Thursday, July 8, 2010

Many Kids and Many Years Later, I Still Love This

I think I first heard this poem, Song For A Fifth Child by Ruth Hurlburt Hamilton when I was pregnant with my first child. I loved it then and I still love it now.

Image from Bing Images

I have had six grandchildren born in the last nine years. It feels like they are growing up even faster than my own kids did. With my 7th grandchild due in a couple of months this poem has been back in my mind again.
I know everyone has probably seen it many times, but, to me, it is worth seeing again. Here is the whole poem.

Song for a Fifth Child

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.

Even though the wording is a little old fashioned,
the message is timeless. 


  1. Wow, I have had 6 grandchildren in the last 9 years too!
    I have another one due early next year too.. but that's still a secret! Very early days.

  2. love this poem. I always tell young moms to treasure the days and not rush things because it all goes so fast anyway so why rush it? how exciting to have so many wonderful grandchildren and another blessing coming soon!


  3. At my first baby shower someone gave me an embroidered poem very similar to that one. Part of it read...there will be years for cooking and cleaning for children grow up when we're not looking. I bet I have that put away in a box in the attic somewhere. The years when the children were young really were the best years of life. I hope all young mother's realize that. Have a nice day!

  4. This is only the 2nd time I have read this and 1st for the whole poem!! Thank you!! I really love this!!

  5. Awwww, gotta love those baby feet! No words were ever truer. My grandchildren are growin' before my eyes. I can't believe I already have one driving and another just turned 13. In the stretch of eight of 'em I still have a baby...but not for long...he's turned one yesterday! {{{SIGH}}}

    God bless ya and have an excellent weekend my friend!!!

  6. I´ve never heard this song/poem. Very sweet and so true. I regret not having cherished those baby moments enough.

  7. How wonderful. And timelss is the word. Your blog brings back memories and it felt good checking out the Norwegian songs on internet.

    Here is a song I grew up with as a child in Norway.
    I know you can't read it, but the song refers to a sweet little child with eyes so blue, hair so silky, ears so small.
    Her face is soft like velvet, hands are small as a doll's and she has two small teeth in her mouth.....

    She can bite her toes and dance without clothes, and she can stand and show how big she is....etc.

    Vi har ei tulle med øyne blå,
    med silkehår og med ører små,
    og midt i fjeset en liten nese
    så stor som så.
    Så bløt som fløyel er hennes kinn,
    og hun er deilig og tykk og trinn
    med dukkehender og to små tenner
    i munnen sin.
    Og hun kan bite i sine tær,
    og hun kan danse foruten klær,
    og hun kan spise og stå og vise
    hvor stor hun er.
    Og Tulla rusker i pappas hår,
    og ler og vinker til den som går,
    og baker kake og lar oss smake
    på alt hun får.
    I baljen plasker hun, kan du tro!
    Vi hører aldri hun skriker no`.
    Nei, jammen skulle du se vår tulle
    hvor hun er god!

  8. yes i love it
    i have lived that way for the most part
    now I am trying to hang tight to the Grands while i can
    have had the 6 year old for the week and it went fast...but boy did we love it...I danced with her tonight at the 'Rhythm on the River' with a live band....she loved it... guess what? I have NEVER been able to dance and was always to embarrassed to try in front of people....who baby wanted me to dance with her (o:

  9. Can you believe it? I've never heard this poem before - but it sums up how I feel just beautifully!

  10. You are right that the wording is old fashioned but that is what makes it even more charming. This is so sweet. I know you are happy about the coming event in your family that is continuing to grow.

  11. I have never seen the entire poem. I had the first part done in counted cross stitch given to me as a gift when my son was born and it hung in his room. I saved it and gave it to them when my grandson was born. I would like to think I heeded that advice when my son was little, but I am so much better about it with my grandson!

  12. Love the poem. I don't truly miss those baby days, but I do look back on them with wonder in my heart and the sweetest memories. My husband's aunt once told me that when her kids were young, the house was a mess because when she came home from work, she wanted to be with them. She said in the beginning, it was so hard not to tidy and clean, but she realized, being a control freak, that she was missing out on precious time because of her need to clean.

  13. I never liked cleaning anyway, so I'm more than happy to just spend time with the grandkids. I do like the poem... if a young mom or dad didn't understand the message, this would really help sell it!

  14. The poem is wonderful. The message timeless. Thanks for sharing it.