Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Suzuki Square?

Anyone who has been around Suzuki music for any significant amount of time has undoubtedly heard about the "Suzuki Triangle."

The idea is that the teacher, parent and student all have equal responsibility for success. If any of the three corners of the triangle are missing, the likelihood of the student progressing or enjoying music is much smaller.

I realized this week that I might have a little helper on my side when Max went to the bottom of the stairs and started yelling at Abby at the top of his lungs. Abby was practicing the Fiocco "Allegro" and possibly making it sound more like the Fiocco "Presto," (You know you're a music geek if you understand that lame joke,) and Max decided he needed to help with the practicing.  After a few minutes, I finally figured out what he was yelling.

"Abby! Too fast! Turn on metronome!"

I about died laughing.

Maybe I can retire as the practice parent and hire Max as the Suzuki sibling. Obviously he knows exactly what to say. And he's not even three! (I'm so proud.)

And maybe at our house, we'll turn the triangle into a Suzuki Square. You know: parent, child, teacher, and overly helpful sibling.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

To make a musician

I'm not sure that Ian has a choice in whether or not he'll play an instrument. His only dilemma will be which one to choose...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Another reason we'll be paying off medical bills for the rest of our lives

It's been a long time since my I've answered the phone and heard this on the other end:

"Hello? Is this Maxwell's mom? This is so-and-so from Primary Children's Hospital and I'm just calling to get some information about Maxwell for his surgery tomorrow."

What? You didn't know we were having surgery this week? Neither did we.

Usually, it takes 4-6 weeks to get in to see the ENTs at Primary's. When I called about the world's worst ear infection last week, they got me in in less than a week.

When I schlepped all 4 kids to the hospital for the appointment, the doctor told us that his previously placed ear tube was causing the infection, and it needed to be removed and replaced with a new, non-infected tube as soon as possible. He also suggested removing Max's adenoids because they often are inflamed and contribute to ear infections.

So I was thinking we would book a surgery date in a few weeks. Nope. Try two days. He really did mean as soon as possible.

I really hate taking my little boy in for surgery, no matter how minor. Not fun. Not even remotely. If we never, ever have to hand him over the an anesthesiologist again it will be perfectly fine with me.

Poor Max started screaming the minute they put the hospital bracelet on him, and didn't stop until way after the dose of versed kicked in. Although I have to admit that Tom and I got a chuckle out of the fact that they didn't even ask us if we wanted it, they just ordered it. I supposed him kicking at and running away from the staff probably gave them their first clue.

 The worst part? We know that he remembers. Somewhere, deep in his psyche, he remembers at least parts of the experiences he's had before. The sight of the blue hospital band triggered a fear and rage so deep that there was nothing we could do to console him. 

Luckily, ear tubes and adenoids make for an easy, relatively quick surgery. He woke up from the anesthesia yelling "No Doctors! No Doctors!" but a dose of pain meds took care of everything relatively quickly. We hung out in the hospital until we could get him to drink something, and were more than happy to be headed home.

The afternoon was up and down. Once we finally got him to eat something he started acting a little bit more normal, and was even able to charm one of my violin students into asking "Didn't he have surgery today?" And while things got really ugly when the pain meds wore off, we dosed him up quickly, and got another good laugh out of our drugged up little boy falling asleep in his bowl of cereal.

I'm glad it's done and over with. Glad not to have to wait for weeks, dreading another surgery. Thankful that we're entering cold and flu season with a fresh set of tubes and less chances of ear infections for Max. But seriously. My poor little boy. I wish he could catch a break somewhere.

Oh, and that goes for our medical bills too.

 Dear IHC: Just put this one one our tab, m'kay?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

It's quiet at my house.

All four children are sleeping. (For now. Knock on wood.)

I'm at a computer.

These are three very big, very rare events at my house.

I'd celebrate, but I don't want to wake anyone up.

So we're homeschooling. It's overwhelming, and joyful, and maddening, and exciting, and lots of other -ings all at once. I haven't yet figured out how to school the girls, help them both practice their instruments, take care of the babies, teach the lessons and make sure the house keeps functioning. It's a lot. There's always at least one someone who needs me. Whether it's Ashlynn who needs help with spelling words, or Abby who can't quite put together the passage in Fiocco Allegro, or Max who wants to play/get thrown in the air/needs a snack five minutes after breakfast ended or Ian who just NEEDS everything, I'm spread pretty thin.

My friend Morgan wrote this post today, and already said everything I was feeling. So you know, just head over there and pretend that I wrote that. It reminded me again that I chose this. I can make it what we need it to be. And we're only three weeks in. We'll be fine. There are bright spots.

For instance, I folded a million loads of laundry today, and was so obscenely proud of myself, (and impressed with my laundry stacking abilities) that I took a picture!

And, Ashlynn sat at the kitchen table completely unprompted today to work on a story she's been writing. She's taken her little composition book everywhere with her the past few days, and has written at least six pages of a story. Today she wrote uninterrupted for more than an hour. She was thrilled. So was I.

In other news, since my husband has been home for a record six days in a row, we bought a car. It's been in the works for a while, but now was the time. Not only because we're both in the same state, or because we got a screaming "Labor Day SALE SALE SALE!!!" deal, but because Tom's boss told him straight up that it wasn't acceptable for him to be one of the faces of his company driving the beat up gray Granny car he's been driving for the past three years. I don't understand what her problem was. After all, the bashes in the side of the car just added character, and the worn out muffler just made it so that we knew exactly when he was arriving home.

Just for the record, this picture shows only one of two huge dents placed in Tom's car by our oh-so-nice-neighbors, who not only find it incredibly difficult not to back into our car when they're pulling out of their driveway, but that much more sdifficult to actually REPORT it. I can't say that we'll miss our Gray Dodge. Especially not when there's a brand new, less than 100 miles on it, silver-blue Nissan sitting in the driveway.

Just to further complicate things, the baby took two steps Tuesday. And more yesterday. He's nine months old. It's not even funny. He's thrilled, and has proceeded to empty grabage cans, play in the toilet, pull books off the bookshelf like it's his mission in life, and whack his poor little head on everything in sight. He's obviously ignored my instructions to stay little for as long as possible. He's naughty that way. And if the kid would just sleep for more than an hour at a shot, I could probably conquer the world. Seriously, we suspect he's paying us back for all those easy naps we got when he was tiny.

Not to be outdone, Max has managed to cultivate what may be the world's worst ear infection. Did you know that ears stink when they get infected? Neither did I. But it's true. And it might just be the worst smell in the world. Because it's Max, we've been through a round of antibiotic drops, and have almost finished a course of oral antibiotics without much change. We got his ear cultured yesterday so we could get a better picture of what we're dealing with. The pediatrician thinks it might be staff or MRSA, but then said it would be "really rare" for that to show up in a child. Yup. She obviously isn't our regular pediatrician or she would know better than to say "really rare." She told us that it may be time to look at getting Max's adenoids and tonsils removed along with putting in a new set of tubes. We have an appointment back at Primary Children's Tuesday morning for an ENT consult. Sigh. I haven't missed the medical roller coaster AT ALL.

Maybe I should have the girls interview one of Max's doctors and call it a homeschooling project. Hmmm.
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