Gift of Music – The Final Piano Lesson

The present changes the past. Looking back you do not find what you left behind.  ~Kiran Desai

Kyle-at-Slippery-Rock-Jazz-Band-4-5-14-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Close up of Kyle playing the trumpet at Slippery Rock University for 7th grade Jazz Band. 4/5/14

Kyle just turned thirteen a little over a week ago and things are already changing.  I am sad to report, yesterday was Kyle’s last formal piano lesson.  He’s been taking lessons since he was six years old.  Indulge me for a moment, while I take you there and back.

I know I’ve mentioned his music lessons from time to time.   Sweet Sounds of Music Music Reinforces Our Tight Bond Music for the Eyes and Ears When Kyle was a little tyke of about five years of age, he wanted to play the guitar. Great!  I made one of our famous deals with him.   If I got him piano lessons and he learned to read music and play the instrument moderately well, when the teacher said he was ready, I would get him guitar lessons.  Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.  He thought so!

Since I only believe in unconventional gifts, for Kyle’s sixth birthday, I decided to give the gift of music, piano lessons!  On his celebration day, I told Kyle what I got him, which meant nothing to a six-year-old.  I’m sure he felt “jipped” without having a tangible present from me, but I didn’t care.  I knew deep down inside this was the perfect gift.

Mom called around the area looking for a good piano teacher who would instruct our youngster in all aspects of piano.  God blessed us with a great one, Ms. Debbie! (who is my cousin Merle Piper’s wife’s sister)  Perfect, basically family!  In the more recent years, Kyle was instructed by David Emanuelson, a music student at Seton Hill University.

Unfortunately, I was unable to take Kyle for his first lesson due to work, but mom stepped in to get his musical interest started.  Before she picked him up, she stopped at the local music store and purchased a basic keyboard.  Nothing fancy, just something simple for him to practice on.  Mom commented when Kyle saw it, he was smiling from ear to ear.  He wanted to start playing the instrument right away.  Then, came the lessons.  Keep in mind, Kyle was six years old and probably forgot all about my gift to him, since it was mentioned a few weeks earlier, or he truly didn’t care until it became real.

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The beginning of the trumpet! 6th grade musical From the Inside Out 2013

Mom took Kyle to Ms. Debbie’s house for his first lesson.  She said he was elated!   She couldn’t get him to settle down, he was jumping out of his skin with shear excitement!  That made my day!  In fact, Ms. Debbie was so good with my little man, that she let him strum her guitar and knock on the piano keys before starting, getting him acclimated.  Ms. Debbie said she was happy to see a kid so enthused about lessons, unlike some of her  students who were made to go and didn’t want to be there.  Good so far!

I felt like I was actually there.  Mom called me during the lesson from her car and filled me in on the events leading up to that moment.  She was cracking up over Kyle’s reaction and I couldn’t help but join in, while I was sitting at my desk at work.  I felt like I could see the scene unfold as if I was a fly on the wall.  I know Kyle all too well.

I was thrilled for the kid!  Even though many said Kyle was too young and I shouldn’t waste my money, I knew it was what he needed at the time.  My intent wasn’t to have a child prodigy, but simply to expose him to various music snippets, and the proper way of reading music and playing the instrument.  I was always told that if you can play the piano, you can play any instrument, not to mention he would be able to carry that basic knowledge with him for life.  Like mom always says, no one can take education away from you.  I agree!  Learning something at any age is a good practice.

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Kyle (7th grade) & the trumpet line at Slippery Rock University for Jazz Band 4/5/14

That night, Kyle told me all about his lesson.  He had stars still in his eyes.  He demonstrated what he learned from his NEW piano books and showed me his NEW keyboard.  He was still lit up like a light bulb hours later, from his earlier adventure.  His energy and positive reaction drew me into his experience.  I couldn’t help it, I was psyched, and they weren’t even my lessons!  I did ask Kyle, “So you think you’re gonna like it?”  While I was asking the question Kyle began nodding his head in affirmation before responding “Yes, Aiya (Aunt Heather)!  I love it!”  My heart melted for this little boy and his desire to play the piano.  All I could say was, “So you like your birthday gift?”  Simply he replied, “Yep!”

Over the years, I can honestly say Kyle always did enjoy going to lessons.  I’m not sure if it was the lessons, or the fact that all attention was on him, or he enjoyed learning, or he loved getting stickers (early), or the kudos and positive reinforcement that Kyle thrives on.  Perhaps is was all the above.   He didn’t always like to sit and practice at home, unless we were giving him our undivided attention.  Then, he would practice and practice.

Occasionally, Kyle would explore his keyboard and start playing pre-programmed music.  Sometimes he would get up and dance around the living room or march around.   He was so contagious when he was just plain having fun that I would find myself following in his footsteps.  He was our very own pied Piper (pun included).  He would also get a kick out of playing a song with the sound of another instrument.  Sometimes he would choose the flute or the violin etc. while practicing his lessons.  He always did love to discover different sounds.  I’m guessing it was his way of challenging himself or to spice it up a bit, maybe both.

From early on, we were told Kyle was doing very well.  (Too bad he didn’t practice regularly and wasn’t encouraged from everyone to do so)  He was able to identify different notes just from listening and he started to pick up reading the sheet music pretty well too.  When learning to play with his left hand, he seemed to do so effortlessly, relative to a youngster.  Yep, that was the right move for Kyle at that age.  Please keep in mind, there’s no doubt he has a talent, but he never really tried, leaving his untapped potential a mystery.   Although if he would have practiced more, I bet he would have even impressed himself.

I always tried to encourage Kyle with piano.  I remember when I exposed him to the music of Elton John and the piano man himself, Billy Joel.  He was definitely intrigued.  He even enjoyed some classical music I gave him.  On a side note, one evening we came across MTV Cribbs.  You know the show they walk through the house(s) of the rich and famous.  That evening they were showcasing 50 cent. (I think).  Kyle’s eyes were huge!  He was floored at the grandeur of the place, mostly the electronics.  I told him to keep up playing the piano and he could be that wealthy.  He asked, “I can make money playing the piano?”  Too cute!  My response, “Heck yes!  If you are really that good and dedicated to your discipline.”  He practiced the piano that night without instance!

