Friday, June 28, 2013

Digging out - piano!

Work, in a word, has been a disaster lately. I don't have enough time to complete the tasks I need to complete. Even when I focus on only completing important tasks (ignoring urgency) I'm overwhelmed.

In the evening, when I would normally catch up from work missed during the day, I've been booking flights for summer travel, crocheting edges on Helen's potholders, and trying to finish a sweater for Connor that is absolutely doomed - having ripped the thing apart FOUR times now!

And in the midst of it all, I was slammed with the end of school - who I need to get money to for a well-deserved gift for a teacher or coach, where do I need to be when for Field Day, end-of-the year picnics (TWO!), the start of piano lessons for Connor, the opening of dive season, managing two cars for three adults and trying not to forget anything too important.

Good problems, to be sure, but I'm drowning.

As is typical, the first thing to go is my blog. And so it is, that I have missed recording so many things these past few weeks.

Probably the most important thing I've completely punted on is that Connor started taking piano lessons. I'm in favor of these for a few reasons. First, I played piano from grade 2 - high school, and I have a lot of fond memories sitting at that keyboard. I want Connor to have a chance at developing similar memories. Second, although Connor can write fairly neatly, he usually doesn't. At the beginning of first grade, his teacher at the time realized what a funky grip he had on a pencil, and I totally blew it off as a product of never holding a pencil. At the time, she offered to get him some Occupational Therapy and I very confidently told her Connor didn't need that. Well, I *might* have been wrong to refuse that offer of help. Because still, he struggles with writing and it is the only consistent criticism his second grade teacher has. I now think Connor has crappy fine motor skills. Enter, the piano! How can his fingers NOT get stronger and have more control if he learns to play piano? Cross your fingers for me. Third, Connor is quite possibly tone death. To be fair, he comes by it honestly. Very early on in our dating days, Ed was humming a song and although he had the words perfect (something I often tangle up), the melody was nothing like the actual melody. Connor seems to have inherited Ed's ear, and I'm hoping that piano playing can sort this out a bit.

Connor loves piano for two reasons. First, he gets to sit with a teacher who tells him how awesome he is for 30 minutes each week, and Connor loves that. In fact, he confidently announced to me that Mr. C. said he hadn't ever had a better student and he was awesome. His face sort of fell when I told him he actually wasn't that awesome. He salvaged his ego by deciding that - for the amount of time he's been playing piano, he's awesome. That's not something I can judge, so I didn't. Second, he gets a treat at the end of the lesson.

Connor gets frustrated with piano, which I think is good for him. When he screws up a song, his first instinct is to close the book and announce "I'm done". At which time, I open the book and calmly say "not true, Connor, we're going to work through this". And so it is that measure by measure we've worked through a few songs and by the end, Connor feels a real pride at figuring something out. I enjoy this time with him.

Here's a clip of Connor's first time at the keyboard. He's gotten better since then, but he's still no Mozart. He does, however, recognize that a half note gets twice the amount of time as a quarter note.

He's looking forward to impressing Aunt Linda when we visit Kansas this year!


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