We walked back from the shops this weekend, buggy laden with everything bar the child it was designed for. He was busy running his hand over all the brickwork and other surfaces that lined the pavement
It was not a quick journey.
Part way home, Tom shifted verbal tack; he stopped babbling about what he was touching and started babbling about something else. It took a few moments to catch on (we’re not as quick at getting into his ‘thought bubble’ as Jacqueline would like – this is because Tom’s bubble is somewhat irregularly shaped and he seems prone to wild leaps of association) and then noticed the odd ‘clap clap clap’ punctuating his monologue.
Tom was singing to himself – ‘Wind the Bobbin Up’ is something of a Granny’s favourite, complete with actions – a habit he unsurprisingly lost touch with between meningitis and implant.
The devastation that you feel when grieving or experiencing tragedy has a painful and complex texture. There is the smothering, non-specific heaviness that blankets the everyday; the chinks of light that fall through flaws in the weave and offer a glimpse of what came before and what can only be hoped is ahead, and then there are the scratching, stabbing threads that remind of what has been taken away and, for me, are the hardest to bear.
The absence of Tom’s spontaneous bursts of confused song chafed until I wept. He had perfected ‘Baa baa, little star, ee-aye, ee-aye oooh’, seeing nothing wrong in segueing his favourite bits from several songs into a glorious remix. I missed that song so much. I would hear it through the baby monitor as he fell asleep, a gentle indicator that he was happy with his lot and was slipping into an easy, contented slumber.
And now he’s at it again. A (rare) quiet moment on a car journey may be punctuated by a ‘Rock, rock…’ (Tom’s instruction to sing ‘Row, row, row the boat’ – the verse with the crocodile is his favourite) and he’ll have a stab at the theme tunes to ‘Bob the Builder’ and ‘Postman Pat’. As tuneless as his parents but it matters not a jot – it makes us all stupidly, disproportionately happy.
So we joined in with Tom and treated Ruddington to a verse or two of
‘Wind the bobbin up,
wind the bobbin up,
clap clap clap’
The Broekhuizen Family Singers won’t be appearing near you any time soon but, if you happen down our street, we do requests.