Ladybug Ladybug…

I have an 18 month old daughter, and like any good parent (yes that sentence is written with all kinds of implied judgement) I read to her as often as possible.  I had a lot of leftover kids books from my other kids who are quite a bit older now, but my wife and I also got a lot of new books when she was born, both by purchasing them outright, or being gifted used book from friends who’s children had outgrown them.  This means that we have a lot of kids books that we’ve never seen or read.

My daughter loves to be read to and will often go to her bookshelf and select books for us to read.  We have a dedicated bookshelf just for her in our family room and she loves that she can just go grab a book and bring it to us.  When this happens we will, of course, stop what we are doing to read what she has grabbed.

She has her favorites, so we usually read the same ones over and over, but the other day she found a book we hadn’t seen before.  The book was called “Ladybug, Ladybug”.  It purported to be a “Classic Nursery Rhyme” but both my wife and I agreed that we had never heard of such a rhyme before.

Now, I know that not all Nursery Rhymes are sunshine and apple strudel, I know that Ring Around The Rosie is supposedly about the black death, and you can find hidden meaning in all sorts of other children’s rhymes and stories, but the key word there is HIDDEN .  As we began reading this short board book to my baby daughter we were profoundly disturbed.

First of all, and this isn’t the thing that I’m writing about today, but seriously, look at the relative size of that ladybug.  That thing is fucking enormous. Like that ladybug is ready to eat that woman.  If I found a ladybug that big I would not be letting it crawl on me that’s for sure.

Okay, clearly something is not right here.  The sky in the previous image was peaceful and serene.  Gray and blue.  It made you think, well, this enormous ladybug is just about to go have tea and crumpets with this nice Jane Austin-ish lady.  But here, well it looks like that playground scene from Terminator.  Seriously, I have a bad feeling about this.

Okay, what the shit!  I’m reading to my 18 month old and now we have children dying in a fire while their neglectful mother is off at some polo match with Eliza Doolittle?!  And since when do ladybugs live in log cabins?  And, if you’re going to build a house out of what is essentially kindling (twigs and dried leaves are how I start bonfires in my backyard fire pit) then maybe you don’t put a wood burning stove with a metal chimney in it.  Also why are the kids using the stove when Moms not home?  Didn’t you at least leave them some food before you went off gallivanting around with England’s high society.  Jesus Christ, order a pizza or something.

Okay, this is where I call bullshit!  There is so much wrong with this I don’t know where to begin.  I guess to start, there is no fucking way that table and that pan fit inside that little house.  Unless that house has some amazing TARDIS technology that allows it to be bigger on the inside, and if that’s the case, don’t you think THAT would be worth mentioning?!  Also, ya know, why would you have a frying pan that size for a house full of Ladybugs?  It just doesn’t make sense logistically.

Don’t come out now you crazy bug.  Also, this kid is even bigger than her mom.  Jesus, she’s like half the size of the frying pan, and why would you climb under a frying pan (something designed to get very very hot) to hide from a fire.


Needless to say, my wife and I were stunned by the violent neglectful nature of this story.  This made the Grimm Fairy Tales seem like Disney Fairy Tales.  We couldn’t believe that this was put out for kids.

Then it got worse.

I was driving home listening to my writing playlist.  This is the dark smokey music that I listen to to get in the mood to write MURDER BALLAD.  One of the artists that features heavily on this list is Tom Waits.  I love his music, but I have to admit that often when I am trying to get into the zone, I am not so much listening to the lyrics as I am just soaking in the ambiance.  That is until I heard this:

Hey little bird, fly away home
Your house is on fire, your children are alone
Hey little bird, fly away home
Your house is on fire, your children are alone

Now, clearly these lyrics come from this story.  Yes they are slightly different, but you can’t deny the DNA there.  This made me do some research, and it turns out that this “Nursery Rhyme”, like many many others, has multiple variations and a unclear history.  Mind you they all center around a neglectful mother who leaves her children home alone to die in a house fire, but what the animal the mother is seems to change.

I’d like to point out that if a nursery rhyme can be used as the chorus to a Tom Waits song (any tom waits song) it’s probably a bad fucking nursery rhyme.  I’d also like to point out that the lyric right before the first chorus is:

I’m full of bourbon, I cant stand up.

Great line, but not exactly something I’d expect to hear at a Raffi concert.

We still read this book to our daughter when she brings it to us because, well, parents of the year and all.  Besides, I decided a long time ago that you really cant avoid fucking up your kids, so best to fuck them up the very best you can.  I know they will appreciate it down the road.

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