Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Life and Violins

This past weekend brought a lot of questions into our lives, number one being: how much longer can I continue to blog about my experiences as a parent? Also, where is the line between blogging about our parental experiences and actually interfering / causing issues with some of the individuals involved? As the kids get older, more and more of their experiences relate around their relationships - friends, girlfriends/boyfriends/BFFs, teachers, workmates, bosses, mentors, etc. My talking about my view of my sons' experiences winds up increasingly talking about their relationships with other people, which is - frankly - none of my business.



For instance, The Boy had an argument with one of his friends a month or two ago which caused a sizeable rift between them and caused him quite a bit of personal pain. I'd love to blog about my response to that - my feelings watching that and knowing that I can't really help, and our attempts to manage the relationships of young kids without telling them how to behave. I can't, though. For one, it might affect our relationship with an amazingly cool family, and that ISN'T okay - they're great people, and their kids are awesome kids, and I treasure the time I can spend with them. Jeopardizing our relationship with friends for the sake of the little writing I do is not smart.  For another, as my sons grow up, it isn't my place to put their emotional issues up on a website.



Last weekend, we were at a party where a young man (not my kid) was behaving very poorly: screaming at another kid who had some emotional issues and was incapable of response or changing his actions. The grownups in charge of him were not intervening to help the other kid and redirect the young man, and the young man continued to act and to whine very petulantly for quite some time afterwards. I would love to talk about that, and my feelings, and my discussions with my sons about that kid's behavior and how it was wrong and how they could avoid that. I won't, because 1) my kids aren't perfect and 2) the extended family involved are, again, really cool people and have really cool kids otherwise, and 2) I can very easily seeing one or more of my kids acting like that in public. Words have consequences. I keep things relatively anonymous on the blog, but enough people read this that I can cause issues.



The best part of that: Little Bear was playing with a toy, and the bigger kid came over and took it from him without asking. The Baby - all of his 3-year-old bad self - marched up to him, snatched the toy away, and gave it back to Little Bear. It was sooooo badass, I don't even have words.



On top of all of that, my work schedule seems to have changed to not allow me the small breaks during the day to do a little bit of writing. My responsibilities with my chorus and assorted activities (quartet contest, my quartet, chorus festival, et al) have increased substantially, leading to a distinct lack of free time in the evening. Yes, I can choose to spend less time with my children to do some of the writing, but that seems counterintuitive. Besides, I'm spending more time with my wife, lately, which is really nice. I don't want to say rekindling our relationship - it's not like either one of us went anywhere - but we're working pretty hard to rediscover each other as people and as friends. Those things can get buried underneath the layers of job, parenting, and other responsibilities. It's nice to have conversations, you know?



So, no answers to the questions as of yet, mostly because an irregular writing schedule that contains a loose report on what we do might be fun for the kids to read when they're older.



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Over the weekend, I took Little Bear and The Baby to Sesame Street Live. It was awesome. We left Sunday school a little bit early so we could have a nice lunch at the TGIFriday's by the Consol Center, then we walked to the performance. Since it was Sunday, the parking was free, which was even better. There were no baseball games, hockey games, football games or anything going on, so we parked about 100 yards from the front door of the arena. The Baby ordered a burger for lunch, which he didn't touch, instead eating the fries and fruit cup and being satisfied. Little Bear had chicken fingers, which he shared with The Baby.









Grandma had given them a little money for souvenirs, which they chose to spend on Elmo fuzzies and a big picture program. Our seats were okay but much higher than last year. Interesting bits: on the car ride over, The Baby said, thoughtfully: "Daddy, do you remember that last year, it was just you and me at the show?" I think that's pretty cool that he seems to remember that. I'm not sure that he actually remembers it, or the pre-show conversations we had stuck with him. We did tell the kids for 10 days beforehand that we were going to the show together. That might be what he remembered. Either way, it was pretty neat.



The show itself was not as good as last year, but the dancing and effects were better. Last year had a few more familiar songs; this year only had one besides the Sesame Street theme itself. But, this year had an elephant prop onstage, and that was pretty neat. The highlight for me: watching The Baby absorb the show and fit that into his worldview: Sesame Street, real life vs television.



On the way home, he asked, "Daddy, on tv, Elmo and Abby are little, Cookie Monster and Telly are bigger. Today, they were all the same size." That's a pretty good observation from a little person. He also noticed that the dancing people were much, much smaller than the little monsters he sees on television.



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The Boy played his violin recital later that afternoon. He did a magnificent job. I'm very pleased with his progress. He was dressed to the nines, and he took the stage with a very endearing awkward command. There is no stage fright in this child.



Next up: trying to figure out how to fit spring baseball into a schedule with violin lessons, chorus rehearsal for me and The Wife and The Boy (separate times for all), quartet rehearsals, et al. Much, much easier said than done. Plus, the groups are 4-6 and 6-8 years old, and we're trying to figure out where to put Little Bear. We're probably going to put him in the upper group - he plays with such a ferocity, I think I'd rather overreach for him.



Thank you!



Charles May

Underwriting Analyst, High Touch Underwriting

Bank Officer

Direct Originations

Mail Stop P5-PCLC-02-E

Fax: 412-762-8051

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