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Do you read them to your LO? We do, and I have been finding so many of them to actually be inappropriate. Dh and I have marked pages, in our large nursery rhyme book, of ones we won't be reading anymore. There are ones about spanking, yelling etc. Just take 3 little kittens for example: they lost their mittens and are naughty and punished with no pie. I know it's not horrible but it goes against how we parent since we don't use "punishment".
We have a big nursery rhyme book that M has completely trashed over time. I think it might be really dead now since she just ripped off the binding and the pages are coming apart in big chunks. Anyway, yes, she LOVES her nursery rhymes and her favorite thing for many months was to page through it herself (sometimes ripping if she got too excited....) And pick out which nursery rhyme she wanted. Based on the illustrations.
I have no real qualms about the content of them. Nursery rhymes are very strange, outdated, rhymes that don't rhyme anymore in our current pronunciation, weird themes that are not how we live anymore. And yet kids LOVE them. Or at least M did/does. She has a newer book of poems illustrated by one of my favorites, Gyo Fujikawa, and it is quite a bit more wholesome and less strange. M likes parts of that book but not like the nursery rhyme book.
I wonder if the strangeness of the rhymes is part of the allure somehow. Like it makes them wonder what it all means. "To market to market to buy a fat pig. Home again home again jiggity jig." What on earth does that have to do with our life now? Nothing, but it has a fun cadence to it and a picture of a pig riding in a cart. And she likes that.
This brings back such a funny (to me now) memory from when I was really little. My grandpa was playing with me and did "eenie meenie miney mo" well where I used the word Tiger, he used the N word (this was well over 20 years ago, he was quite old, so it was a generational thing, not necessarily a personal conviction thing <- thats the explanation, not an excuse) Anyways, when I repeated that to my mom she **** near died! She was livid with my grandpa and went up one side and down the other. He was so embarrassed, because he didn't know there were other words, and he was doing it as innocently as possible.
Fast forward 20 years and when I read to Arthur, I am conscious of content. For now it's not a big deal, and when he gets older I really hope I don't shy away from things like that, I do want to be open and have honest discussions about how other people may think or feel, but I do think there is a middle ground that needs to be found. We were given a Dr. Seuss collection book and there is all kinds of stuff in there about people with "slanted eyes" etc. I hope one day it serves as a learning opportunity for my children.
I am fascinated by the Grim fairy tales as well. They are pretty dark, but the childrens versions that are out today are very tame. I think it's just something to be aware of, but can be used as a learning tool
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like There was an old woman who lived in a shoe. She had so many children, she didn't know what to do. She gave them some broth without any bread; And whipped them all soundly and put them to bed. Yeah, not a fan of most nursery rhymes either.
That was another one I couldn't think of when writing my post but knew there was a whipping one that really got under my skin!
Nursery Rhymes are stories and imaginative, just like other books, TV shows, and music. I read to them and if something negative comes across we talk. I have a 3yo and a 6yo.
The Old Lady in the shoe spanked her kids, but mommy doesn't and then move on.
I despise nursery rhymes. Not because of content...but just cause I hate stuff like that. We have one book of them and it only gets picked here and there. But the pictures aren't interesting, so it goes back in the shelf quickly. I much prefer non-rhyming books to rhyming ones. Just my thing. (Dr. Seuss makes me want to kill someone. Lol)