Thursday, December 18, 2014

Song for a Fifth Child

I have read this before and thought it was so sweet. Now that my fifth has long left her babyhood, it is even more poignant to me. Have you read it?

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.

To my young mama friends, love and enjoy your little ones. The time is fleeting and the days are short. I didn't believe it when I was young, but all of a sudden it happened. No one needed me to help them make a sandwich, wash their hands, learn to read or use the potty. Life keeps marching and they keep growing up. I'd not go back for anything because I love my older family. I love the talks and games and life that goes on here. I am trying to enjoy this stage and find all the joy of life that is to be found in it. This time is fleeting too and tomorrow is promised to no one.

Love your children.


michelle said...

♥ I'd quoted the last stanza for years after my last was born. I remember crying when I read the whole poem for the first time. My babies are growing up too fast!

Kate said...

I feel the same way, Michelle! <3


Unknown said...

For me, you are the first mom to say you would not go back to their baby days. So far, I have only heard "I would give everything I own to have them small again..." - or something similar.

So it's good to hear that the next stage can be enjoyable and older children can be delightful. ;)

Kate said...


No, I'd not go back. I *love* my older children just the way they are. The time with them as little ones just went so fast. :) I'd like to slow down the clock a little. That I'd do right now if I could! Since I can't, I just try to enjoy it as much as I can. :)