Mama had a baby…

This is how I figure it went down…

Once upon a time there was a nice family that lived in the suburbs, a Mama and a Papa and two young kids.  They had a little ranch house that looked the same as all the other houses in the neighborhood.  Mama and Papa had good jobs and they had two cars and overall, a pretty good middle class life. One day Mama got pregnant.  Nine months later they found themselves in the hospital ready to give birth to another baby.

So there they are, in the birthing room, everybody is screaming and yelling, it’s total chaos, Papa standing there trembling in the corner, freaking out ‘cause he doesn’t know what the hell to do. Mama is yelling shit at him like, “YOU DID THIS TO ME!!”  Then Mama’s pushing and yelling and screaming and pretty soon the baby comes out… and the doctor catches the baby…

…and then its head popped off.  Seriously… its… head… popped…right… off!  Or maybe Mama’s head popped off… you know, I’m not really sure… that parts not totally clear.  But whatever, it doesn’t really matter… somebody’s head popped off and that’s just some scary shit. I mean, giving birth is frightening enough when everybody’s head stays on. I remember when my daughter was being born and I’m standing there watching her come out, expecting her to be all clean and fresh, maybe wearing a nice new frilly pink Onsie or whatever.  Instead she comes sliding out, her head’s all smashed up, blood and gore everywhere.  I’m thinking, yeah this is a frickin’ miracle… it was a miracle that I didn’t throw up.

“Mr. Warner, congratulations on your new baby. Do you want to cut the cord?”

“Uhhh, seriously Doc?  Maybe this whole bloody scene won’t come flooding back from your memory banks next time you’re eating a hamburger, but me, yeah I think I’m traumatized for life. Now you want me to cut the cord?”

Okay, I didn’t really say that but I thought it, as I was cutting the cord with this giant pair of scissors that looked like something you’d prune shrubs with.  In any case nobody’s head popped off, like happened to those poor suburban folks.

We were at a park today, taking a walk, and my daughter picks up a dandelion, sticks it in my face and says “Mama had a baby and it’s head popped off’ and flicks the flower part of the dandelion off the stem with her thumb.  What the hell is that all about?  I used to do that as a kid too.  I don’t know where she learned it, it’s just one of those things that is passed down from generation to generation and nobody really knows why. So I looked it up but I couldn’t find any answers to the origin of this particular saying about giving birth and heads popping off and how the poor dandelion flower became the victim. One commenter thought it maybe had origins in medieval France and the use of the guillotine, but that didn’t make any sense.

“Mr. LeFevalaurentiereau, congratulations on your new baby.  Would you like to cut anyone’s head off?”

“Uhhh, seriously Doc?  Maybe this whole bloody scene won’t come flooding back from your memory banks next time you’re eating a Hasenpfeffer sandwich, but me, yeah I think I’m traumatized for life. Now you want me to cut somebody’s head off?”

See that just doesn’t make any sense.  So, I guess I’ll never know where the expression “Mama had a baby and its head popped off” came from, and what it has to do with dandelions.  That’s okay though… there are clearly more important things to be concerned with…

… like wiping dandelions under your chin to see if you like butter… or was that buttercups?



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20 responses to “Mama had a baby…

  1. “Mama had a baby and its head popped off” I know. But rubbing dandelions under the chin? Never heard of that.
    I’m glad you cut the cord. My husband wasn’t going anywhere near that. Fear of ruining his chili cheese slaw dog enjoyment, I suppose. (The Southern United States’ equivalent to the Hasenpfeffer sandwich.)

    • Yum… chili cheese slaw dogs… I’m guessing they probably look a little bit like afterbirth? Regarding cord cutting, I passed on child number two. I was a more composed and able to answer…”been there, done that”… or maybe it was just “no thanks.”

  2. bigsheepcommunications

    I’ve never heard that saying. I’m a little concerned, however, because you seem to be suffering from PDTSD (post delivery traumatic stress syndrome) and might want to get some help…

  3. That was hilarious…I always wonder where these saying come from as well!!

  4. Be thankful you weren’t at my bedside as I delivered 10 lb., 8 1/2 oz. Anna without an epidural. The nurse said, “Just give us one more push, Mrs. M.” and the nursing students who were watching me recoiled in horror as I screamed, “GET IT OUT!”

    Good times…


    P.S. The rubbing the flowers under your chin thing is buttercups…

  5. I do the “do you like butter thing?” with dandelions … they are easier to find than buttercups usually.
    I’ve never heard the “Mama had a baby and its head popped off” thing before: I’m not much of a gardener really.

  6. Margie

    I had never heard the “mama had a baby and it’s head popped off.” It would be interesting to do a poll to find out in which parts of the world this is a common saying.

    • It is interesting, I figured everyone would know that expression, at least in the U.S. and Canada. But its sounding like there are many people that have never heard it. Well, now you know what to say the next time you want to behead a dandelion!

  7. It was buttercups and I never heard the Mama thing either. It sounds AWFUL! Where do kids get this stuff from? Well, you looked and found no answer, so I’m not looking.

  8. Funny, sounds like more people have heard of the buttercups saying than the baby saying. I think it was supposed to be buttercups but lots of kids used dandelions because they are more readily available.

  9. There are too many idioms in this post for me to understand! I won’t make a fool of myself by asking what on earth it means that baby’s head popped off. Or rub daffodils under the chin.

  10. Oddly, I never ever heard that expression…and just asked my husband. He hasn’t either…it’s not a known saying on the West Coast. Although, my husband was about to lose his mind, and conscious state of being, during the first birth (guess that equates to head popping off?)…but he powered through it, yea for him. He feared the wrath of me and it help “ground” him. He was told No passing out was allowed or I’d beat him to a bloody pulp, or something like that, just before a big contraction sucked my breath away…
    Lake Forest, CA

  11. Okay- i have never heard anything of the sort. I am beginning to think you make this stuff all up. Haha.

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