A Bushel of Brooks

A Bushel of Brooks
Us as we are ...

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Piano Lessons

Music runs in my family. All five of us kids grew up taking piano lessons. The girls went on, I played until high school, my youngest sister majored in music education, and my older sister played through high school as well. My brothers didn't play as long, but my oldest brother can learn any instrument presented to him, and records music, plays piano, guitar, bass, etc etc etc!

Eli still laments that his mom didn't "force" him to take piano lessons. = ) Truth is, she wanted him to, but he put up such a protest that in the end, he didn't end up taking any. And now he says that is a huge regret to him. He can play drums, guitar, and some saxophone, but always wishes he would have learned to read music well back in the grade school years.

This all equals up to the fact that our boys will take piano lessons. Doesn't necessarily matter if they play forever, but we want them to learn the skill of reading music, and explore if they love piano or any other instruments! We bought a piano back many years ago from a good friend who was moving out of the country for a time. So, we've always had a piano ... it just hadn't been put to much use.

Until now.

We started piano lessons with "Aunt Didi" in January. It is really great for the boys! Jonah is catching on quickly, and since he is almost 8, I think he will move through the beginning levels fairly fast. Reuben doesn't really seem to pay attention to what songs Jonah is working on, and is happily plugging away at his own pace. I know that he will move more slowly just based on the fact that he is two years younger. But, that kid has confidence! He practices, or runs downstairs to practice "Mom! I am so good at piano!"

Or last week when lessons were over and I said "Reuben, great job working on your lesson with Didi today". He responds matter of factly: "Yup, Mom, that's because I am just really good at piano." And continues on eating his lunch.

I'm not really going to worry about squelching his pride. More times than not, he is always trying to catch up to Jonah. In all areas. And so I am just letting him feel proud about his accomplishments, not worrying about pointing out too much where he needs to work. I just sit with him while he practices, encourage steady counting and reinforce what his aunt has told him to do. And heavens no, will I ever comment on where Jonah is at in the book. = )

I know what the middle child feeling is like. And I know that I written about that before. But, I know how easy it is to constantly be trying to "live up" to the standards set by older siblings or catch up to them. Not really possible. And so I am so thankful that right now, Reuben is just having fun working on his songs, looking forward to his lessons, and feeling confident as he learns a new skill.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Baba Tales

Matthias loved L.O.V.E.D. his pacifier. Lovingly called a "baba" by our family (named by Jonah, and since he was the firstborn, that has been the name!), he was as attached as Jonah. Reuben never cared for one, and so far, Abram hates them with a passion. But, Matthias followed in Jonah's footsteps and was devoted.

We have our own love/hate relationship with pacifiers. They are amazing when you want a baby to relax, to sleep, to be quiet. Buuuuuuttttt, I have never heard of a parent looking forward to the weaning off the pacifier. Stories upon stories of how this family did, how it worked for so-and-so, and etc. They are all great and fun to hear, but the reality is that each family has to do it their own way. Their own style. You might borrow a bit from someone else's tales, but in the end, it's your kid and you know them and you have to deal with the crying during the process. So, take a deep breath and go for it, right?

We had started a few months ago working with Matthias to only have his pacifier at naptime and bedtime. The precursor to giving it up completely. It worked fairly well. We weren't going to hurry him quite yet to be done, because with the move in the late summer, and a new baby in the fall ... his little life has had plenty of transition in the last six months, and we did not want to create too much extra stress. Our goal was to be done by his third birthday in April.

But, about two and a half weeks ago, we were down to one working baba. A yellow one. We had a blue one too, but it had a crack in the nipple and he didn't want to use it. And then a Wednesday came, and the yellow baba disappeared. Somewhere in the house. But, the house was searched and searched and no baba turned up. Eli had youth group that night, and so I let Matthias lay in our bed, and gave him the blue pacifier, explaining that it was all we had. He accepted it because it was all there was ... and a much better alternative for him than nothing at all! But, somehow laying in my bed messing with it while I prayed with the other boys, he managed to bite a chunk out of the nipple. Cracked baba became broken baba. And broken babas just don't cut it.

He cried, I snuggled him. Jonah searched again for me.


And ready or not, we were suddenly thrust into being DONE with the pacifier.

I texted Eli to be prepped in case in the middle of the night Matthias was up looking for it - "FYI, there's none to be found!" And Matthias miraculously fell asleep with not too much crying. Holding his blankey. Momma reassuring him we would survive.

Eli and I talked in the morning and reasoned that at this point, should the pacifier turn up, we wouldn't give it back to him. Might as well continue forward. Poor Matthias. I hate seeing the confusion with little ones! He just wanted another one! He did okay at night, but that Thursday and Friday afternoon of that week brought naptimes with screaming, crying, "I JUST WANT MY BABA BACK!!!!!" No comforting from me could soothe him until he would finally fall asleep, exhausted.

And then, suddenly? Saturday he was okay. Saturday there were no tears. Saturday I didn't feel like crying myself, pulling my hair out, frustrated because my hugs did nothing to help. = )

And the following week there were a couple days in which he "just wanted my baba", but the moments were short and and forgotten. And we would look at each other, freeze a moment, and then breathe a sigh of relief when it passed.

And this past week? No requests, no comments. Life has moved on as normal. And I'm not about to bring it up! His lips had been getting really chapped from using it at night, so I'm grateful that it is gone for the rest of the winter. And I suppose that getting thrown into it without weeks of dreading it in advance was perhaps better? Who knows??? And when Jonah actually did find the yellow pacifier about three days in, he had already been instructed to quickly hide it in a dresser drawer. Which I think it is still there and that it needs to make its way into the trash.

My little boy is just not so little anymore. Still needing his cuddles and his love - but another step passed those sweet babyhood years.