I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Stop The Music

The children's school was given a grant which enables them to give free music lessons to all children, starting from Grade 3. Four days ago, my kids began Grade Three, and as of this evening, I am living in my own personal version of musical hell.

They got to choose from four torture instruments - cello, violin, flute and clarinet. This evening we had to go and listen to a sample of each of those instruments, and then the kids got to list their preferred devices of torture. We also got told that they have to practice up to 15 minutes a day, and that they will only really progress if parents sit in front of their child and listen while they play. They then further dug my grave by telling me that they would be emailing a list of musical tasks which had to be done 5 nights a week.

Oh. My. God.

I hate music. Seriously. I enjoy listening to the radio, and I even enjoy the odd concert (my first date with DH was in fact at the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra)... but on the whole, I'm not into music. I've only ever bought 2 or 3 CD's - in my entire life. I don't own an iPod (or any i-anything, for that matter). As a child I played piano for exactly long enough that even my poor mother had to concede defeat. I've gone to a few concerts - but mostly I go for the experience more than the actual music. I don't download anything illegally or otherwise, I don't look at YouTube all that much, I've never seen more than one episode of anything ending in "Idol" or "Talent"...I'm just a total music pleb. Add to this the fact that I banned all noisy toys from my house from the very minute my kids were born. Literally if we were given a toy which sang, played a tune, squeaked, whistled, squawked or hummed, the damn thing was out of here faster than you can say, "I hate those freakin' noisy toys!" Either that or I would deliberately take out the batteries and/or purposely break the part of the toy which made noise.

...and yet now, my kids are 8 and I still can't get rid of the damn noisy toys. Heck, this time they're compulsory - and shiny - and require me to sign a release form.

Oh, crap. I think when you sit at the "Introduction to Music" night, and whisper to The Neighbour's Wife, "Can't watching an hour of VH1 count as music education?" you're bound to have two things happen:

1) The music teacher will hate you forever more, and
2) You'll have some good blog fodder.

Now, someone pass me some ear plugs.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sniff Sniff

The people who know me in real life wouldn't say that I'm a terribly emotional person. They would say I'm not one for grandiose gestures of love and affection, that I'm not a "softy" and that I don't do well with outpourings of emotion. While it is true that I didn't grow up in a very touchy-feely household, and I'm terrible at expressing empathy, the fact remains that I am a total emotional nutcase.

The truth is that I'm very emotional, very huggy-huggy-cuddly-cuddly, and I like nothing better than a good cry. I always cry in movies (even animated ones), I've been known to cry at commercials (notably this series - the damn things get me every time), and even reality TV also brings on the water works (we call Extreme Home Makeover by it's more correct name -"weepy homes"..as in, "Oh no! Mum is watching weepy homes again!) It's not unusual for DH to find me in bed at night, crying over a particularly emotional passage I've just read in a book. Often even going to temple makes me cry, especially if we're singing Ha Tikva. Although there are times when I want DH and the kids to get the heck out of my face, most of the time our home is one that is full of love, hugs, affection and plenty of emotion.

Recently I've discovered that I've passed this trait onto at least one of my kids. The other night DS walks into the room, his face full of distress, his eyes dropping tears. Given our recent dramas, I was immediately worried - "Oh my goodness! Boy, are you okay?"

He just shook his head and looked even more despondent.

"Come, give me a hug. Tell me what's wrong."

... and by now I'm starting to get a little worried. I didn't hear the usual cries of "he pushed me!" "she hit me" "stop it" and "get off" - in fact, it was blissfully quiet until my son walked in looking as though he lost his best friend. So what could possibly invoke this sort of reaction?

He looks up at me, with his huge blue eyes brimming over, and wails, "It's just so SAD!!"

It took a second to realise he was talking about the book he was holding - Isobelle Carmody's A Riddle of Green, part of the Little Fur series. My kid was standing there, clearly distraught...and me being me, I started to laugh - "You're upset about a scene in a book?" He nodded. And kept crying. "It's just so SAD," he said again. It actually took several hugs and several minutes for him to gather himself together, and even though the book was upsetting, he kept on reading well into the night.

Then it occurred to me that this is the same child who cries at the end of movies... even the animated ones. When we have kids, we hope and expect to pass on some of our better traits - the colour of our eyes, our naturally straight teeth, the calm nature of our partner. We don't expect that we will pass on our less positive traits... but then, if what I have given him is a love of literature and a soft heart, I'm pretty okay with that.