This is how violin practice went last night:
- John had “too much energy” to start, so he sprinted at top speed around the house for about five minutes. Top. Speed.
- Naturally, the sprinting ended in a dramatic “fall” and a hurt knee. The knee made it impossible for him to stand up. So he thought we better not practice.
- I was not buying the hurt knee story, and he wasn’t all that committed to it, so we went into the living room to get on with practice.
- I asked him to play a scale. He somehow squeezed in 8 extra notes, which he thought should count as extra credit. When I asked him to play the scale again, correctly, it was NOT FAIR. We spent more time talking about this than it would have taken to just play it again. Eventually, he played it again.
- He ran out of the room to tell Matt something. Ran back in. When he’s going to run at top speed, he’ll sometimes sort of run in place for a second before he takes off, like coyote and roadrunner cartoons. This tickles me.
- He thought one song was too easy, another was too hard.
- A wooden ball that we were using to choose a song popped out of the violin case, and it had the number of his favorite song! This was hilarious. We reenacted the event several times before actually playing the song.
- He asked me to take a video of him playing a song, and then kept messing up every time I tried to. I was sure he would be frustrated, or mad, or give up, or tell me I was filming it wrong. But he just laughed.
- He stopped playing abruptly to pick up a pen off the ground using only his foot. Dropped it again, so he could pick it up with his foot again. Ran off to tell Matt about that.
- We kept going. Sounded nice!
- He got frustrated about something and wouldn’t listen. I got frustrated, too. I can’t even remember how all this went down, but it was contentious. Truth be told, voices were raised.
- We got back on track and he tried some really hard new sections of a piece that he’s just learning. He was struggling. I got out my flute and played it with him, because I’m a big nerd. We both thought that was a kick, but it was still hard.
- Suddenly, he played the most difficult part perfectly. Looked at me with a face lit up like Christmas morning. We were both surprised and excited. Success!
- We put everything away and he told me that it was one of the best practices that he’s ever had, and then ran off.
Somehow this violin practice is a perfect microcosm of my relationship with John at the moment: lively, funny, short-tempered, delightful, silly, frustrating, surprising, collaborative, determined, and sweet. Often all those things within the space of just a few minutes. I’ve never known anything quite like it.
P.S. Emily, if this not how violin practice should go, I apologize. We try.