Sunday, August 21, 2011

Cool ventures

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Mini-Him has interests. Many interests. His last foray was into music.

"Mom?" he began, and I knew.
"You know...I saw this girl play the violin in school, and she looked so cool! Can I learn to play it?"

photo credit - Salvatore Vuono; freedigitalpics.net
This was new. Violin? Something that requires dedication and practice? He's not there yet. I mean, I love my son. But he's just not that determined, yet. But I couldn't throw cold water on his child-like ambition could I? No, even if my antennae nearly knocked themselves out, sensing where this was headed, I would only be supportive.

"Ah. So, you...you want to play the violin, because, because a girl looked really cool playing it?"

"Yep."

"You know that it requires a lot of practice, don't you?"

"Oh yeah. That's what she said. I think I could master it." Mini-Him isn't a Leo star sign for nothing. His supreme self confidence is trumped only by his cat-in-the sun languor. A languor that will resist any attempt at urgency or effort.

"uh..okay. Well. I'll umm...discuss it with Dad, and we'll figure out the next steps." I said, followed by fake enthusiasm, "Okay?"

"Mom." he said, and I knew again. "I know you think that I'll give up. But I won't. I mean, she just looked so cool!" His reason for wanting to learn such a complicated instrument was disturbing.

Him and I argued later that night, when Mini-Him was peacefully asleep, still clutching his leaf patterned Blankie (Blankie always gets capitalized. Mini-Him has decreed that it will be passed on to his child).

Him refused the lessons point blank. "If he thought the girl looked cool, he should ask her out on a date! Not take violin lessons we both know he'll never use!"

"But he's showing an interest. When has he ever asked to do something on his own?" I asked, passionately in defense of my flaky little man. "This might just be the turning point! He could learn what it takes to accomplish something. And think! One of us might actually play music, instead of just raving about it."

"I'm okay with raving about music," Him returned, "it costs less. And you can stop listening if you lose interest."

"This is why he can't learn about seeing tasks through till the end. Because we, as parents, shortchange him based on past actions," I said, body language abrupt, voice cold.

"I'd say anyone's past actions are a pretty good guesstimate of their future course," Him was now amused, because I was furious.

"By that 'guesstimate', I should've known, eleven years ago, that you'd never change, and that we would be fighting fluff, because you just LOVE saying NO!"

Him was confused now. "Umm, you did not make sense. Okay, fine! Five lessons. And if he so much as monkeys around even once, it's over!"

I told Mini-Him the good news the next morning over fruit loops. He smiled, green and pink rings disappearing between bites.

We found a place, a teacher and a time. And we began.

The first class was wonderful. Even Him admitted that he might have misjudged the little fellow.

The second class, the teacher nearly lost her modesty. Mini-Him, driven to distraction by the repetition of "goody goody stop stop", stretched his arm out to relax it, and lifted his teacher's skirt along with the bow that he meant to place back on his violin, trying to resume practice.

"I've never been so embarrassed in all my life," Him declared, before his foot found the threshold to the house.

Later, Mini-Him said, "It was getting boring. And my arm hurt. And my neck. And it was so cold."

Thinking of them as legitimate reasons, I had him exercise his arm, and his neck, and resolved to dress him in layers the next time. And made a tiny cushion to place over his collar bone.

Third class, and the teacher said, "I don't really know if he likes it."

Fourth class and Mini-Him said, "I'll practice for five minutes. But I can't take any more."

Fifth class was wonderful! He did great! She even taught him Goody Goody Stop Stop with different strings.

Sixth class, he confided to me, "Mom, you know, I don't know why I can't tell dad this. But, I'm beginning to have maybe 2% less interest in violin."

"Just 2% isn't bad. We all go through that as we're learning something new. So it's normal. Don't worry about it."

A week later, after the seventh class, when he spent one out of two hours (extra lesson that day), telling his teacher not to get upset about her broken violin, he got home and said, "Mom. I'm just not feeling it anymore."

Him and I looked at each other. Like we'd done through abandoned art classes, piano lessons, karate and soccer. "I just don't feel the instrument. It's just not my thing, I guess. I mean, I'm not meant to do it."

"And what are you meant to do?" Him asked, a world of weariness in his voice.

"I'm meant to create stuff. Like you know, legos and things. Build stuff."

"But lego sets are expensive! We can't keep buying them just because...well...no. I can't buy you lego sets. What's so good about lego anyway?"

"Oh! They look so COOL!"

I went on to set lunch on the table and put the violin away.

He hasn't asked about it since.

I don't think he ever will.

At least, until, someone cool enough comes along to tell him that accomplishing something is the only truly cool thing!

pic credit - http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=659