Once upon a time, I enjoyed singing. I can remember loving singing in the car with my family – it was how we passed the time. Old campfire favourites, fun kid songs, you name it. Then it started. My sister glaring at me when I wanted to sing, demanding that our parents tell me to sing more quietly, complaining that I was ‘throwing her off’. Then a friend at school asked me if I knew that there was more than one note in O Canada. Another asked, “why,” when I wanted to join the choir. Slowly I developed the understanding that I couldn’t sing well, and that people would appreciate it if I didn’t try. I did keep trying. I asked my father for singing lessons – after all, I’d had piano lessons, and Tasha had had flute lessons all through high school. But his solution was that I join his church’s choir. I was so desperate that I tried that. It didn’t help.
So I sang when alone. I sang in the car if I had trusted friends there, but not if the windows were open. I rarely sang in my own apartment for the few years before Cameron arrived, as it’s far from sound proof.
But then Cameron arrived. Singing came back.
It was a slow return, but now not a day goes by that I don’t sing some made-up-on-the-spot song. Often there’s no tune in particular, just what sounds right. Usually it’s when trying to find something, and I’ll sing loudly (and deliberately badly),
Oh where, oh where, did my shoooooes go? Oh where, oh where did they gooooooo? I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t kno-o-ow, so I’ll keep singing this awful song!
Repeat until item is found, changing the words at will to include details of where you last had them, why you want them, where you’ve looked, etc.
For months I would sing to the tune of “The Grand Old Duke of York,”
It’s time to change your bum.
It’s time to change your bum.
It’s smelly and it’s wet and you’re sitting in a swamp,
Yes it’s time to change your bum.
There’s one I have to thank my friends Paul and Joanne for, as the lyrics originated with them when their older daughter was itty-bitty. I outright stole it, but have changed the lyrics to suit potty training. To the tune of “Little Teapot,”
You’re my little Jellybean,
You’re short, you’re cute.
I love you when you holler, I even love you when you hoot.
When you get all filled up, then you’ll toot.
Get on the potty, quick!
Poop, poop, poop.
We even tidy up to a simple tune.
Tidy up! Tidy up! Everybody, tidy up!
Repeat ad nauseum, changing ‘everybody’ to ‘Cameron is helping,’ ‘Mommy is helping,’ and if it’s not going well, ‘Cameron won’t you help me’, and ‘Mommy won’t do it all.’
There are of course the standards, the ones with fairly set lyrics, and we cycle through them. You are my Sunshine, Hush Little Baby, the Wheels on the Bus, and a favourite lately, The Fox Went out on a Chilly Night, are now routinely sung on the bus. And nobody glares. Nobody asks me to stay in one key. I’ve even been told that I have a lovely voice. Maybe it’s the mother-singing-to-son effect, or maybe I’m not as bad a singer as I was led to believe. Whatever. It doesn’t matter – I have a fan. Who asks me sweetly and sleepily as we stand in the dark infront of the livingroom window before bed, when we’ve said goodnight to the city, the trees, the cars and trucks, and the neighbours, “Mommy? Sing me the Fox Song pleeeease?”