My mother and your mother . . . Who’s It?

I woke up this morning with a childhood rhyme running through my head.

We used it to determine who was “It” in games of tag, or blind man’s bluff, or kick the can, or whatever. We all stood in a circle with one “duke” extended. Someone said the rhyme and pounded a different fist in the circle on each word.

My mother and your mother were hanging out the clothes.
My mother punched your mother in the nose.
What colour was the blood?

Whoever owned the duke that coincided with the word “blood” yelled out a colour.


The person then carried on hitting fists in the circle on each letter of the colour word.


Wherever the word ended, that person was It.

I spent some time puzzling over why—heavens why—this rhyme popped into my brain. I hadn’t thought about it in at least four decades. I moved on to analyzing the words. How gruesome! I then pondered who came up with this violent ditty first. What kind of society normalized hand-to-hand combat amongst mothers?

I made me realize the responsibility we have for today’s children.

As children we carved out gun-shaped pieces of wood and played Cowboys and Indians. Guess who always won? Now I cringe about the violence AND racism.

Speaking of racism, another popular It-picking rhyme we used as children started with the words “Eeeny meeny.” Remember that? Would we ever think of using the version we did in the 1960s and 1970s now? You couldn’t pay me to.

But my friends and I played those games, and then went home to mothers who didn’t come to fisticuffs with the neighbours. We recited those rhymes in the playgrounds of schools that taught us about other history and other cultures. Because of the stability and the education, we were able to grow into adults with an expanded world view.

Our responsibility for today’s children is to provide the stability and ensure the education for all, so that violence and racism affect the fewest members of our future generation.

We’re It!


About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on March 14, 2017, in Arlene Smith, Arlene Somerton Smith, Inspiration, life, Nostalgia and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Yes!

    I was in my late teens or early twenties when I learnt how horrible ring around the rose-y was – I was shocked. And then got thinking about eenie-meenie; what certain ju-jubes and nuts were called and was outraged that this happened. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even know what the derogatory term meant – it was never used in my house. Recently, I learned that my Grandmother took a firm stand against racism back in the 50s by insisting that a certain statue that was common in the area be removed before she moved into her new home. I am shocked that love for our fellow human is somehow no longer fashionable. It scares me. Thanks so much for this insightful post!

  2. I was going to post this on the blog but it required my email addy which I guard assiduously. 😉

    I remember the EENIE MEENIE … game when I was a kid and it included the N word which is forbidden to say these days.

    I can truthfully say I had NO idea what the N word stood for. It was just one of those silly words found in kids rhymes that generally made no sense, like EENIE MEENIE itself.

    At some point EENIE MEENIE… was changed to “…catch a TIGER by the toe.” At least that made sense.


    • Turns out you did post this to the blog 🙂 But no worries. No one sees your email.
      Yes, we taught our kids the “tiger” version, but still every time I say the rhyme the version I was taught first runs through my head. Is that bad, or good to know how things have changed? Both, perhaps.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The Zinormous Canvas

Make a Choice Adventourous Stranger

We Chase Success

*Let's Not Just Chase It, Let's Capture It Forever*

Water for Camels

Encouragement and Development for Social Workers and Those with a Mission of Helping Others


Think हटK , Be AWESOME !!!


A peek into Megha's mind

Life via Window

Canvas of stories, fiction and feelings.

Nothing Gilded, Nothing Gained-Author Adrienne Morris

Books, Art and the Writing Life at Middlemay Farm

spirit sage

through the eyes of a profound beholder

The Millennial Pastor

An iPhone Pastor for a Typewriter Church


Be A Warrior 🎯 And Get Out From The Misconceptions Of Your Life!!


awakening to the sacred feminine presence in our lives

Dr. Jen Gunter

Wielding the lasso of truth

and the words that echo..

a lot of words...

Hurry Up & Wait

Random thoughts and a collection of ideas, stories and photos

Alex on Faith

Growing in faith together!

Be Inspired

Journey from severe depression - Self healing - Acceptance - Learning - Growth - Connecting - Understanding - Being Unique


« me arrodillo por las noches ante tigres que no me dejarán ser - lo que fuiste no será otra vez - los tigres me han encontrado pero no me importa. »

%d bloggers like this: