Summer’s Song

Soothing (adjective):Having a gently calming effect

There was a song I discovered, that gave me a special power. It wasn’t a secret song, but a very well known one in fact. But it was special, for it soothed babies.

I kid you not, when I say that I am a terrible singer. Awful. I’m a much better dancer. Dancing was always my hobby when I was growing up, so I attended years of dance classes and competitions. There’s a stack of medals for rock and roll, ballroom and latin, disco and line dancing, boxed up in the garage somewhere. Dancing routines suited me, but I never had the knack for singing.

“Would you rather be a better dancer or singer?”

James is a fan of these types of questions and we’ve both previously gone with “singer”. He’s much more musical that I am (I sometimes think his dream job would be Bert from Mary Poppins – you know, the one man band! I’ve drawn the line at buying James a harmonica though – not a pretty sound!) so my role in our relationship is to sing really badly and James kindly encourages it.

When our goddaughter was born, I went to meet her. She was a newborn and (as they do!), she started to cry. So I sang a song, and she actually liked it?! It wasn’t a one-off, a few times she cried, and a few times I bounced her around singing the song and she settled.

As the years passed, many, many babies were born. And the song kept soothing them. I might have mentioned it to James, I’m not sure. It must be something to do with the rhythm or cadence of the song, it definitely wasn’t my voice, but it was working.

Then our niece was born (My Baby should have been just 4 weeks younger) and she was notoriously difficult with anyone other than her parents. After a few seconds in any new person’s arms, she would scream and the person holding her, would quickly pass her back. We were at a birthday party and she wouldn’t go to anyone. She was wailing in my mum’s arms and I said “let me try”, so she did. I sang the soothing song and she settled and she stayed with me, and we were all stunned, it was like a mini miracle.

When Summer was born, I sang her one song. It was the soothing song. And I haven’t been able to sing it since. I also know that I will never sing it to another child again, unless that child is my own. So, on Summer’s 10 month birthday, here it is. I think you just might know this one:

Oh, the grand old Duke of York
He had ten thousand men
He marched them up to the top of the hill
And he marched them down again

And when they were up, they were up
And when they were down, they were down
And when they were only half-way up
They were neither up nor down

The print up on the wall in what should be Summer’s nursery

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(1) Comment

  1. Karen Palmer says:

    Much love to you at 10 months of Summer xx
    And that song wasn’t what I was expecting at all! But great choice! And how lovely that Summer was able to hear her mummy sing it. While you are keeping it safe, I’m sure you’ll find an another lively children’s dance song to soothe friends’ and families’ children and continue your miracle streak 🙂 xx

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