Photo: It’s cold and gray and wet and windy and pretty here in Massachusetts! And the boys are just so damn cute in their little rain slickers…

So a few weeks ago, I had to take the boys into town to get their flu shots, and I timed it in a way that I could get the shots, play around a little bit on the campus where we go, and then pick up The Husband after work. I am, indeed, a master manipulator of time and space. Of course, in my rush of keeping the day on schedule, I neglected to pack a snack for the trip. No cheerios, no PB&Js… not even apple juice. What? So unlike me… So when I picked up The Husband and Goggle Now gleefully informed me that it was a 90 minute drive back from the city to MetroWest, he and I needed to make a decision… and we decided to cut our losses and go to our favoritest favorite Mexican restaurant to wait things out.

This is a bit of a big deal. Babies in restaurants are one thing…they sit and make noise and they are cute and the worst thing that happens is that they cry and you bounce them on your knee. Toddlers in restaurants are a whole ‘nother kind of experience, because toddlers don’t know how to act. The Husband and I usually avoid going with the boys because a) restaurant bills for 4 instead of 2 are… shocking and b) it’s too much like work keeping little boys entertained so nobody has a good time and the food doesn’t taste as yummy. But we were stuck and I just couldn’t eat McDonalds and it was early enough that there wouldn’t be a crowd, so we shrugged, took a deep breath, and decided to make this happen.

And here is the reason why I’m sharing all of this: Sitting in this empty room, listening to fantastic mambo sound, the boys took out the forks from their little folded napkins and started to tap those forks against the table. It didn’t take long before I was ready to take the forks away, because referee mama is always refereeing, but The Husband stopped me.

The boys were drumming along to the musical beat, in unison, in the correct rhythmic time. For seriously. I’m not joking. That’s not me being “that mom” like, “oh my kids are special,” that’s me reporting a thing that actually happened. It isn’t wholly surprising: My grandfather was musically inclined (choir), so was my father (choir, Army Chorus for a while) and my husband plays several instruments and played for the Mighty Sound of Maryland during college. They come by it honestly. They’re always singing in the car anyway, as I’ve reported on many occasions, and Ursa Minor, especially, really loves songs with a driving beat.

Now… this presents big horrible bad things for me. Why?  Because now my Husband is on a mission:

“Did you notice how the boys were drumming at the table at the restaurant a few days ago?”

“I notice, sometimes, that [Minor] really likes to imitate the drum sound in [any song title here]…”

“Hey, are they doing any drumming or other instrument playing at school? We should really think about that…”

Awww, baby… I see your weather balloons. I see them.

So I launch my own last night when he starts up:

“You know, I don’t really have the capacity or training to formally teach the boys any musical stuff. Maybe we should think about enrolling them in some sort of lessons or maybe a camp over the summer?”

My husband had been anticipating this: “You know, this is really the best age for organic musical exploration. If we make it a chore, they will hate it and never want to do it… lessons are probably best in 1st or 2nd grade. That’s when I started lessons… but my parents just exposed me to a lot of musical instruments in the meantime and, well, that was helpful, you know?”

Oh… I see. I like how he used “organic” as the correct buzzword in context. Very nice.

Listen, I’m just not that chick. I’m not that chick who has a whole hell of a lot of tolerance for the noisy toys. If it is a toy that talks, or screams, or sings or whatevers, I’m alls about banishing it to grandma’s, making it an “outdoor toy” (read: let it get rained on and that runs out the batteries), putting it “on vacation” (read: disappears to the attic, basement, barn or trash) or anything else so that I don’t want to hear it. Little boys are loud enough. Little boys are their own instruments. Little boys don’t need any more things to bring the noise into the farmhouse.

But he had to make it about parenting and development… and now my little brain is thinking about opportunity and brain development and “they won’t have good SAT scores if they don’t exercise the left side of their brains!” <— yeah, I’m that chick instead.

“I’m just saying, maybe we should think about this for Christmas, you know?”

Uh huh…

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: toys that would threaten my sanitttttyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. <—- Imagine I sang that in a very high, probably not that gorgeous of a key.

I told my husband I’d consider this (while I secretly seek out some quieter toy that will be appealing enough that little boys will like it and possibly distract The Husband from his mission). We’ll see what I can come up with. Resistance, though, may be futile. He’s hard to shake off when this kind of stuff pops in his genius brain.

It’s not that I am anti-music exploration… I’m just anti-music exploration in the house during the very long Massachusetts winter when I’m going to be home, all day, by myself, with the children, who will be playing music instruments… it might… might actually send me over the edge. I might, actually, start foaming at the mouth. Nobody wants that… right?