Eventually, I did get him a guitar and lessons for a later Christmas, in addition to his piano lessons.  Again, unconventional gifts are the best for a growing, curious, smart little boy.  He was never at a loss for toys, especially Thomas the Tank Engine and later Legos.  Mom and dad and Nicole always had that covered!  I handled the gifts that would eventually shape our rug rat from the inside out.

I believed by the time Kyle was eight or nine years old, he was playing the piano with ease and strumming his way through the guitar.  Unbeknownst to me at the time, he would also learn to play the trumpet in junior high and join the jazz band.  I’m glad my family and me were all apart of building the foundation for Kyle’s love of music and his musical abilities.

With the exception of maybe a half a year to year, when Kyle chose to focus on guitar, he always played the piano from the age of six to thirteen.  He was definitely better at piano than guitar, but of course he had more practice.  Although, I was told from Ms. Debbie who initially taught him to play both instruments, that he picked up the guitar better than most.  He was a natural with using his hands on the instrument, without looking at the strings and keeping his eyes on the sheet music.  Again, piano was a good choice for him initially.

Was all that running around and moving schedules and expense and sometimes fighting with Kyle to practice worth it?  Every last second of it!  That was one of the best ideas I’ve ever had.  I am so grateful that my parents and my sister all helped me to encourage Kyle and reinforce his lessons.  Also friends and other family members were wonderful when asking Kyle about his music instructions.  The Sacred Heart / Saint Cecilia Youth Group let Kyle play Christmas tunes for those attending the soup kitchen one year.  This positive reinforcement helped shape him even more.  I know his dad would have also helped to encourage Kyle too!  He probably wouldn’t have missed a lesson.

http://youtu.be/YvIBKxjqdkM

Honestly, I am sad over Kyle’s decision to stop his piano lessons, but it was always his choice.  He was given the opportunity to stop at any time (unless he was paid up until a certain point).  Yes, sometimes the lessons were an inconvenience when making plans, especially in the summer, but it was a good obstacle to have to work around.  Mom helped out a lot and would step in when I couldn’t.  Personally, I loved taking Kyle to his lessons and sitting there listening to him play and watching him progress over the years.  Mostly, I treasured my time with Kyle and truly enjoyed hanging out with my little man on an off beat day, just the two of us.

Kyle still plays an instrument, the trumpet.  Unfortunately, his guitar days are a thing of the past and maybe the piano will join the guitar in the land of the forgotten, but he’s still involved in music.  He’s in the jazz band at school and wants to join the high school marching band playing the trumpet.  I can’t wait to be a band parent and watch him in his next years of musical progress!  I am very proud!

On another side note, since Kyle’s interests are now into War Machine, I guess I’ll have to take up a new hobby to hang with him.  At least we still have snowboarding!

Check out Kyle’s sixth grade musical.  He’s in the front row, second from the left in the stripped shirt.  This was taken in the spring of 2013.

http://youtu.be/h2Hhal-H0PA

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,LEGO's,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing and have No Comments

It’s Not About the Money

Money can’t buy happiness, but it can make you awfully comfortable while you’re being miserable  ~Clare Boothe Luce

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Kyle, accompanied by an excited Scooby, this past Easter morning… I stocked him up on books.. he was excited to start reading! 4/20/14

Teaching life lessons to a child seem to be much harder than I could have ever imagined.  Truly, when Kyle was a baby I used to think, lead by example and that should do it.  Now, I have resorted to actually taking money from a kid to prove a point.  One that I don’t think he’s getting.

About a month ago Kyle and I were in the store.  Previously, he saw these movie and gaming posters that he really liked and wanted for his room.  Great!  “You have money, so buy yourself a poster.”  Was my only response.

On a side note, I swear that soon to be thirteen year old kid always has more money than me.

I stood with him going through the posters, not appreciating the scantily dressed women in bikini’s with up close and person bottom shots, but we quickly got past those.  He considered The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Minecraft and Halo.  Which one he chose?  I have no idea, I think it was The Hobbit but don’t quote me on that.

At the same time, dad asked me to get him some air fresheners for his car.   While we were on location, it made sense to pick up a few fragrant smelling plastic clips too.

Now, for the story of my frustration.  We get to the checkout and I’ll admit, I was testing Kyle, for I put everything together.  I wanted to see if he would offer to pay for all the items, at the very least his poster.  Let’s face it, the total was maybe nine bucks, with his poster being five.

What Kyle did next, totally blew me away.  He stepped away from the register as the lady was ringing us up and never offered a penny!  I thought he’d at least throw in five dollars to cover his purchase.  Nope, he physically stepped back and gave me a look, expecting me to pick up the tab for everything.  I was floored!  Needless to say I paid.

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Me, dad & Kyle went fishing on Loyalhanna Lake, mom tagged along. We got the boat out & got it stuck in the mud… 6/1/14

All I said to Kyle was, “This is your poster you know.”  followed by him saying, “Ya, but that other stuff isn’t and I’m not paying for it.”  followed by me saying, “But the poster is yours and it doesn’t seem like your paying for that either.”

We left the check out before I tore into him.  I was totally flabbergasted!  He didn’t even offer to pay for his stupid poster, and not even care about the items for his pap?  The man who gives him everything, treats him like gold, never asks for anything from this kid, except for maybe good behavior.  The man who truly loves him with all his heart who takes him hunting and fishing, makes sure the kid is never without.  The man who goes well out of his way for the happiness of this little boy.  Ya, that man Kyle would not spend four dollars on, knowing that his pappy would compensate him tenfold for the gesture.  Heck, I would have given him the money for just simply offering.  And probably taken him to the movies or bought him another poster as a reward.

Nope, instead of being considerate and generous to those who love him the most, he chose the self-centered, greedy avenue.  One that marked him for life, or at least until the next incident.

