When my mom was pregnant with me, she read the poem/song called, “Song For a Fifth Child” and was very touched by it. She made a cross stitch of the last verse now known as “Babies Don’t Keep,” while pregnant with her fifth child (my little sister). She framed and hung it in our house near the kitchen.
While I was pregnant with my daughter Aurora, she gave it to me. I hung it in my son’s nursery until I had my daughter. Now it is hanging in her nursery.
My mom emailed me the poem when she found it recently. I absolutely love the cross stitch she made and the poem too so I thought I’d share it with you.
“Song For a Fifth Child,” by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton, first appearing in the Ladies’ Home Journal, October 1958.
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 as 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).
Oh, cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust, go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby. Babies don’t keep.
1958 copyright…Ruth Hulburt Hamilton
Pattern-Here’s a Babies Don’t Keep cross stitch pattern and a pattern of a mom and baby in a rocking chair
I hope you enjoy this poem and project as much as I do!
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I absolutely love this. And it’s so true!
Anita Fowler says
Thank you! I love it too. It really is so bittersweet.