Gabrielle Giffords Singing: What Hope Feels Like

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, left,is shown with her husband, NASA astronaut Mark Kelly. She loves motorcycles and yoga, and is as comfortable in a business suit walking the halls of Congress as she is clad in leather riding gear at the famed Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. She holds a master's degree in urban planning, yet can mount a tire in a flash. Pretty and petite, sometimes soft-spoken, she will take on even her most ardent adversaries and try talking them down with a firm hand but also a smile. Said one friend of Giffords: "She really pretty much defies a lot of description." Special section: Tragedy in Tucson
AP Photo/Office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, NASA astronaut Mark Kelly. (AP)

(CBS/AP) PHOENIX - After the shots heard around America and weeks of tough rehab, the prospect of hope for Gabrielle Giffords and her family looked like this: "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and "Happy Birthday to You."

Those are reportedly the words that the Congresswoman mouthed as friends and family sang along. That's according to an email from her mother Gloria Giffords, who said hospital staff are surprised at the "amazing things" that have happened, reported the Houston Chronicle.

There have been other uplifting signs from Giffords who began intensive rehabilitation at TIRR Memorial Hermann in Houston late last month. 

Giffords spoke briefly with her brother-in-law by telephone Sunday afternoon as he orbited aboard the International Space Station, The New York Times reported. The 40-year-old beat one of her nurses at tic-tac-toe and has changed from "kind of a limp noodle" to someone who is "alert, sits up straight with good posture," and had been doing squats and repetitive motions to build her muscles and walking through the hospital's halls while holding onto a cart, according to emails from mom.

Last week she even asked for toast with her breakfast.

These are trivial matters for most people, but hugely meaningful steps for Giffords and anyone recovering from a traumatic brain injury.

Rehabilitation specialists say brain injury patients who regain speech typically begin to do so about four to six weeks after the incident. Giffords was shot five weeks ago in an incident that left thirteen others injured and six dead, including a 9-year-old girl.

And while no one can say how completely Giffords will recover, right now "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" is a very hopeful melody.