As we were walking out of the store, I exploded!  None of us in my family are like that at all.  My brother certainly was never greedy, in fact he was too nice and generous with money, letting others take from him and never paying him back.  Granted, I don’t want Kyle to be that nice, but come on, this purchase was for him and his pappy.  I wasn’t expecting him to buy a months worth of groceries.  In fact, I wasn’t asking him to give up anything, it was the gesture or in his case, the lack of gesture that ticked me off as well as his attitude.

I don’t want Kyle to be greedy, not even close to greed.  That’s why I’m always Warning Against Materialism – Encouraging Dreams  I don’t want him associating with it.  I certainly don’t want him to be THAT guy who expects everyone to pay for him and he won’t even step up to return the gesture or meet halfway.  YIKES!  I hate that type of guy or gal. (not playing favorites)

Then, to make matters worse, I too do for him all the time.  I take him to the movies, to the store, to his piano lessons and I run around extra to accommodate him and his plans.  Not that I’m keeping score, but come on buddy, at least appreciate what you have and try to give back!

Did I mention that the money in his wallet was probably given to him by my dad, his pappy?  Frustrating!

Recently, Kyle called me about two hours before his piano lesson to inform me he didn’t want to go.  Now, I get the reasoning, he had family that was in town and surprised him, and it wasn’t totally his fault.  But he needs to learn that two hours beforehand to cancel on someone is not acceptable.  Yet, he was still planning on going to his baseball game that night.  Let me see, it was that important for him to cancel, and I still have to pay for the thirty minute lesson, but he can spend two hours at his game?  Granted, again there was a lot of political pressure put on him that was out of his control, but he needs to learn appropriate behavior and stand up for whats right.  So I said, “That’s your decision, but you’re paying me for the piano lesson.”  His response?  He cried.  My response?  I didn’t care.  Maybe a little.

Did you know, that kid tried to get out of paying me for the missed lesson?  Yes!  Then, to make matters worse, Kyle misplaced his piano books, so therefore he was not practicing all week.  He waited three hours before his lesson to ask me to look for his piano books at his Gigi and pappy’s house or my house.  Missed again buddy.

Naturally, we couldn’t find them and he had to go to his lessons without any music.  Before it was Kyle’s turn, I made him sit there and come up with a few good solutions to the problem.  Telling him it wasn’t the teacher’s problem, but yours alone and one he needed to find a reasonable solution.   I had to help him with suggestions like, “Ask your teacher if you can practice scales, or if he had other music you could play etc.”  The teacher was very accommodating but I was beyond angry.

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Kyle waiting his turn for piano lessons at Seton Hill Performing Arts Center. 9/23/13

Now the lesson not only included wasting my money, but it was inappropriate protocol.  Waiting till we leave for lessons to look for his book, when he should have been practicing all week, not acceptable!   I was more than furious that he felt it was admissible to not practice simply because he didn’t know were his books were located.  And somehow it became my responsibility and not his?  Wrong again buddy!  He needs to be held accountable for his actions.  I told him he was paying for that lesson too and if he thinks I forgot about the previous one, he was wrong.

Now Kyle must have realized I meant business and I was not happy with his behavior, for the next time I picked him up, he handed me five dollars for the poster, still refusing to acknowledge payment for the piano lessons.  I guess that was too steep for his budget, but I didn’t care.  Again, I reminded him and again he ignored my warning.

So now we have missing piano books for another week.  I told Kyle to call me on Monday giving a status update if he looked for them, he waited till Wednesday, the day before his lessons.  Getting better buddy but not there yet.  While we spoke on the phone, I was extremely calm, probably eerily calm for him.  I told Kyle he has a few choices to make, either we stop by the music store and pick up the books, which he has to pay for, or I’m pulling him from piano all together and he has to pay for the rest of the lessons that I pre-paid, about two hundred dollars worth.  I also asked for his suggestions, which he had none.

Kyle was stunned and completely speechless.  He didn’t know what to say or do.   Although, I will give him credit, he started to come up with temporary solutions like, “Aunt Heather, could you grab my old piano books, maybe I could play something in there.”  Good effort, now you’re slowly getting it, but still missing the mark.  Sadly, for Kyle it wasn’t about getting the most out of his lessons, or letting me down or not appreciating the opportunity I gave him with music, it was all about the money, his not mine.  Now I was depressed, realizing the materialism and greedy nature of this little boy.  How sad!  Again, my family would never in a million years act like this, apparently he’s learning it elsewhere.

Long story short, Kyle got out of any decision when I found his books.  And yes, he wanted to place the blame on his Gigi, because they fell into her box of photo albums that no one realized.  Yet, the books where still his responsibility and he should of had us looking long before he did.

This past weekend, Kyle had his wallet on him, the nice chain and leather gift given by his pap.  Would you believe the kid handed me forty bucks to cover the two piano lessons?  I was stunned actually.  No apologies, but he handed the money over to me saying, “Here Aunt Heather for the piano lessons.”  I could tell, he thought I was going to give it back with maybe a speech on being responsible and accountable that sort of thing.

I didn’t waste my breath.  I’ve said it all before.  I simply took the paper currency and said “Thank you.”  His eyes were sad for the loss of money.  I also noticed he did this in front of his pappy, thinking his pappy would do what he normally does and replace the cash.  Dad did no so such thing, knowing the situation.  We’re on to you Kyle!

Now what Kyle doesn’t know, is I’m planning on adding the forty bucks to his education fund.  He’s had that account since he was almost three months old, set up by my cousin Paula, who was Ryan’s godmother, Kyle’s dad.

I do believe Kyle is not a lost cause, he just needs more guidance.  In fact, not even a year ago, someone handed Kyle five bucks for doing a good job serving mass.  That was way too sweet.  Without thought, Kyle immediately gave the money to father for the church.  I was so very proud of him!  It was something he wanted to do and I could tell he felt it was the right thing.  I never steered him one way or the other.  It actually happened so quickly, Kyle already had his mind made up before I knew about it.  He is a generous kid!  Sometimes.

I’m working with him, everyday!  I just need to pray for patience.

