Photo: My sister challenged me to better design doll eyes that aren’t creepy. Though, frankly, I liked the eyes I showed on Monday’s post. They make me think of flowers. Anyway, my sister thinks these are better! Then my friend came over today and she said that these eyes look too much like goat eyes. Lordy! Can’t win! Anyway, then she and her children took my two prototype dolls home with them, so… I guess I’m on the right track? I also just learned that I’m in the business of making dolls: my friend asked for two more, one for her son and one for her husband, and then Major told me I had to make one for his girlfriend who just got a concussion at camp! Do I look like Mattel, child??
Yesterday was the first day of fighting with Major about guitar practice. He was squirmy in his seat, he “forgot” how to hold his pick, his guitar was out of tune, so it didn’t sound right… there was every excuse and it was frustrating. We went from “I’m gonna be a rockstar” to “this is too hard.”
As you can imagine, I was incredulous on multiple levels. Here is this thing that this child has asked me for! I made it happen! What do I ask for in return but a bit of practice without issues!?
A bit of a lecture, a bit of forceful mommying, and he was back on track. We got in our strums, we did it on beat, we were fine. I’m only asking the child for 20 minutes of his life. He can do this!
When we ran into it this morning, again, I balked at his “too hard” excuse.
“Everything in life is hard! Everything in this life that’s worth doing is hard! We do things because they are hard! We love things because they are hard!” (I realize this is going to come back to haunt me next time I write a Quiet Thoughts about how difficult something is.)
He didn’t respond to this with a lot of get-up-and-go… I kept trying different tactics until I just got angry. He was mad, I was mad… I threatened to make it all go away.
He gasped at this. It was like, yeah, bro… you think I don’t have that power? You think I’m trying to have yet another fight with you on a daily basis? Ain’t you tired? Can’t we just have one easy thing?
But he also gasped because he loves his guitar and his lessons. It’s a big part of who he is. It’s the first thing he tells people when he sees them. Perfect strangers know that my 5-year-old plays the electric guitar! I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so satisfied before until now.
So what the hell, dude?
“There is a difference between ‘it’s too hard’ and ‘I don’t feel like it,’ you know. A big difference! So what is it? Is it that this is too hard or that you just don’t feel like doing it right now?”
He twisted up that little face of his, lifting his eyes to the ceiling before looking at me with a huff. “I just don’t feel like it,” he confessed.
Awesome. Thank you for your honesty! “I don’t care! People often have to do things when they don’t feel like doing them! So we’re gonna sit up straight, we’re gonna hold our pick right and we’re gonna get with it! Ready? Now, strum!”
It wasn’t that easy, but naming the problem did help, and he did get to strumming. It’s not about playing the chord. It’s about remembering to play the chord and stay on beat. After this week’s lesson, it’s about playing the chord, staying on beat and looking at the music. It only gets harder as we go. Lots of lessons for my little boy who is getting bigger every day.
I’ve gotta say, I’m so glad that we started guitar before starting kindergarten. It’s gonna give me great lessons to draw on as the academic road gets tough. It’s also teaching me a lot about how to keep him motivated, how long his attention span is, and what, ultimately, he can do.
Of course, he went to today’s lesson with his teacher with no problem. He learned how to read music (the symbol for strum, the symbols for rest, the bars, etc) and he learned how to follow along with someone pointing to the music. He was great! Of course, the lesson was so damn short… 30 minutes is barely enough time to settle into something, you know?
There is a lesson in here for Mommy, too: just because he is motivated doesn’t mean that it won’t be a struggle. This needs active attention, and how I handle his moments of frustration will be key.
I am happy to report that there is water falling from the sky here in Massachusetts! My plans are like, “ahhhhhh” and my lawn is like, “it’s too little, too late!” There is a price to pay, however: humidity is bonkers and the heat index tomorrow is supposed to be around 100 degrees. This is inappropriate weather for New England! So I accept my rain with grumbles… and windows closed to keep in as much cool air as possible. Next week? 70s. That’s more like it!
Quiet Thoughts on Friday? I can see the first line now… “it was too damn hot yesterday! My Quiet Thoughts are stinky with sweat!”
That… probably wouldn’t be terribly classy. I’ll come up with something better. 🙂
Until then, take care.