pianos and books and aprons and stinkers and idiots (me)

Annie has been interested in the piano for a long time now. It happens sometimes when your mom is a piano teacher. Usually I advise parents to wait until their child can read before they put them in piano lessons. (Practicing is just a lot more feasible when you can read the instructions for yourself!) However, Annie has continually requested a "piano book" for months and months and one day I caved. I love the Piano Adventure Series from Faber and Faber for my students, so I decided to dive into the unknown with this "young beginner" version. The key to my purchase? In the top right corner it said, "pre-reading." The bonus? There was an interactive CD in the back.

So we took it home, started it up, and we're both hooked. The kids on the cover have names (the teacher is "Mrs. Razzle-Dazzle"--oh man, we love her) and it teaches everything from short/long and loud/soft sounds to correct wrist and finger technique to songs with colors for note placement and on and on. And each concept has a great little (about a minute each?) song attached. So we can do a new page together and learn a new skill (sometimes once a day, sometimes once a week), turn on the CD and learn the new song, then start back at the beginning of the book and review every page and every song comprehensively.

And I mean sure, Annie's still Annie so most of the time the new concept training ends in crying (it's hard to learn new things when you don't ever want to mess up--wonder where she got that from). But after some chill time, I'll start the CD at the beginning, and by the end she's dancing and "donut shaping" with her first and third finger like the best of them.

Go team "Piano Adventures." Love it.  
Another "happy" from this spring 2012 era? Zane reading books to Annie. This particular morning, I kept hearing giggles from the next room. As I crept closer, I heard lines from "The Napping House" loud and clear in between guffaws and the like. There's just something about a snoring granny....

I made Annie this little apron after she said something to me like, "Hey mom, remember how you told me I could have an apron like 6 years ago?" Heavens, has it been that long?

I looked online, found this tutorial, busted out an Annie-picked-fabric beauty, and voila, I'm mama of the year. For at least 2 minutes.

(You like all those bows? She's a free thinker.)

(A very free thinker.)

Okay, now a potty story. Yes, it always comes to this. Annie's the official "stinky police" of the house. If you're stinky, she'll find out, and she'll call you out on it too. "WHO'S STINKY AROUND HERE!?" Anyway, the other morning I was in the same room as Annie and I happened to notice that it was....stinky. And we were the only ones around. "Hey Annie, who's stinky around here?" I whispered. Offended, she growled, "MOM, I DON'T WANT YOU TO TELL ME THAT." So she can dish it out but she can't take it, apparently. Anyway, later that night the boys were settling in to watch some Friday night Ninjago on cartoon network right as she was going to sleep. She was not happy about being excluded and I was trying to come up with all sorts of excuses about it. Finally I thought I had one that would work, especially after our stinky exchange earlier. "Annie," I said. "That's just for stinky people in there. We don't want to go in, right? Too stinky." She paused for a moment, then in a very quiet voice said hopefully, "But mom, I'm stinky too sometimes...." I can't win.

Most embarrassing story to end today. I was reading up on the place we may or may not be moving to. :) (A few more days, then I can announce it grandioso style.) One of the buildings on campus was named for a particularly colorful character in our country's democratic history. I learned all about him (on wikipedia of course), and was particularly interested in his defense of "minority rights" and by minority I don't mean slaves. As I was trying to re-tell my new knowledge to Brandon later, I said, "Yeah, he was influential enough that his idea of the minority still being able to have a voice in the senate or the house or wherever has been adopted into our more recent democratic system. What's it called, maybe the Separatist Movement or something?"

Quietly, Brandon replied, "Uh, no, the separatist movement is from 'The Clone Wars.'"

Oh. Right. 

That's it for last week! Did I mention Brandon's finally home from all his traveling? It was 8 weeks of him basically being gone 4-5 out of the 7 days each time. Blech. SO happy to be over it and moving forward!


Ginger said…
Okay, I need to chime in and tell you that YOU CANNOT GO WRONG with piano adventures for young beginners! It's freaking awesome! Small story...when Sam was 3 (yes, 3 and I never advise parents who are not piano teachers to do this) I recieved those books brand new from the publisher. Sam thought that I got these "cool" books from the library and he thought that they were his. After an hour of Sam looking through them, I decided to plunge in and start that day with him being my guinea pig. 6 years later he has the best technique I've ever had in a student and he plays wonderfully, and practices well. Yes, I'm very hard on him and he knows whats expected. But he truely loves piano (deep inside, although he'll never admit it). And it all started with Mrs Razzle Dazzle and Katie's Dog Tucker!

Leah loves piano too. I started her when she was 5 (2 years ago)and we've moved a lot slower. Mainly because she is a girl and crying happens a lot. She always gets hung up on thinking that she "can't do it". So patience is key, since I don't want to ruin it for her. I've gotten the impression from the spirit a few times that I need to stick with her on teaching her piano because it will solve things in the future. Let's hope we can pull through!

Sorry this is soooo long! If you ever need advice, I'm here. I love teaching my kids.....way more then teaching everybody elses kids! But it's hard to draw the line sometimes between "caring mother" and "strict piano teacher". At least in the beginning it's meant to be more fun than strict. Okay, that's enough from me!

I'm way excited to hear about where you'll be moving!!!
Ann Marie said…
It looks like Annie's next job could be modeling.