Below is a video of Kyle playing the piano with his instructor at the Seton Hill Performing Arts Center.  Normally he won’t let me video him, but this time he did. 10/21/13

posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Hunting & Fishing,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience and have No Comments

Sweet Sounds of Music

Where words leave off, music begins.  ~Heinrich Heine

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Kyle’s 7th grade band recital. My little trumpet player (yes when he stood up, that clip on tie came to the middle of his chest!) Yikes! 2013

On Sunday Kyle had his youth group Christmas play.  His role?  The light man of course.  Yep!  He stood at the light switch and turned it off and on.  Remember there are no small parts and everyone has a role to play, just like life.  Everyone can’t be the star and in Kyle’s case, over the years he played a shepherd and one of the kings.  He had his fill and wanted to participate backstage.  Nothing wrong with that!  He did a great job!  Even with his not-so-center-0f-stage-role, Kyle attended all the practices and always gave his best.  That’s my buddy, if he’s going to do something, he will give it his all.

As I was sitting there, watching the kids get situated and ready to perform for their parents, a family friend, who was also Kyle’s second grade Sunday school teacher, Mrs. DePalma (Kyle loved her to death!) came over to me to chit chat.  On a side note, Mrs. DePalma is such a sincere, friendly, warmhearted person!  The kind who instantly spreads joy and good cheer to everyone around her.  Knowing her is a true blessing.  Her one daughter Angie, married one of my cousins.  So I guess we are related!

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Sacred Heart/Saint Cecilia’s Youth Group Christmas play. Kyle was the lighting technician. 1/5/13

Anyway, as we sat there talking, she informed me that she just talked to Kyle, admitting she drew a blank with his name, as he did with hers.  Too cute!  I’m sure Kyle was thrown off his game, since he always did like and respected Mrs. DePalma, and she gave him the little extra attention he craved.  She asked me what role Kyle was playing and we both giggled a little at our lighting technician.

As we sat there, I noticed they had a keyboard set up to play music throughout the play.  I commented that Kyle could have played a few songs.  Mrs. DePalma was intrigued asking me about his piano playing.  Naturally, like a proud mama (aunt) I told her, “He’s been playing the piano since he was six years old.”  Her eyes perked up and she was really impressed.  So I continued, “Yep, he’s really pretty good.  He doesn’t have the drive to practice at home, but he loves playing with is instructor and in front of family.”  Then, I informed her that he briefly took up the guitar and he plays the trumpet in school.  Of course, I couldn’t stop.  Normally, I don’t like bragging, well that’s not true when it comes to Kyle, but I couldn’t help myself.  Informing Mrs. DePalma that Kyle is in band class at his school, and he tried out and made it for jazz band.  Her face lit up!  And you know what?  It was in all sincerity and pride.  She loves to see kids doing well, not to mention she new Ryan and she knows what Kyle means to us.  (Her daughter Angie, the one I just referred to, was in Ryan’s class all the way from Sacred Heart Elementary School to Greater Latrobe High School graduation).

Kyle-playing-trumpet-7th-grade-jazz-band-Aunt-Heather-Piper-2013

Kyle playing the trumpet for his 7th grade jazz band. (look how short that clip on tie is? YIKES!) 2013

Kyle is musically talented, there is no denying it.  Now, I’m not saying he is a musical genius or a child prodigy, because he’s not.   But he does enjoy music, always has, and he seems to enjoy playing (except when I make him practice).

This past fall, Kyle had a band assembly at his school and mom and I attended.  One another side note, Kyle just expects us to be there at a moments notice.  He called us the day of the event, two hours before hand to be exact, and informed us of the activity.  On Kyle’s defense I guess he told my dad, but that’s like telling Kyle.   No fear, mom and I were there!  It was held in the school’s gym and the seventh and eighth grade students performed as well as their high school marching band.  You know what?  I was quite impressed!

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Sacred Heart/Saint Cecilia’s Youth Group Christmas play. Kyle handled the lights! 1/5/13

First of all, Kyle had on a nice pressed white button down shirt (sleeves rolled to the elbows), nice dress slacks, black socks, black dress shoes and a black tie.  Mom and I were floored!  He looked so grown up!  The only comment we both made was his tie.  It stopped at the middle of his chest.  Yikes!  It looked ridiculous.  So I made my way down to the horn section to offer assistance with the tie tying, thinking it just needs retied.  Low and behold, it was a clip-on tie!  What?  Ok, no point in making it into a bid deal, especially since the rest of him looked spot on.  As to not break the positive comments toward Kyle, I will not get into our shopping experience during Christmas for a real tie, not a clip-on.  I’ll save that one for a rainy day.

As we left, mom mentioned about buying the kid a nice tie.  Good idea mom!  However, we forgot until his next assembly right before Christmas.  Now it was too late!  This assembly was held in their auditorium and the kids were on stage.  While mom and I got settled in, we read over the program book.  Funny thing.  Kyle’s name had an asterisk by it.   We both looked at each other and at the same time said, “What did he do?” half joking.

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Kyle playing trumpet for his 7th grade jazz band. Look’in good! 2013

Mom and I were front and center, focused on Kyle.  As the program began and we started intently watching the kid.  He did something too comical, not intentionally.  As he started to play, that little man dropped his sheet music and he began to scramble to retrieve it.  Mom and I gave a bit of a chuckle since it was too cute.  Plus, let’s not forget his lack of flexibility reaching for the pieces of paper while sitting and trying not to disturb his neighbors, all while trying to continue to play.   Yep!  He’s definitely my nephew!

After the kids in his grade played a few tunes, they gathered the jazz band to the side of the stage.  Incidentally, the same side mom and I were residing.  Boy we know how to pick our seats!

Kyle completely ignored us the entire way through, which is fine because besides being too cool to have an aunt and a grandmother (Gigi) I know he gets nervous.

