Bore a Hole Bore a Hole

two babies wearing silly hats

Chitter and Chatter

I have another question for you today. It comes from Margie Bocko.

“I have a nine month old grandson. He is at that age that doesn’t like to get a diaper change. The other day I remembered a rhyme my mother used to use to calm the children. The rhyme went, while rotating your finger over their tummy moving downward, Bore a hole, bore a hole, stick a pig, and you poke their tummy. It still works. My mother would be 106 if she were still living. Do you know the origin of the rhyme. I would love to know what it means.”


It’s been several years since Margie asked her question here on the Blind Pig. I made this post about her question, but somehow never got around to publishing it. If you remember the saying please share your memories of it and if you know the meaning behind it please enlighten Margie and me.


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  • Reply
    August 26, 2021 at 5:46 pm

    My father had a different version..

    Bore a little hole in the telegraph pole and somebody stuck their finger in it!

    Same thing around the belly button.

    My grandson loves it.

  • Reply
    Melissa F Lockhart
    February 11, 2021 at 7:51 pm

    My grandmother (born 1912) sang it to my kids, I sing it to my grandkids. She’s from Walker County, AL. Irish extraction.
    “Boar a hole, (spin finger over belly)
    Boar a hole,
    Boar a hole,
    STICK a hog!” (poke baby in belly)

  • Reply
    Leonard “Rascal”Barnett
    September 14, 2020 at 9:59 am

    I’m 70 year’s old and I’m from Western Kentucky I have heard this sayin all my life and I have used it on my children,nieces,nephews,grandchildren and great grandchildren and it goes like this: Bore ah hole,bore ah hole,gettcha belly,gettcha belly,gettcha belly as you tickle there belly with your boring finger and get ready for lot’s of giggles.

    • Reply
      June 2, 2021 at 5:11 pm

      My great-grandmother (of German ancestry, raised in Southern Indiana) used to say this to me when I was a child. She was born in 1918. She sang hers (drawing out the words and adding emphasis at the end):
      “I booooore around, and boooooore around, and get. your. bel-ly but-ton!” She did the swirling finger on the tummy and said “button!” when she landed on the belly button. We all grew up doing this to babies to make them laugh. I never knew where it came from. Could it be a translation from a German rhyme?

  • Reply
    September 12, 2020 at 10:02 pm

    I heard it as a child and used it with my daughter and many other children for more than seventy years. I never thought about the origin until today. I guess it is one of the many things passed down through generations.

  • Reply
    September 12, 2020 at 7:33 pm

    My Daddy recited this anytime he was bouncing one of us and later his grandbabies on his knee making us giggle. He was NOT about to change a diaper! My Mama and others would do so as a distraction perhaps when changing. I never heard the ‘a’, just bore hole, bore hole, stick a peg (rather than pig). Fun memories.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    September 12, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    Bore a hole, bore a hole, poke him/her in the belly! I adapted this when my son was learning spelling, etc. He was nicknamed Critter and I called it the critter getter–whole hand with opening & closing fingers!

  • Reply
    Allison B
    September 12, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    I remember my momma doing that motion and saying when changing a babys diaper, or maybe drying from a bath, but have never heard anything of the origin.

  • Reply
    Brenda Moore
    September 12, 2020 at 1:55 pm

    Never heard of that one, but one passed down from my mother went like this: bumblebee comes out of the barn with a bagpipe under his and goes “BZZZZZ”, all while circling the index finger toward the bellybutton and ultimately tickling the little one into fits of laughter. Worked every time and still does on my 2-1/2 yr old granddaughter.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    September 12, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    I’m afraid I’m no help for Margie. Never heard of that saying. …Ken

  • Reply
    September 12, 2020 at 11:36 am

    I have never heard that. We always used “This Little Piggy” as we wiggled their toes. I have yet to see even a crying baby/toddler who wouldn’t pause that crying and try to smile a bit with that. What really mystified me was a young man at a home who had chosen a crying baby for his cell phone ring. His Mom and I agreed we had heard quite enough of that. I always felt sad instead of annoyed at the sleepy hungry crying little ones who were being dragged about by their Mom when they were obviously sleepy or hungry. I am a firm believer that when that baby cries something needs to be corrected. As a young and inexperience Mother, I once had two layers of heavy clothing on my baby on a very warm day. The crying ceased when a more experienced person pointed out I had her dressed too warm. You sure had your hands full with two. Will await to see if anyone knows the origin of your baby soother.

