I'm Rocking my Baby... And Babies Don't Keep!

I'm sitting at the kitchen table, hacking out a few articles. And giggling at my sister and her new bundle of joy! Ailis is visiting, and trying to be helpful. Ailis clears the dishes... and then baby Kate squeaks and off mummy goes to burp her and gaze adoringly at her. Ailis comes back, no doubt totally impressed that I managed to fold a pile of laundry, put in another load, and have a shower with such aplomb this morning while she was breastfeeding. She washes two plates, and then goes to gaze at Kate again. "I WILL wash the dishes," she announces, from the comfort of the living room where Kate is curled up on her chest, breathing with quick newborn breaths and smelling divine.

Really, the dishes can wait. They aren't going anywhere.

Song for a Fifth Child by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue (Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due (Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue? (Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.


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Unknown said…
So true. So true.

I looked at my eldest last evening. Tall and scruffy faced, I saw through his beard to the two year old who sat on the front porch in his yellow hoodie and posed for a picture by Daddy - with his hands in the air and shoulders shrugged, as if to say, "I don't know why you need this picture".

I do. It's because babies don't keep.
Wacky Mommy said…
Baby daze. i miss it so much.
Anonymous said…
Just spent the morning with my month-old neighbor boy on my arm.
The poem is wise, Ailis is in love, your niece is lucky. It all can wait. Except the baby. When will we support this truth as a society so our babies have exactly what they need?