Both assemblies were very impressive, especially the marching band for the earlier musical assembly.  It’s funny, we never knew Kyle was in the jazz band.  Now don’t get me wrong, he did a great job!  I could also tell he seemed to enjoy it.  It wasn’t till after his second assembly, did we find out that he had to audition for said activity.  Wow!  That’s great buddy!  Good job!

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7th grade – Kyle playing the trumpet … looking good, staying focused!   Also looks like that kid is holding onto the sheet music!  2013

Kyle, that kid never ceases to amaze and impress me.  He is also surprising, in all good ways.  Apparently, he is planning on joining the marching band when he’s older.  Being very ecstatic over this comment, I told him I’ll be a band parent (aunt)!  Ya, Kyle just rolled his eyes and was like ‘O boy’.   I ensured him it would be a great time and I’d make it really fun.  Plus, if they don’t do band trips, I’ll help to get those kids traveling.  That didn’t entice him, at ALL!  We’ll see.

I am really happy he found his interest, and that it’s in music!  I hope it’s very rewarding for him!

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing and have No Comments

Smallest Moments, Mean the Most

The true genius shudders at incompleteness – and usually prefers silence to saying something which is not everything it should be.  ~Edgar Allen Poe

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Kyle taking a break from picking grapes… making grape jelly. 9/2/13

A part of loving a child, is really appreciating them for their humor, reasoning, intellect, innocence and for those unplanned, unexplained small moments that really bond adult and child.  At least that’s my opinion.  I mean there are many many more parts to loving a child like discipline, teaching respect, education and so on and so forth.  But if you don’t truly appreciate them for who they are, then there’s a part missing, because like I said, it’s a PART of loving a child.

I love all aspects, well maybe not the disciplining them, but it goes with the territory.  Recently, the small moments part really revealed itself to me through Kyle.  My last blog touched on it, Music Reinforces Our Tight Bond, but there’s been more!  I’m sure these small moments happen at a higher rate than I can see them.  Let’s face it with running around checking off my task list and getting caught up in the pace of the day, I’m sure I’ve missed more than I’m aware.  In my eyes, that’s fine as long as I catch and glimpse every now and again.

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Storm had a blast playing with us while we picked grapes! 9/2/13

Last Sunday Kyle was at my house, winding down for the day.  Lately, I’ve been struggling with Kyle regarding his reading.  He loves to read, but this summer he hasn’t found much interest to get lost in the books.  Now that school has started up, I thought he would get back to his routine and pick up where he left off.  Nope.  At least not just yet.

While sitting in the living-room Kyle got up and walked over to one of my bookshelves to examine the spines of the books.  Yes, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there’s nothing like the feel and the smell of an actual book, where you can turn the pages, makes notes in the margins, smudge up the pages with food and drink to later rediscover yours or someone’s past.  There’s nothing wrong with digital books, I think they are great for traveling and such, but I still have an affinity for the real deal.  The words on my pages and cover design will never change, unlike its digital sister.

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Storm getting ready to climb the grape harbor…Kyle was picking grapes to the left. 9/2/13

Anyway, Kyle started to read the titles and question me about them.  He saw the Mortal Instrument series and stopped and noted The City of Bones.  We just saw that movie and now his interest was peeked, asking me which books are good.  I love going through my past reads, introducing my old friends to my nephew.  Then, he stopped at The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy.  For some reason over the years those books keep catching his eye.  They are the old plain covers with a small symbol on each in muted solid colors.  Nothing flashy, yet intriguing to him.  Personally, I loved those books, immensely and I told Kyle so.  Of course, I had to sadly inform him they are more adult oriented and very violent, but really good reads.  He just nodded and continued perusing, until he came on an old book with a red cover entitle Works of Edgar Allen Poe.

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Kyle reaching to pick the grapes.. thinking grape jelly! 9/2/13

I’ve never seen another book with this cover, in fact I know it used to be a part of a larger collection of classic writers, but I have no idea what happened to the rest of the compilation.  Somehow Mr. Poe has been following me over the years, hanging out on my bookshelf.  It contains short stories, poems and essays.  I’ve read through the entire book several times, but I can’t say in the past decade.  During high school and college I would pull out stories and poems for a class project, but I haven’t sat and enjoyed his works in quite some time.

With a huge smile, I introduced Kyle to Edgar Allen Poe.  I said, “Here buddy let me read you a few poems.  Gigi used to read some of them to me when I was little and I loved them!”  I opened up the aged pages and the first poem I saw was The Raven.  Every time I think of that poem, the move The Crow starring Brandon Lee, the son of the famous Bruce Lee, comes to mind.  Recapping the movie to Kyle, I dove right into the poem, since he didn’t seem to have a clue what I was talking about, nor did he care.  When reading poetry, it’s so much fun to keep the rhythm and enunciate the words with gusto, to truly paint the picture.  I must say I am pretty good at it, at least enough to capture some of Kyle’s attention.

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Seven & Storm hanging out under the grape harbor. 9/2/13

After The Raven I moved onto mom’s favorite, Bells.  Kyle listened, but I could tell he wasn’t too into it.  He even said, “All I heard out of that was Bells.  Bells, bells, bells, the ringing of the bells.”  I laughed and said, “See!  You enjoyed it and even started to memorize it!”  I must say I was quite entertained and was loving the time, maybe not as much as Kyle, but I do believe he will remember it, just like I remember the first time I was introduced to Edgar Allen Poe.

I think I really lost him sometime around A Dream Within A Dream.  Asking Kyle if I could read him a short story, he quickly said “No!”.  I was really getting into this walk down memory lane and reading to Kyle once again.  So that was a major disappointment.  I’m not sure if it was the way I was projecting the poems, the idea of poetry or if the kind-of-creepy content threw Kyle over the edge.  Yes, Bells is rather upbeat and cheery, yet it has the creepy dead thing about the content.  Kyle hates suspense, thrillers or anything remotely scarey and disturbing.  I’m sure he picked up on it, especially from The Raven.  Note to self, maybe I should pick another classic to introduce to Kyle.  Regardless, I enjoyed our small moments of togetherness and having the opportunity to read to Kyle again.

