Practice Makes Perfect -written 2020
One of my many struggles is perfecting practice. Though it may make perfect, convincing anyone in our family to do it is imperfect at best. Maddening, gut-wrenching, hair-raising, painstaking at worst. On my tombstone, which I hope no one has to see for many decades, I already told Scott to have them carve, "And she is still waiting for them to practice violin".
The thing is, when they practice, one might actually enjoy hearing them play. They did not inherit it from their mama, but they are musical kids. Maybe all kids are inherently musical. It's just the grown ups like me who keep asking people to turn the music off for some peace and quiet. (Then again Scott always gets mad at me for that. So maybe it's just me).
What one would certainly not enjoy hearing from them is all the whining over who goes first, or
the endlessly inventive reasons they have not to practice,
the tantrums when I interrupt them while they are doing something else.
Our teacher always tells me not to interrupt them. But I can't help it. They are ALWAYS doing something else.
Sometimes the something else is a board game.
Sometimes it's taking out five other games and a puzzle before they put the first game away.
Sometimes it's building a"fire-rocket" in the driveway. (Did you know gunpowder was invented in China? Maybe that is just me who didn't.)
Sometimes it's drawing one more picture of the last basselope.
Sometimes it's reenact Obi-Wan Kenobi's demise. I see your foot, Obi-boy.
It's anything other than practice.
When I finally get them to do it, it can go well for a bit. We have to have the right tools and reminders.
If luck is on our side, we may even be able to accomplish something that would make our teacher proud.
We are longing for our in person return to our wonderful teacher. Zoom just doesn't do her justice.
And I keep worrying our session will be hacked.
When we are together in person, our teacher has this enchanting way of making a long practice session somehow fly by. Maybe it's the magic of her sunny porch or the gentle touch she gives to get their fingers in position. I don't know. But under her spell they are attentive, excited, and- dare I say- hardworking. (Don't you just want to sit in that wicker chair for hours with a lemonade and a book?!)
Then we get home, and every time I try to recapture her glory I can't get them to commit to five minutes without resentment or protest.
If I forget my tools, stray from my intended practice plan, or worse yet forget to follow the plan at all, it can go south fast.
Here is a good example. This week, I thought it would be so nice if they all played together. Our beloved neighbor graciously offered to be the audience for them. So we made practice an impromptu performance outside.
I don't know how it is possible that I still have not learned my lesson, after all these years. Looks like it started out nicely, right?
Well, suffice it to say, it just devolved from there.
Big complaints about who was going too fast, who was out of tune, who didn't wait. We had to go inside.
No one wanted to put the violins away. I had to remind them four or five times to do it, and so did the baby.
Two out of three of them listened. Good odds, yes, but it only takes one to have an epic fail. (I don't know which one of them wrote those X's on his hands by the way, or why they did it. I don't even want to know.)
In the morning, I couldn't find my boy's bow anywhere and I looked all over. This was especially tough because, well, I was tired.
Earlier Scott had asked me what this hairy mess was, and I didn't recognize it so I told him to throw it out.
It was only after searching for what seemed like forever that it finally dawned on us. That hairy mess was the missing bow!
Ugh. I was this close to finding a new home for Radar for the seven hundredth time. But Wy told me if he could only bring me or Radar to a desert island he would have to think about which one of us could go. And from the looks of it he is pretty serious about roughin it.
So I figured I'd better keep her. Even though one of our neighbors referred to her as Cujo.
Yikes. We just had to walk it off.
Out in those woods we forgot our troubles for a while. The woods are meditative in their whistling calm. They have weathered so many storms- storms that only made them more complex and imposing. There are good lessons for those boys in our woods these days. I think they understand, a little.
The truth is, we have an extra bow. They did practice. Radar learned we don't eat violins. Mom learned that if the kids forget to put their instrument away, she who pays for said instrument better find the case and tuck it in for the evening.
And all of this can wait until after tucking in those little troublesome trucks for the night.
We only get so many tucking in days. Tonight I hope for many, many, many more. Googolplex.
Sweet dreams. xo, Dr. Swae