15 Sep 2011

Remembering to remember

...Every evening they would all sing one round. Mr. Boast's tenor would begin, "Three blind mice," and go on while Mrs. Boast's alto began, "Three blind mice," then as she went on Pa's bass would join in, "Three blind mice," and then Laura's soprano, and Ma's contralto, and Mary and Carrie. When Mr. Boast reached the end of the song he began it again without stopping, and they all followed, each behind the other, going round and round with words and music.

"Three blind mice! Three blind mice!
They all ran after the farmer's wife,
She cut off their tails with a carving knife,
Did you ever hear such a tale in your life,
Of three blind mice?"

They kept on singing till someone laughed and then the song ended ragged and breathless and laughing...

Laura Ingalls Wilder By the Shores of Silver Lake
By the Shores of Silver Lake is Jemimah's current read aloud selection (the one she reads aloud to me so I know which words she pronounces incorrectly and so that we can work on her read-out-loud skills.). We've read one of Laura's books each year of AO, and like many others before us, they're amongst our favourites.

We love it when Laura includes Pa's old songs, and we love to sing along with those we know. Already in last Friday's chapter we'd sung along to Billy Boy and Campdown Races when we came to that old nursery favourite, Three Blind Mice. Well, I was almost gob-smacked to discover that Jemimah couldn't remember the words!! Of Three Blind Mice!! What a failure of my position of Hander-Down-of-Traditions I've been.

Of course once I'd sung it through once, she did recall the words after all, and we spent much of this past weekend singing Three Blind Mice as a round with Daddy with almost as much hilarity as the Ingalls clan, but I have been reminded anew of the need to keep practicing those things we want our kids to remember to adulthood so they can teach them to the next generation. That includes nursery rhymes, songs, poems, Scripture verses, catechism questions and lots, lots more.

The list of nursery songs I compiled yesterday for the Deputy Headmistress contained twenty of the most important nursery songs for children (in my opinion). How many do your kids know by heart? How many will they be able to croon to their littlies in the middle of the night? (I always sang Shuttie eyesy-eyesy-eyesy-eyesy-eyes, Give Mummy a Big Surprise to the tune of If You're Happy and You Know it when I was singing to Jemimah in situations like that, but I digress.) I'm going to test Jemimah today by singing them through. I think she'll know them all, but then again she couldn't remember Three Blind Mice, so I may be wrong.

Incidentally, she does remember the version of Three Blind Mice that goes like this:
A trio of sightless rodents, a trio of sightless rodents;
Observe how they perambulate, observe how they perambulate;
They all pursued the agriculturist's spouse,
Who severed their caudal appendages with a culinary implement;
Have you previously observed such a phenomenon in your existence
As a trio of sightless rodents?
She knows this one as well. Do you?
Propel, propel, propel your craft,
Placidly down the liquid solution.
Ecstatically, ecstatically, ecstatically, ecstatically;
Existence is but an illusion.

Every time I meant to type Three Blind Mice in this post in this post it came out Three Bling Mice. Does that say anything about me - other than that I am mummy to a glitz-obsessed tween, that is?


  1. I wish the 1954 (original) version of that sketch was online somewhere! I've seen it on a Fred Rogers retrospective, but it's not on You-tube. Here's a link to a description & some photos of the episode (of Children's Corner): http://www.neighborhoodarchive.com/cc/episodes/001/index.html

  2. Puggle has just finished 'By the Shores of Plum Creek'... He was really excited in one of the chapters to realise that Pa was singing 'When Johnny Comes Marching Home'.
    It had been one of our folksongs (last year?), and it's been one of the reasons I've been glad to have followed AO's suggestions—we've sung songs I haven't come across before (well, I knew the tune of this... but I can't recall that I'd heard the original:-) ), that have turned up in all sorts of unexpected places:-)


I'd love you to leave me a message. Tell me what you like - and what you don't. Just remember that this is what we do in our family - it doesn't have to be what you do in yours...