Mama had a baby and its head popped off

I’m pretty certain everyone knows this, but I’ll explain just in case.

When I was in kindergarten, I learned this: You pick a blooming dandelion, put your thumb underneath the blossom, and, in a sing-song manner, say, “Mama had a baby and its head popped off”. At the word “head”, you give the flower head a fillip and off it goes.

I learned dandelion-popping around 1973. Does anyone know how old this practice is? And is there any hidden meaning in the phrase?

Well, nothing on Google.

I can date it back to at least 1971 myself.

Whoa–I’d never heard of this. Monsters!

Never heard of that one but in Louisiana we do/did the lady bug one. You catch a ladybug and say the rhyme.

“ladybug, ladybug, fly away home.
your house is on fire and your children will burn.”

Then you blow the ladybug off your fingers.

There is a book called something like 'the subversive folklore of childhood" or something like that.

found it here

The lady-bug poem is in the Mother Goose book I’ve had since the late 70’s or early 80’s. It has a nice picture for that page, since it shows the baby ladybugs getting away unharmed.

As for the dandylions…I guess my friends and I are “mosters” too, since we did the same thing. That’s how I learned how awful the liquid in the stem tastes, since it stays on your fingers.

As a youngster in Michigan in the 60s, I never heard of the dandelion-head popping connection. Our custom was to say that if your chin turned yellow upon holding up the dandelion blossom to it, it showed that you liked butter.

I was popping off heads as early as 1962 -no idea where the practice came from.

I have no idea where or when it started, but I’d like to let everyone know that I’m doing my part to pass it down to the next generation.

Incidentally, we always did it as “Mama had a baby and her head popped off.” Don’t know if “her” was Mama or baby.

Sparteye, we used to do that, but with buttercup flowers…

Ahh the joys of youth

…Still trying to picture somebody being in kindergarten in 1973…

Your supposed to pop DANDELION heads off?!!…oops

Yea, we did the dandelion popping, too. The girls would do the rhyme, but us boys would loop the stem through itself, and then use that as a way to yank on the end of the stem and shoot the dandelion head like a little flower gun. The stem was elastic enough to put enough tension into the junction of head and stem to shoot the blossom a couple of feet or so.

Wow, I don’t think I’ve thought of that in nearly 30 years.

We did it in Illinois in the 70’s too. and the rubbing under the chin thing, but we said it meant you were boy crazy.

“There was a farmer who had a dog, and Bingo was his name-o”

So, is “Bingo” the name of the farmer, or the dog?
I’d forgotten all about popping the heads off dandelions. Around here we did it too. (mid-70’s) Girls would rub the yellow dandelion heads under each other’s chins, it would show if they “liked a boy”. Boys would mash 'em under each other’s chins, it would make a big sticky, yellow blob.

Something else to teach Soupo.

We didn’t do this dandelion thing when I was in kindergarden in 1964-'65. When we walked along the sidewalk we used to avoid stepping on the “monkey squares,” though. Some of the sidewalk squares had little metal discs tacked into them – those squares were the “monkey squares.” We’d leap over them hopscotch-style.

Picture this: I was in kindergarten in 1953. All through school, I never heard the dandelion game. I guess I led a very protected life.

I was BORN in '73, and clearly recall doing: 1) the dandelion “head-pop” thing, 2) the dandelion “butter-like” thing, 3) the ladybug “fly-away-home” thing and, 4) the “loop-through-stem-shot” thing (although we used a different type of weed).

I also used to pick snap-dragons and make them “talk” by gently squeezing the sides of the flower.

There was also a type of flower in my childhood backyard (honeysuckle?) that had very sweet nectar. We would pick a single one and pull the stamen (or pistol? spelling and flower pieces/parts are probably way off) through the back end of the flower which would produce a single drop to eat.

We did the “head popped off thing” as kids in the late 60’s/early 70’s. My kids do it now, but I don’t know where they learned it from. They also do the buttercup reflection test, but it doesn’t work so well on me, since I have a beard.

Postin’ “me too!”
Like some brain-dead AOLer.