Putting the book aside to turn on the stove, Kyle and I had a great time on Labor Day making grape jelly.  It was the day after we got back from our New York trip, What It Takes to Move a Tree Stand and What It Takes to Move a Tree Stand … Continued.  Before we left, dad mentioned the grapes were ready to pick.  So on Monday, Kyle had it in his head that he wanted to pick grapes.  Not really on my list of desirableness, but I thought what the heck, I was just sitting around anyway.

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Storm kept pouncing on our hands while we picked the grapes. 9/2/13

We actually had a great time.  It was nice and peaceful, except the two of us chit chatting occasionally.  Seven and Scooby came out to join us and run around, as did Storm.  She had a blast, running up and down the grape harbor, creeping among the leaves to pounce on our hands as we reached for grape bunches above our heads.  It turned out to be a nice time full of accomplishments.  We ended up with five or six brown grocery bags full of grapes.

Now what to do with them?  Initially, Kyle wanted to make grape juice, except we still had grape juice from years ago we never drank.  So we agreed upon grape jelly.  We only made a few batches and gave the rest of the grapes to my cousin Karen for her crew to use up.

It was a fun day in the kitchen, even though my mom would probably disagree.  I love knowing that Kyle is exposed to traditions, especially canning.  He was even getting creative by substituting the sugar for honey.   He was very proud of himself, as was I.  It turned out to be another unplanned time to bond, and for that I am very thankful and blessed.

You can’t plan these small moments, just realize when they are present and soak them up like the sun, for they’ll disappear before you know it, like grape jelly.

posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Common Sense,Cooking with Kyle,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing and have No Comments

Music Reinforces Our Tight Bond

Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.  ~Ludwig van Beethoven

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Kyle at his 1st piano recital, at his 1st grand piano. 5/17/09

Last night I took Kyle to his piano lessons.  I must admit, I truly love getting my little man, eating dinner together, and just plain hanging out.  He is back in the swing of school and back to a standard routine.  As with most special memories, this one was unplanned and came as a surprise.

My phone died early in the day.  Why didn’t I charge it you may ask?  Well, simply because I had no idea what I did with the plug.  I have a stock pile of cords from my last iPhone, which also charges my iPad and Kyle’s iPod Touch, but alas I only have the one plug for the iPhone 5.  I’ve been meaning to get another one, but like many people, I put it off until there’s an issue.  Guess what?  Issue!  I needed my phone to call on Greensburg businesses to get the Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt ready and finalized for Seton Hill University.  Crap.

Anyway, I had to leave to pick up Kyle.  Naturally, once in my car, he reached for my phone to probably play a game and it was dead.  He looked at me in shock.  I know!  We both felt really off our game.  Almost as if we were being detoxed from an addiction.  Now that I’m thinking back on it, that’s a shame we are like that with our phones.  But we are a product of our surroundings.  Did we survive without it?  Most certainly!  Did it help that Kyle had his phone?  Yes!  Only so my parents and my sister could touch base with him, no dire emergency.

Why is this relevant?  I’m so used to getting my emails via my phone, as well as text messages and Facebook messages, it didn’t dawn on me that Kyle’s music teacher would be reaching out to me through my online communications.  Yep, he had to cancel Kyle’s piano lesson.  Well, as I found out the next day, after recovering my long lost phone cord (1 day) and juiced up the handheld addiction, his teacher did indeed cancel his lessons.  Actually, using common sense, it didn’t take a phone to tell me Kyle’s piano teacher wasn’t there.

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Kyle’s music recital group. 5/17/09

While sitting in the waiting room, and as the minutes passed, Kyle became impatient and wouldn’t let me read, (he forgot his book The Lord or the Rings: Return of the King).  At that point, we both decided to get up and look around for his teacher.  His teacher, David is a Seton Hill student and who is always on time and very responsible.  Just out of curiosity, Kyle and I walked down to his piano practice room to check out the situation.  Nope no David but there was THE PIANO!

Not being able to resist a beautiful baby grand piano, I walked in, sat down and started striking the keys.  I’ve always wanted to learn to play the piano but my parents didn’t have the money when I was younger and it never was a priority for me as I got older.  Maybe one day I will take the time and learn.  But for now, it’s all on Kyle.

Kyle knowing that I had no idea what notes I was hitting, and no clue how to combine them to form a single song, he sat beside me on the piano bench and started to play a few memorized tunes.  Show off!  But I loved it.

Without saying anything and almost as if by muscle memory, Kyle opened his piano book and started to play a song,  It was one he previously covered in a past lesson, totally new to me.  Kyle started to actually instruct me, showing me were to place my fingers and how to play.

It was AWESOME!  He played a few notes and I watched his little chubby fingers to mimic his actions, messing up every other time.  He was very patient and showed me the fingering a few times so I could follow along.  He even went as far as to instruct me how to play with both hands, and I did!  Now there was certainly no mistaking me for Mozart or Beethoven, but I was playing an actual song, all because of Kyle!

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Close up of Kyle at his 1st piano recital. 5/17/09

Kyle sat further down on the keys to my right and played along side me.  He was too cute, even waiting for me as I slowly hit the notes.  We both enjoyed sharing in on the same song, side-by-side, in our space, just the two of us. (As I wrote that, the song, Just the Two of Us popped in my head! I crack myself up!)  We played together for at least twenty minutes or so.  Yes the same song!  I think Kyle was really enjoying playing with me, as I know I was most certainly having a great time.

Then, out of nowhere, Kyle turned to another one of his piano books and started to teach me about notes, and counts.  He was actually instructing me!  I loved it.  Sitting there attentively and taking in all his knowledge, I started to grasp the music theory.  As he reviewed the notes, it came back to me how to read music, not that I was ever very good at it but I got by.

Once Kyle started to get bored with the situation he busted out one of his standard songs, which happens to be his pappy’s favorite Ode to Joy (German: Ode an die Freude) by Ludwig van Beethoven, always a favorite of mine too and always beautifully played by Kyle.

