I sit at the table with my one-year-old son beside me – he plays with wooden blocks and sings to himself – an instinctual meditational hum. The sun is warm outside but we are in our flat, shaded and cool. We have been listening to BBC Radio 3 but the classical music became too eerie for me, and so I popped Stormzy on. I for one am delighted he has become a British household name.
Since first hearing ‘Vossi Bop’ on the radio I appreciated his lyrical poetry, yet there was a disconnection because I felt that I lacked the cultural and social understanding of Stormzy’s core vernacular. Somehow I felt undeserving to listen to it, or inferior in some way, but I was also aware that I could be missing out on something great. His performance at Glastonbury enabled me to overcome my misgivings.
I watched Stormzy headline Glastonbury live on my iphone and although I was shattered from my busy mama day I watched Stormzy avidly to the very end because his show brought something bigger than music, grime, dance, politics and celebrity culture to the table.
The more I watched, the more I felt increasingly excited to be celebrating a great cultural feat that Stormzy has achieved – his showmanship oozed a raw elegance. I began to understand the humanity of his work – in maintaining a language he knows best, the inner workings, the nuts and bolts of his mind where divulged for all to experience and it was nothing short of captivating. And ever since that moment I have been sharing the Stormzy love.
Presently, Sholto brings me one of his shoes, I suspect as a peace offering. He got quite shirty with me over having his nappy changed moments earlier. I make a point of thanking him for the shoe and he waddles off once more – looking rather pleased with himself for making amends.
After talking about Stormzy and the power (if you will) of language I am reminded that Sholto at present doesn’t have the tool of language at the tip of his tongue – he is confined to the expression of his body. Squeals of joy or pain, the telling smile or damming frown upon his face help to give his caregivers an idea of what he is trying to convey and yet I wonder how often we get it wrong. Hats off to him, the energy he expends communicating with us for his own survival is endless and sometimes Mama is distracting herself with her own language of writing, which only makes Sholto’s task harder.
It’s not often I write with him around but today I don’t have an option. He squawks (a happy shrill) and then he notices the washing machine whirling round and around – a fascinating pastime for a toddler I can tell you. This reminds me, the sun is shining and I must at all costs utilise the kind offer of a friend’s washing line, who lives down the road. We have no outside space and no clever way of suspending the washing between the nearby buildings like I recall seeing in Venice.
As you can imagine, a joiner for a partner and a toddler equals lots of smeared clothes be it wood glue or half masticated food. Our laundry basket hasn’t been empty since the day we bought it.
Sholto is still pottering about but the air has changed. We have reached a point where the love triangle between my child, my laptop and me has combusted in jealousy – my typing has become too much for poor Sholto.
And how could I blame him, for if he continued to play unaided and quietly by himself I would continue to pursue my desire to write this post – and that is not a necessity in keeping Sholto fed, watered and clean. In due course I will return.
It has been 72 hours since I ‘left’ you in order to care for Sholto. Better late than never and perhaps I gained some other perspective and clarity that would not have befallen me if I was uninterrupted by my child’s needs for survival.
A whirlwind of banal activity prevailed upon me in that time lapse. I’m proud to be a stay at home mama but how can I describe mopping the floor for the umpteenth time and make it sound alluring? If you walked in on me now, you would smell the bleach that I frugally dripped into the bucket – as though I was carefully displacing coloured inks into a vat
of water about to be used for marbling – I wish! Often I loose myself in the activity of mopping – the thought of doing it is so much worse than actually doing it (a bit like exercise). I find yoga or mopping free up some area of my mind – perhaps the repetitive process has something to do with this housework meditation I experience?
For now I shall leave you there, I feel a number of tangents of my mind have been blurted out and I don’t wish to confuse this post with any more.
Here is a short clip of Stephen Fry on What Makes Us Human. It is a fun and passionate opinion of language. Please click on the link below.