Children’s Rhyme

Children’s Rhyme

(Girls name and boys name) sitting in the tree


First comes love then comes marriage

Then comes the baby in the baby carriage

Claire first witnessed this chant when she was in third grade. There was a girl and a boy in her grade, she does not remember who they were, who ended up holding hands for a brief five seconds, were mercilessly teased for having done so by chanting this little rhyme. It was repeated over and over again until either both the girl and the boy ran away embarrassed, one ran away embarrassed, or one owned up to what happened and they became giggly. Claire remembers the first time it happened to her was when she was around thirteen years old and she shared her first kiss with a guy in her class and someone witnessed it and immediately began the chant and soon many others joined in. While she was embarrassed during the chant, she acknowledges that being caught was kind of fun and then if the boy actually liked you back it cemented you two together or at least made it known that you were with him.

Claire believes that this chant is meant to poke fun at relationships and embarrass the other people but it also highlights childhood insecurities about boy/girl relations. While the goal of the chant was to make the two people feel embarrassed, by making fun of the other people, it allowed children to cover up their own insecurities about boy/girl relationships.

I agree with Claire’s perspective on this and I also think this is another one of those childhood rhymes that addresses an adult subject without directly addressing it. This chant made Claire and her friends feel like they were being involved in the adult world of dating. Thus this type of folklore was almost like a rite of passage in verbal form, allowing Claire and her friends as well as other kids to start to understand the dating world and enjoying the opposite sex without completely and fully immerging themselves into it before they were ready.