother and I proceeded to tell her the nursery rhyme about Humpty’s great fall. I think she was amazed that her mom and I knew the same rhyme! Her mother told me she had never thought about reading her children nursery rhymes, but at the same time she agreed that nursery rhymes needed to be passed along to each generation. I think she was on Amazon ordering a Mother Goose book while we were talking!
Seeing that I am Dr. Hubbard, I remember being teased for years about being a child who lived in a shoe. As I got out of college and medical school, I found that it was convenient to have the last name of Hubbard, so when I was being introduced as Dr. Hubbard or calling in a prescription, I would say “Hubbard, like Old Mother”. It has only been in the last 5 years or so that people would say, “Who?” Now I have to spell my last name.
I often talk about going back to the basics. I think nursery rhymes may fall into that category as well. These rhymes, although often nonsensical and whimsical, should not be forgotten. The Cow that Jumped Over the Moon, or Little Miss Muffet and her friend Jack Horner are too treasured to be forgotten. It is such fun to hear a young child recite a rhyme that they have heard over and over again, even if it takes years for them to understand their meaning.
I have saved my own childhood book of nursery rhymes that my parents read to me, and I read them to my own children, now I have to wait for grandchildren. I can’t wait to enjoy reading them aloud to the next generation. Is this a hint?