Friday, 12 September 2008
The toddler term is in full swing. Today was the first session at a local ‘musical tots’ activity, in which toddlers beat the living daylights out of a variety of musical instruments (and occasionally, each other) while their parents desperately try to synchronise the words and actions of a range of different children’s songs. Being the only man there does have some advantages – as I think I might have said before! But being the only voice singing down the octave makes me feel strangely self-conscious. Now, I’m not afraid of singing on my own: I’ve got quite a decent voice, and I’m even paid to sing from time to time. Over the years, I’ve built up a solo repertoire extending from the Mozart Requiem to Gilbert and Sullivan (with all the usual suspects in-between) – a list to which I can now add such musical delights as ‘Zip, zip, zip (goes the zipper)’, ‘Tickle Bird’ and – a late oeuvre from the composer, this one – ‘Wind the bobbin up (tap, tap, tap)’. I’m not afraid of making a fool of myself, either. (Coming in on the end of a conversation with the other mums, I almost found myself signed up for next Wednesday’s breast feeding class! They said that I'd be very welcome.) But there’s something strangely inhibiting about rumbling along below the sweet soprano voices. I’ll get over it in time, no doubt. But it surprises me I feel that way. Fortunately, Charlie has no such hang ups, joining in with so much gusto that at one stage he disappeared head-first into the musical instrument box. Like a slow-motion sequence, or one of those dreams when you’re running fast but getting nowhere, I could see it happening in front of me but couldn’t get to him in time. However, when I plucked him from amid the tambourines and drums and rattles, I swear that he was wailing in the same key we were singing. That’s my boy!