Many years ago when I was a child with a baby-mad mother, we had a tray in the house with a picture of a baby with bricks and socks.  I have always remembered the first couple of lines of the rhyme, which was headed

Is there a baby in the house?
‘Look there!  there by the door,
there where a shoe and a crumpled sock
and a bright red block
and a short fat elephant clutter the floor,
and the signs are here …
A baby is near.’

Going through my parents’ archive boxes I came across the whole poem.  I know it’s sentimental,  but it brings my mother to mind more vividly than almost anything else:

Look there,
there by the stair
by the cellar stair to the washing machine,
there’s a stack of diapers that ought to be clean
and a clutter of strange-looking things to wear,
and the signs are clear …
a baby lives here.

Look there,
there by the table,
there where the milk drips down in a puddle
and fruit and cereal mix in a muddle
and a soiled bib swings from a silver cable,
all signs that are clear …
a baby eats here.

Look there,
there in the bed,
there where a red-faced cherub lies,
thumb in his mouth and tight-shut eyes,
and his bottom higher than his head.
Quiet, quiet, it’s perfectly clear …
a baby sleeps here.

Look there
look in the eyes
and look in the hearts
of those who watch while a baby sleeps
who will come at a call if he wakes and weeps
who forget the diapers and broken toys
who remember the tears and fears and joys
and the catch in the throat, and the heart’s clutch
when small hands fumble, and reach, and touch:
yes, look in their hearts, and the signs are clear …
a baby lives here.

(author unknown although it may have been produced by Johnson and Johnson in America and published in Life magazine)


16 thoughts on “IS THERE A BABY IN THE HOUSE?

  1. How wonderful that coming across that poem brought your mother back so vividly for you. funny how these things happen 🙂 and you are taken to times gone by and feel as if you are back in them for a time 🙂 wonderful!


    1. Yes, I felt sad and happy at the same time – my mother adored babies to the end of her life and could never get enough of being with small children!


      1. Awwww…… I love babies too…. but I don’t get to see many really…. but they are magical… not quite so enthusiastic about small children always… that must be a real grace….;)


  2. Oh gilly, how lovely that we could enjoy it as you still have it – read it to the grandchildren next time you see them, wicked, thanks for letting us enjoy it as well :)) xx


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