Monday, November 23, 2015

Good-Bye to the Piano Man

We said good-bye to our Piano-Man Teacher tonight. He is a lovely man. He has worked with four of my kids for over a year. He had a talent for teaching chords, improvisations, and embellishments, in addition to the basics of piano theory and technique. He came to our house each week with such a cheerful and can-do attitude. It really was wonderful to watch the kids grow, under his tutelage, in their piano-playing skills.

But, the kids are done. While they enjoyed learning with the Piano-Man Teacher, over the last few months their hearts have not been in it. I know that I could have buttoned down and forced them to practice more. I know that I could have provided incentives for their continued participation. I am consciously choosing not to. 

Rose is in the high school choir this year. She has spent hours each day in vocal practice. She sits at the piano, not to practice the Piano Teacher's assignments, but rather to pick out the Alto part of the new choir piece she is learning. Her interests have turned from piano to voice. And I'm going to let her run with it.

Nonny is still a percussionist in the middle school band. Between that and the rigor of her school courses, she is feeling a bit strained. She still loves piano and wants to continue to progress and learn. But she's at a point where she wants to concentrate on learning individual piano pieces rote. And I can help with that! So she has also opted to forgo piano lessons.

Monroe and Joe still love piano, but after a long day of sitting at school all they want to do when they get home is run and play. Sitting for another half hour or so to practice piano has become awful for them.

The truth is, I felt kind of bad about signing them up for piano lessons in the first place. The reason...  I play piano and I have taught piano. But when I tried to teach them some basics, they would get frustrated with me and with themselves. I talked to my Mom about it years ago. My Mom is a talented pianist, but she didn't teach her own kids to play the piano. She had other people do it. Her reason...her kids (ie. me and my siblings) would get frustrated with her and with ourselves. When she first realized that, she and another piano teacher decided to swap kids. My Mom taught that gal's kids piano and that gal taught us piano. And surprise, surprise: the kids started learning the piano instead of getting into fights with their Moms.

Although I will miss the Piano-Man and the beautiful music he brought into our home, I think we'll be alright. He gave my kids the fundamentals. He encouraged them to find joy and fun in the piano, to not be afraid to make things up, and to not fall apart if you made mistakes. My kids may be done with the Piano-Man, but they are definitely not done with the piano. We are going to restart piano lessons with Mom.

Wish us luck!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

At Home Day

Nonny's surgery went well. Her septum is now straight; Her enlarged adenoids are removed; and her nasal turbinates are reduced. She was amazed when the doctor removed the packing and she could actually breathe through her nose! That only lasted for a little while. The reason: due to the surgery, she can't blow her nose and she is having some drainage & bleeding. SO...she has gauze under her nose to catch the mess.

The surgery was Tuesday. I took the day off from work to stay with her and care for her. (Except for an excursion to the School Board Meeting in the evening.) Wednesday was Veteran's Day, so everyone was off from work and school. Today, Thursday, school and work resumed, so Dad, Rose, Joe, Monroe, and Jim are gone. I was supposed to go into work today. Baby comes with me and Beth attends preschool. But...I didn't think Nonny was ready to be left alone yet. So Beth, Baby, and I stayed home with her. 

She slept until about 9:00 a.m. When she woke up and saw us still here, she was happy and relieved. She did not want to be left alone, but also didn't want me to feel like I had to stay. Goofy kid! Some of her friends' parents work. She knows that it is a big deal for parents to stay home with sick kids and that jobs can sometimes be at stake. Lucky for us, my boss's main priorities are the same as mine...Our Kids! :)  

Hubby forwarded the work phone to my cell phone. My work tasks for today are to monitor e-mails and update the business finances. Easy-peasy! I figured I'd work on those once the baby fell asleep. But while he was still awake, I thought: Since I'm home, I might as well start a load of laundry. Which took all of one minute. Then I looked at the dishwasher. It hadn't been unloaded this morning (a certain kid's chore). Usually I'd leave it for the kid to do when they got home, but our dishes are already backed up because our sink wasn't working for a few days. So I went ahead and unloaded the dishwasher, reloaded and started it, then hand-washed a load of dishes, and cleaned the sink. That took about ten minutes with Melanie's help. I also took a few minutes to pick up the kitchen and dining room floors. house is still a big mess. It is far from complete. But I can feel the difference. AND it is kind of irritating because it took hardly anytime at all AND every job I did was supposed to have been done by a kid. EXCEPT, my kids didn't do those chores because the chores were too hard or too long or I always make them do the work. The funny thing is, while I was pregnant, I was too sick and tired to follow through on the kids getting their chores done. So my house slowly got grungier. And after I had the baby I was too sleep-deprived to even notice if the house was clean. And since going to work, by the time I return home in the evenings I am so focused on getting dinner made, kids' homework complete, scriptures read, fights resolved, etc., that I haven't stood my ground and made the kids actually get their chores done. And I've been too tired to get them done myself. 

Today, staying home to care for Nonny and having my two youngest children with me, I was able to catch up on some housework while spending quality time with the kiddos. Now, my house has a long ways to go before it can be officially deemed "clean", but I can see that it's possible and I am recommitted to the priority of teaching my kids the value of Hard Work and Cleanliness!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Jumping Back In

Well, the best way for me to re-start blogging is probably to just Jump right back in and start writing!

Beth turned 3 in September. About three weeks later, she had surgery. It was a planned surgery. She had her tonsils and adenoids removed. Her tonsils were quite enlarged! She also had tubes put in her ears. The ENT told us that her one of her ears was so full of fluid that he had to get a second something-or-other to suck out the gunk that the first sucker-thingy couldn't remove. That news made me feel great. I had really been debating whether or not to go through with the surgery for a couple of months. I knew that she needed it, but at the same time...She is Just a BABY! Every time I looked at her and thought about her having general anesthesia so the ENT could do his work, I would feel awful. And it didn't help that the hospital has to go over all the bad things that could happen. At the end, I just had to grit my teeth and keep saying: This is what her body needs to function properly!

I am glad to report that she had a quick and full recovery.

Tomorrow, Nonny is having her turn with the ENT. She will have her adenoids removed, a deviated septum straightened out, and something done with the turbinates(?) in her nose. I am not a medical person, so I am not getting terms correct. Sorry about any confusion that creates.

To prepare for tomorrow's surgery, we have smoothie ingredients and popsicles in the freezer. I have ingredients for chicken veggie soup. We have lots of kleenex ready for her drippy nose. AND she has movies picked out for watching tomorrow afternoon. I don't think she'll feel good enough to actually watch the movies tomorrow, but she feels good that they are prepped and ready. :)

In other news, Joe turned twelve in October. He graduated from Primary and received the Aaronic Priesthood. It is a bit weird to think of him as a Priesthood holder, since he's still my squishy little baby boy. Whenever I tell him that he is still my little boy, he is quick to point out that he is almost as tall as me. I'm 5' 8". He is about 5' 5". I told him even if he does manage to outgrow me, I'm also going to call him my short, little boy.