We sat and played, mostly in silence until it was half past the hour.  Then we decided we were done for the day and headed home.  As we left I told Kyle how much I always wanted to play the piano and I asked him if he would teach me.  He smiled this grin that was almost ornery mixed with excitement and nodded his head in agreement.  Cool!

Our family is not the most musical.  My mom played the piano in her younger days and my sister played the flute for a few years.  I did learn to play the scales on the saxophone, but none of us is fluent in music.  Kyle is the closest we have and he is pretty good.  No prodigy, but I’m happy with his musical abilities and his love and appreciation for the musical arts.

We had a great night!  Before our musical performance we watched Parental Guidance, which I rented and was never able to watch.  Kyle really wanted to see it and we had just enough time to squeeze it in before his lessons, since he didn’t have homework.  It was a funny movie that we both got a kick out of.

I will admit, I enjoyed my music lesson so much more than sitting there watching a movie with Kyle.  I literally could have have stayed in that practice room all night and played and listened to the beautiful music leaving Kyle’s fingers.  Can’t wait for my first lesson!

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience and have No Comments

WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt & a Puppy In a Day

Learn what is to be taken seriously and laugh at the rest.  ~Hermann Hesse

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Me & Kyle at the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt Event in Shadyside. Great time! 8/17/13

This past Saturday proved to hold an exciting day!  My sister was on her way home with a new bundle of puppy.  The very same day, my company, Thrill of the Hunt, was holding another scavenger hunt event in Shadyside, in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, called the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt.  Not to mention a big day wouldn’t be complete without a little attitude and whining from Kyle.

Let’s start in the early afternoon with the arrival of Avery Piper.  This 20 pound cute playful puppy really turned the house inside out.  Scooby, being a grumpy old man was not too pleased to have the rambunctious visitor.  He was growling and nipping and just plain being a bully.  Pretty much everything we expected out of Scooby.  Seven on the other hand was curious and almost excited to have a new friend.  Maybe he remembered how hard it was to be the new doggie on the block.  Seven had to deal with Scooby solo and maybe Seven just wanted to be a mentor, a friend to Avery.

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Nicole hanging with Avery! Don’t let her cute looks fool you! She’s a stinker! 8/17/13

Then let’s discuss, Storm, my cat.  She is a year old and is not very friendly with other people, strange places and certainly not puppies.  She was clearly the one who was the most upset.  She sat up in her perch (This is a tree house type of structure I built for her.  It stands about six feet tall and is equipped with multilevel sitting areas and carpeting.  It’s a place for her to escape the dogs.) and puffed up till she resembled a soft fluffy ball of cat.  She was hissing, and growling, and spitting and swatting her razor sharp claws (I can attest to that!) at the completely ignorant puppy.  Did I mention, as far as we know, Avery has never seen a cat before?  So this was a real treat for her.  Her Avery, not her Storm.

Avery, a.k.a. Acorn (yes I already gave her another name to instigate my sister!) was just so happy to be hanging with all of us and truly didn’t understand the disdain of Storm and Scooby.  She was jumping on the furniture and wanting to play like it was a big party.  Even though I did soak up the playful energy projected from this short haired, pig tailed eared, clumsy, teething youngster, I was still concerned for the stress levels of my Storm.

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My perfect little Thrill of the Hunt assistant! He is a great businessman & he worked at the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt Event. 8/17/13

While all this was going on, Kyle and I needed to get ready for the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt in Shadyside.  It started at 3:30 pm, which means we needed to be there between 2:30 pm and 3:00 pm to set up, sell any last minute tickets and hand out brochures to continue to get our name out there.  Not to mention it takes at least an hour from Latrobe to get to Pittsburgh, depending on the traffic.

Kyle and I had the car packed and everything ready.  I am not a procrastinator, I figure why give myself added stress that I can control, when there is always something unforeseen or uncontrollable that inevitably pops up.  That’s enough excitement for me, so that’s why Kyle and I packed the car and ran through our checklist the night prior.  We also went through the same list one last time before heading out, to cross our T’s and dot our i’s.

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Pap & Avery taking a nap together! 8/17/13

God has really blessed us in our new adventure.  I mean it.  Recently, Thrill of the Hunt has been commissioned to develop and administer the Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt for Seton Hill University, the Pittsburgh Marathon is having Thrill of the Hunt build a scavenger hunt for the race expo, Exploring Inspiration Scavenger Hunt and for their 10k, 5k, Pet Walk in North Park this October, Witches Brew Scavenger Hunt.  Did I mention thus far, for all of our scavenger hunt events we’ve had perfect weather?  Yes!  I know the weather will never cooperate one hundred percent, but to start out and get acclimated to our scavenger hunt events, it certainly does help.

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I’m ready to get the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt on the way! We had a perfect day! 8/17/13

The WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt went off without a hitch!  It’s funny, Kyle was being such a kid during the day, wanted everyone to play his card game and wanted to sit on his iPod and play games and not practice his piano or read his Lord of the Rings The Two Towers book, yet when he was in the car with me and most certainly when we got to Shadyside to set up, Kyle changed his tune quickly, without being asked.  Kyle didn’t complain one bit, he went right to work helping to set up and he even started reaching out the pedestrians supplying them with brochures.  He was supporting Thrill of the Hunt in best possible manner.  When he met with people, he shook their hands confidently and truly was the perfect assistant!  I don’t know if Kyle likes the work, enjoys being part of the company or is just innately aware I would kick his butt if he misbehaved.  But he was a great business partner and the perfect assistant!

Kyle & Aunt Heather Piper TextingEither way, as like most times hanging with Kyle, we had a great time!  I try to be very approachable and friendly to potential clients when I’m representing Thrill of the Hunt.  I stand by my station ready to answer inquisitive looks and comments as those unknown to Thrill of the Hunt walk by.  Yes, I stand for the hours it takes to complete the scavenger hunts, unlike Kyle.  One of his weaknesses.  To keep his body from complete shock, I had him stand with me in little spurts before he would retreat to his bench to sit and relax.  I’m fine with that, for now!

