Sunday, March 20, 2011

Parenting Successes

They don't happen as often as I'd like, but when they do happen, small parenting successes make me really really really happy!  

This week (and every week since January) I have tried without much success to get Emma to practice the piano.  Usually it goes something like this...

Me:  You need to practice the piano.
Emma:  ugh...(stomp, stomp, stomp...throwing of music...)
Me:  I'm not hearing any music.
Emma:  That's because I'm NOT PLAYING!
Me:  You have 20 minutes to practice.
Emma:  Piano is STUPID!  These songs are STUPID!  (more throwing of music)

Some days there is actually a little practicing that happens before the throwing starts.  

Last Friday, I tried again to talk reasonably to Emma about why she's playing the piano anyway.  
...that there are some things we commit to and we don't just quit them. 
...that there will be opportunities for her to use her musical talent in the future.  
...that she will never regret knowing how to play the piano.  
...that SHE is actually the one who wanted to take piano lessons n the first place.  

And she said, "Piano is STUPID and I don't want you to PLAN MY WHOLE LIFE!"


I had to take a LONG walk...and be quiet for a LONG time...before I could think clearly enough to even talk about this with Craig.  He is the voice of reason for all of us most of the time, and I've learned after 17+ years that he gives pretty good advice.  When I am ready to give up, he reminds me why I shouldn't.  I was totally ready to give up on Friday...on the continuing struggle to make Emma play the piano.  But I didn't...

Instead, I left it alone for awhile...because I'm practicing being calm and even instead of volatile and unpredictable...and because we both needed to cool off.  Then I went to the store and bought her a timer so she would KNOW how long 20 minutes actually lasts.  And then I came home and we talked about a new "plan" for practicing the piano.  Then I left the timer on the piano and decided not to revisit the piano struggle until Monday.

This afternoon, I heard random beeping coming from downstairs...Emma was playing with the timer.  And then all of a sudden she was practicing the piano.  And then she asked me if I would HELP her play a song!  And then she MADE a practice chart so that she could check off the days that she practices!!  

Seriously!  That actually happened.  And if you had lived in my house for the last three months, you would have been as shocked as I was.   

Shocked, but grateful.  I'm not sure what caused the change...the timer? the reasonable conversation?  the new plan?  the fervent prayers of desperation?  

Whatever it was...I'm grateful that (for now) she's playing the piano willingly.  I'm grateful that there is always a new plan.  I'm grateful that my husband never gives up.  I'm grateful for timers.  And I'm grateful for the small successes that happen every now and then.




  1. Maybe is was putting the problem in her hands, it gave her power, says the co-dependent mom who has learned that the more I turn over to my kids, the stronger they become and the less stressed I am.

  2. YES! That's exactly what it was. Instead of me dictating when, where and how long she would practice, she now has her own power to choose. I'm so naturally "hover-y" with my kids, and micro-manage-y. But I've noticed the same success with The Cruise Director. The less I hover, the more independent and amazing she becomes. might have just helped me stumble on some parenting magic trick that I've been missing all this time! Thanks Renae!!