Shy Dee Doze

The choir is on an endless loop.  The two altos carry the tune and the main body of the lyrics; the lone bass contributes what I guess we might charitably call the contrapuntal line, although to see it as melodic seems a bit much.

Shy dee doze

And there is, of course, the percussion contribution: off-tempo thigh slapping.  Off every tempo relevant here: that of the original song, the other singers, and of his own self.  

Shy dee doze

It’s an Edmonton Christmas Eve a lifetime ago, and a mixed family group is minivanning through the frozen streets.  “Whither?” an attentive front-row student asks.  “Why?” someone else enquires.

In truth, I’ve forgotten.  Are we off to see the lights at the provincial legislature?  Are we getting a ride home after Christmas dinner, held on the 24th as one of the few holdovers from our mother’s part-Danish heritage?  Dunno. But if the target and purpose of this trip are long lost, the backseat singing is forever burned into my memory.

Shy dee doze

There goes the bass again, albeit with some enunciation challenges suitable to the two-year-old he is, but with no reluctance to participate.  Every time his sisters cycle to the start of their preferred seasonal song, he’s ready.

Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
Had a very shiny nose

Their little silvery voices raise as one, and younger brother is ready.  Primed, in fact.  He knows only one line, and that imperfectly, but boy, is he in.

Shy dee doze

His timing never varies.  His enthusiasm never wanes.  As long as his sisters continue to sing, so will he.  And so we traverse the silent streets, in anything but silence.

It was funny then.  It’s funny still, in my mind’s eye and ear.  But as another Christmas cycles around, I wonder if that off-key two-year-old has something to offer me by way of a gift. Maybe some of that unselfconscious confidence in his own singing, and maybe some of that seemingly effortless stick-to-itiveness.

Use what talents you possess;
the woods would be very silent
if no birds sang there except those that sang best.
Attributed to Henry Van Dyke

So, in honour of a once-upon-a-time kidlet, Henry Van Dyke, Christmas, and my own song, here’s a seasonally appropriate shot from my growing collection of faces.  Not Rudolph, clearly, but one of the band.

Hook on back of bathroom door that reminded me of Rudolph.
Too much time spent in public restrooms, do you think?

Oh, and can you hear it?  They’re coming to my part again.

Shy dee doze

 

 

10 Comments

  1. Jim Taylor

    The evolution of speech mechanics in young children is a fascinating subject in itself. My mother used to tell me that I couldn’t say “sh” so ships were “sips.” Our neighbour’s first child, while growing up, couldn’t say the “J” sound, so he called me “Dim.” He’s embarrassed by the memory now; I still treasure it. He may have been prescient….
    DimT

    1. Isabel Gibson

      DimT – Yes, I understand there are standard substitutions that kids make as they develop control over their speech apparatus – “g” for “d” for example, so that “dark” becomes “gark” in the kid’s lingo. Some such get taken up and become part of the family’s lingo; we used “fuzzy wet” for “serviette” for years, and it has now spread to some friends. All things to be treasured.

Comments are closed.