Nor’easter finally decided to make its appearance. You know what that means? Chicken Pot Pies tomorrow for dinner, that’s what! Why yes, I do make my own pie dough!  Hmm? You want the recipe? Ask me nice and I’ll share during my Quiet Thoughts on Friday.

Until then, take care.

 

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12 thoughts on “Surely You Don’t Actually Want Me To Get Them That… Do You?

  1. I traded the beautiful French made oboe that my musically talented father bought me as a teenager (I studied it to diploma level) in order to buy a keyboard. My kids learned piano on it from age 6 but gave up, got bored of necessary practice. My teenage kids all now choose to play (my boys returned to lessons) but on an upright Yamaha that (again) my parents financed. The keyboard? My youngest found that rhythm you talk of with a toy hammer and smashed the keys. Music for kids is fab but expensive and they have to want to do it.

    • Yeah, I know that the lessons are expensive… I think that is another reason why The Husband is resisting. Why give someone this money when they can rock out on their own for free (while he’s not here)? I guess you’re recommending that I let them explore first and then invest in what they actually like later?

      • All kids are different so I can’t say what is best for your two, only that I think I started mine on formal lessons too early. The regular practice required removed the fun but it all cost so much it didn’t seem worthwhile unless they practised. I know lots of parents who listened to what their kids wanted and ended up with a houseful of instruments that nobody used. Kids want desperately and then move on to the next thing. Making music is a wonderful skill to have but not every child will enjoy the learning process. That’s not much help really is it? 🙂

  2. I love your blog just oh so much: I get a good chuckle, some serious reflection, good learning, and usually a challenge. Today’s challenge:

    How to bring music to the children that offers peace of mind to Husband, but sanity to Mom?

    Ooh, good one, dude.

    So I got to thinkin’, we made music all our lives, just like the boys did on the table. Some of the best music I’ve ever heard was with African voices (the Paul Simon Graceland tape was played to breaking); Asian metal drums made out of just huge pieces of, well metal; recorded ambient sounds; and drumsticks tapped on every piece of a stage EXCEPT the drum set.

    I thought, why can’t the family explore that avenue? Talk about organic and unfettered exploration. Ahhh, yes, but how to keep Mom from setting the house on fire?

    Check these two links out. It might not be exactly what you’re after; but if I know your brain, it’ll cue a launch sequence into something really cool. I love the second link for the energy required of little minds to do that kind of tasking, and there’s a reward at the end as well as lessons about completing things, care when creating, originality, blah blah development blah blah. I like the first link for its invitation to explore, which you love to do. I like both for their involvement and low costs.

    1. http://www.nj.com/business/index.ssf/2011/09/hoffman_on_playing_music_witho.html

    2. http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Simple-Musical-Instrument

    Blog when you’ve found something. Good luck!

    • Whoahoho there… I’m feelin’ this! Even though they all make noise and noise is not my friend. But I like the idea of it being about ingenuity and creativity and art before it turns into noise!!! Hmm hmmm hmnmmm. Maybe I can get The Husband to go through the annoyance of the craft part, and that’ll turn him off SO MUCH he’ll skip it and then we won’t do the noise part EITHER!! bwahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  3. …not being a mom,
    (but with a closet love of the movie “Drumline”)

    I found myself at a Climate Change Rally up in Barre, VT
    Where The Brass Balligan were drumming & blowing, rousing the crowd
    With another telling the tale of their uplift at the Climate March in NYC…

    Powerful stuff…

      • I’ll add that when i was about 2, i yanked out all of the day lilies my mom planted
        Lets just say i got into a LOT of trouble for that
        Fast forward many years and a deep love of gardening finally showed itself
        Just reading your post stirred that up, and so commented.

        All respect for whatever choice is made.
        Wishing you all good things

        • Oh no! Did I give the impression that I was mad? I really wasn’t!! It was more of a sigh of inevitable submission… I am just a sucker for this. I cannot deny them the opportunity for joy… especially if it is well within my capacity to do so. How much is a little toy drum, you know? I need to suck it up, find some tolerance and patience and make it happen. Because who doesn’t like the sound of an awesome drummer? Right?? *sigh* Gotta find some good-ole Mama patience.

          Barre, VT, huh? That really must have been somethin’ beautiful! I LOVE Vermont and don’t spend enough time there!!

          • O its so hard to decipher words!
            Not mad but i worry
            Dont mean to offend
            And i have no intention of “shoulding” Anyone – especially parents

            Patience is a doozie practice
            Not for sissies

            I hope however it unfolds, that all benefit!

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