Shoud or showd is an old Scots word meaning rock or sway. So a boat shouds on the waves, the wind shouds the trees, and a child has a showdie on mammy's knee.
A great excitement of my Scottish childhood in the North East was the village fair at the old Jubilee Hall. A row of wonderfully colourful shoudin-boats was set up outside and pairs of us kids could climb on board, pull the overhead ropes and set our boat swinging mightily high. Shoudin-boats, or shuggy-boats if you're from the other North East, in England, or swing-boats if you're from the south, are still to be found in vintage fairgrounds.
An old friend from Aberdeen remembers her dad giving her a showdie in a blanket. It's a lovely way to rock a baby, and bigger children can get a showdie if there are two of you to hold the blanket. So cradle baby in a blanket, gather the sides, one in each hand, and 'showdie showdie'. You can rock baby side to side or swing gently forward and back like a very little shoudin-boat. Sing a Scots rocking song like Bee-o bee-o (Sleepytime Playsongs track 15) as you shoud the blanket.
Bee-o bee-o, bonny bonny bee-o, Bee-o bee-o, bonny babe o' mine...
(collected by Alison McMorland)