Every time I put Tom to bed I recall the short weeks of unhearing bedtimes. I don't dwell on them - its more of a fleeting thought - but its there.
While Tom was in hospital, recovering from the meningitis that deafened him, we re-established his routine as quickly as we could. We felt, rightly or wrongly, that the restoration of any normality, however small, would reassure our desperately weak and sickly son.
Who am I trying to kid - in those early days it was as much for us as it was him. 'Things will be normal again' we told ourselves, sternly just in case we began to doubt it, and that included the bedtime routine. Since Tom was a few weeks old this had been the same: a story followed by a well established medley of 'Twinkle Twinkle', 'Baa Baa Black Sheep' and 'Row row row your boat' (the crocodile version) and finishing with his lullaby-playing music box. We knew he couldn't hear us but we felt it vital to carry on regardless. Stifle the tears and emote the songs with all our hearts. Switch on the dim light and soothing bubbles of the music box and hope that the visual stimulation went some way to filling the gap left by the absent tune.
More than a year on and the basic routine hasn't changed a jot. Tucked up in the Racing Car Bed we read a book or two (current favourites include Hairy Maclary and The Smartest Giant in Town), discuss how nice Tom's swamp is (the whole Shrek and Donkey thing shows no sign of aging), and then sing.
Occasionally we try and get Tom to sing the nursery rhymes to us - he knows them inside out. The best I ever get is:
'Twinkle twinkle little star,
that's enough daddy,
its my turn now'
Clearly the last two lines don't scan as well as the original but its creative. We finish with a lusty scream after which Tom whips his coils off and I count my blessings.
It could have been so different.