Tuesday, March 02, 2010

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed.....

Before you guys get any ideas, this is a story of the Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly.

Today after school, Goddess was singing the song "there was an old lady who swallowed a fly". She does a lot of singing so this was not abnormal. While singing it we confused some of the animals so I told her we could find it online.

We headed to You Tube and looked for one similiar to the book by Simms
because that is the one we heard at the library a few months ago.

We found it and watched...

It really is an odd song originally sung by Burl Ives in 1953.

Here is a version by Judy Collins that I heard in 1977 with the Muppets

What is up with Nursery Rhymes that are just plain scary?

Goddess' question where:

Why did she swallow the fly?
How will all the animals get out?

Her comments were:
"I don't want her to die!
I wish she wouldn't have to die!
It is funny but it is scary!"

As a child, I always felt this song was so strange and a little gross and will never understand why so many childhood stories, songs, and movies focus so much on death. Obviously we all have to come to terms with death at some point in our lives but to have it constantly thrust in the face of those who don't understand it seems just cruel.

As a parent it is hard enough to discuss the topics of things that come up on a day to day basis. Now with my daughter constantly talking about not wanting to lose me, I wonder how to answer her questions about death and dying.

"Where is heaven?
Why do people who are dying say, I will always be with you if they are in heaven?
Why do people have to die?
I will miss you when you die!
I don't want you to ever die!"

All this from a 4.11 year old who has fortunately not had someone close to her pass away. And, is fairly sheltered when it comes to what she is allowed to watch and listen to. The questions will only get harder as she understands more.

Is anyone else going through this with their preschooler?


  1. I remember the snippet from '77 Muppets show.... and I used to sing this too. There was also the brought a bee home to mother song...

    kids are too cute sometimes....

  2. My son is 4 too, and is confused with the concept of death. He's never met his "big" sister who passed away in 2003 at the age of 8months of age, but we "celebrate" her birthday with the releasing of balloons every year...so he knows he has a sister, that she died, and is in heaven and she gets balloons. But wonders why she died, why she is in heaven, can he go there, when, how... etc. It's hard to answer these questions. Especially when he asks WHY, after the WHY, after the WHY. LOL

  3. I spent some time with a friend and her young children and it is a pretty common occurrence.

  4. Never went through that with the kiddo's. We read the book and just laughed. We thought it was silly because we all said a flying bird won't fly into your mouth, and the other animals won't fit.
    We said if you swallowed a bug, it would just digest like food and you'd get rid of it in the toliet just like you would food. We always just liked it because of the rhyming aspect. However, death and dying have to be brought up at some point to children and if this book is where kids will start asking questions then I don't think that's not beneficial. It should be parents they ask about these things.
    It's always best to say that this book is just pretend and the bugs, people, and animals weren't harmed and really didn't die, because they are just like cartoons, not real, but make believe.
    I think it's wonderful that she doesn't want you to ever die, yet you can explain that dying comes to everyone at sometime and no one really knows exactly when that will be. That's why it's best to do your best and be your kindest to others while you are still here on earth. I always think it's wonderful if you have the Christian faith to explain God and Heaven to your children too.
    They are going to ask questions, that's kids. Questions like why is the sky blue today, white yesterday, and sometimes gray and why it's black at night. They'll ask about what makes a rainbow.
    Kids are question machines, and that's how they learn. I think your daughter is going to be very, very smart if she already is asking and expressing some feelings about life and death and her needing you.

  5. My dad died last August--my 3 year old was actually in the room when he took his last breath. Pretty scary stuff. We explained to her that he died because his body was really really sick and stopped working. Then, we told her we'd never see him again, but that his body would be put in the ground to help the flowers grow, and we let her plant some pansies on his grave. Well-meaning people told her that he was in Heaven (I know he is but come on, GROWN ADULTS have trouble understanding the concepts of faith, Heaven, Hell, etc. How do you think a child would understand?) and sure enough she wanted to now if we could go to Heaven to see him...sigh...long story short--she knows her Poppy died because his body was VERY sick and stopped working and that most people don't get as sick as Poppy, so she doesn't have to worry about Mommy or Daddy dying. Every once in a while I will have to remind her that our bodies are not as sick as Poppy's and she accepts that. I will explain to her that he is in Heaven someday, when she is mentally capable of understanding such things. Anyway, I feel your pain, Maria, on fielding the tough questions about death. I am almost looking forward to the questions about sex now--those will be EASY PEASY after this!

  6. And, by the way, my daughter has that Simms Taback book and really enjoyed watching the video you posted!

  7. My boys lost both their grandfathers at a young age, but I have no advice for you because of the warped view that my family had of death and the afterlife when I was growing up.
    I know that you are so intelligent and you have the best interest of your kids at heart, so you will come up with the right thing for Goddess.


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