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    September 12, 2020 at 11:15 am

    We passed it down several generations except we say stick a peg in. I think that makes more sense.

  • Reply
    Judy Short
    September 12, 2020 at 10:25 am

    My mother and my grandmother always played this game when changing diapers. They would poke their finger in the tummy and say slowly “Bore a hole, bore a hole, bore a hole in the belly” and then poke in the belly button. The baby would lay there just focused in the rhyme and the finger in anticipation and then giggle when the hole was bored! My grandmother was Scotch Irish ancestry raised the the mountains of Eastern KY. She was heavily steeped in a lot of folklore and sayings.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    September 12, 2020 at 9:55 am

    What we did was circle the pointing finger down toward the baby’s tummy, chanting,
    “Bore a hole, bore a hole, where, where, where?”
    Then wiggle the finger around in the baby’s tummy button, saying,
    “Bore a hole, bore a hole, there, there, there!”
    The “hole” is the baby’s navel. You waited until your finger was all the way down before you said the word “there.” I never saw a baby who didn’t love this game!

  • Reply
    Gene Smith
    September 12, 2020 at 9:26 am

    I just remembered my mother’s saying when she was calming my baby brother: “If I was a bumblebee I’d bore me a hole in a hollow tree–and go ‘boom!’.” While speaking she would make circles with her finger above his belly, then give him the expected poke. It was the anticipation of the poke that made him smile.

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein
    September 12, 2020 at 9:26 am

    I never heard that one but I’m not a player at diaper time. This RN has never played concerning activities of daily living. Being clean is serious good health! Oh I’ve been known to hold a baby down with my legs across his or her legs and arms for a firm, business hold. Believe me, it’s not pleasurable but neither is nasty business all around a room while a toddler dances. Bore a hole? I think not. We have too many as it is and just about all of them leak. Yuk and yuk. Chatter and Chitter were adorable babies!!!! Too precious they were! I awoke this morning to all my favorite pots of flowers flung across the yard so my heart is sad and I’m a bit frustrated. Every year it happens and every year I swear it’s the last….

  • Reply
    Gene Smith
    September 12, 2020 at 8:31 am

    I think it is simply one of those delightful nonsense sayings that people come up with. It means nothing in particular.

  • Reply
    September 12, 2020 at 8:17 am

    Hi Tipper, I don’t know for certain the origin…but I found a eBook on Google in the Michigan University library entitled:”The Folk-Lore Journal” Volume IV, Jan – Dec 1886, that makes reference to the nursery rhyme “Heat a Womle” Pg. 151
    …on this page there are three other references to other sources of the rhyme…

    • Reply
      Ann Applegarth
      September 12, 2020 at 1:09 pm

      Interesting! I also noticed at the bottom of that page a version of one of my other favorite baby games: “This is the way the farmer rides.” Then the lady, the gentleman, and finally the name of the baby. The horse’s gait (bouncing of the baby on your knees) gets stronger with each name, and when you get to “And this is the way that Chitter rides,” you bounce as high as you dare. Such fun. “Trot, little horsie, go to town. . .” and “Triddy, troddy, Boston to buy a baby cake. . .” are two other good baby games (but not when changing diapers!).

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 12, 2020 at 7:04 am

    I’ve never heard of it but I’ll be interested to see if anyone else has heard it.

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