My two-year old son sat on the mat attentively watching the daycare educator as she sang “Miss Polly had a Dolly”. My heart swelled with pride as he did the hand actions in time with the song.
We sing a lot of nursery rhymes in our home, but “Miss Polly had a Dolly” was not in our repertoire and I had quite forgotten about this rhyme. So I googled to find out the words.
After committing the words and actions to memory, I merrily sang the nursery rhyme to my children for a couple of weeks.
Then I got to thinking…Why was the doctor in “Miss Polly” a man? And why wasn’t “Mr Wally” (err, there’s a surprising lack of male and unisex names that rhyme with the word dolly) looking after the sick dolly.
Then it began to irk me for lots of reasons.
- Our GP is a female.
- One of my key criteria for choosing the given names of both of my children was the name’s ability to sound distinguished, elegant and believable with “Dr” (PHD or medical, I don't mind).
- And I’m hoping to raise adventurous, kind, smart, generous global citizens who are curious and ask wise questions.
I decided I had several choices. I could choose to stop singing “Miss Polly had a Dolly”, I could choose to ignore my annoyance, or I could adapt the words.
I chose to adapt the words. So in our house, Miss Polly and her sick dolly are visited by a female GP. And I’ve also created a version where Mr Wally is looking after the sick doll.