Kyle cracked me up!  During the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt, the participants not only had to figure out the riddles, but they had online challenges to execute as well.  I also had to review the online activity to see if anyone was stumped or questioning a specific clue.  Yes, so while I was greeting “passerbyers”, I was also following the online activity.  During all this, Kyle was texting my sister to see the status of the mad house back home.  Then, to throw me off my concentration, Kyle began to send me funny text messages, like asking if my legs were tired and calling me a Bad Girl (inside joke within our family due to the labeling on the butt of my sisters underwear).  Kyle was cracking me up!

Side story.  The last time I was down at my sisters, we were commissioned to develop and administer to the Discover Scavenger Hunt for a five year old birthday party.  That Friday night, after I got in, I came around the corner to ask Nicole something, while she was in the kitchen and what did my eyes read?  Yep, Bad Girl written across her underwear as she stood at the sink.  Immediately, I lost it!  I could barely say, “Bad Girl” when Nicole instantly busted out laughing, while running to the bathroom.  She was laughing so hard she had to pee!  Now I couldn’t just let something like that only be shared between the two of us, so I told my family.  Mom, died laughing!  Even dad got a chuckle out of it.  But Kyle thought it was the funniest thing he’s ever heard.  Since then, everyone once in a while we just say, “Bad Girl!”.  It cracks us all up!  Especially Kyle, who loves being in on the inside joke.

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Me & Kyle promoting Thrill of the Hunt & getting ready for the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt in Shadyside, Pittsburgh Pa. 8/17/13

Well, the feedback from the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt participants were very positive.  I didn’t have a huge turnout, but enough to make the event fun.  It seems like I can’t give the tickets away for my scavenge hunt events lately, at least at present day.  Although I have a feeling, that comment will be just unbelievable and silly in the future.  Especially, when it catches on that these themed scavenger hunts are challenging, interactive and just plain fun!  Not to mention, my scavenger hunts also help to support and promote small communities and local merchants.  Win, win for everyone!

When we got back to the house, it was still standing and everyone learned to calm down a bit.  Kyle was back to being my fun little man again, especially after I was praising him for his help and behavior.  We celebrated with Primanti Brothers sandwiches and we rented The Burbs.  Perfect evening to a crazy day!

Please vote for Thrill of the Hunt!  We have a chance to win a commercial during the Superbowl!  We need all the votes!  Everyone can vote daily, so keep them coming!!

VOTE HERE!  Thrill of the Hunt

 

Check out the pictures / videos from the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt from our Gallery page, Facebook, Pinterest and Youtube!

Follow the Hunt!

                   

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments

Music For the Eyes & Ears

Music is a moral law.  It gives soul t the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.  ~Plato

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Kyle hanging out on the Big Piano FAO Schwarz. ‘Aunt Nikki & Kyle’s week of Fun’ in New York City, NY 2011

Yesterday was Kyle’s sixth grade music recital.  Yes, it was his last music assembly of elementary school.  He sang and played the trumpet along with the rest of the sixth grade class.  He’s grown up so much in many ways, and yet he is still truly just a kid.

Mom and I were in the second row enjoying the musical theme, From the Inside Out.  Dad and Nicole were both working, so I did my best to video tape some of the assembly, giving them a glimpse of what was presented.

As Kyle mounted the stage, I caught his eye.  He gave me one of his trying-not-to-smile smiles.  Naturally, I had to give him a wave to confirm my presence, and to instigate a bit.  I was sincerely excited to see him sing and play!

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Kyle with his friends at his 6th Grade Music Recital 2/21/13

As he was clapping and singing and stomping and playing his trumpet, all the memories of Kyle’s love of music floated in my head like a painting.  Kandinsky’s theory came to mind.  Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) said he could see sound as color and visa verse.  The music I heard came across my mind as images of Kyle over the years, like I was seeing a symphony of pictures tied to their memories.

Always having an adoration for music, even as a tiny five month old baby that could barely hold himself up, Kyle would keep the beat and sway to music, or at least try.  Either for Kyle’s first or second Christmas, my grandma got him this stuffed musical penguin that played Jingle Bells.  On a side note, maybe that’s why Kyle has such a bond with that song.  When we played the penguin, Kyle’s eyes would light up, he would smile and his body would go into motion.  The best part, the penguin moved from side-to-side and Kyle would try and mimic the motion.  It was too funny!  I have no idea what ever happened to that beloved piece of entertainment, but Kyle’s love of music prevails.  I’m not talking about just music on the radio or pumping from my iTunes.  Any music or rhythms coming from anywhere and everywhere picked up by his ears.

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Kyle’s 6th Grade Class. “From the Inside Out” 2/21/13

Watching Kyle view a movie is hilarious.  The best part is usually the end while the credits are rolling and the theme song is playing.  Without knowing he’s being watched or without a care, Kyle inadvertently busts a move to the tunes.  Actually, that goes for any show or commercial.  While sitting on the living-room floor either assembling or playing with his Legos, sometimes certain tunes will project from the TV.  Kyle’s body is automatically swaying to the music as if he’s a puppet on strings.  He loves music!

At the very beginning of last semester’s piano lessons, the instructor asked Kyle to bring in his old practice books so he could review and brush up on the basics.  During the lull in time while Kyle didn’t have piano lessons he got rusty, like anyone would.  So to ensure Kyle was learning properly and advancing, David his piano instructor, reinforced his foundation.  Great idea!

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Kyle bust’n a move on the dance floor 2003.  Proof I did get him in a shirt & tie!

I remember that first lesson so well.  As we sat in the Seton Hill common room waiting for Kyle’s turn, he started to read through the piano book, a piece he hasn’t looked at for literally years.  Of course what’s old is new again, and Kyle being such an astute student, started looking thr0ugh his music books recapturing knowledge from the first songs that started out his piano training.  Always coming prepared with a book to read, I couldn’t focus on the words on the page for the distraction in front of me.  Kyle was flipping through the pages and humming the songs to reacquired himself with his old friends, the music.  Yes, he was actually humming to himself turning the pages rapidly as if cramming for a test.  His actions were not intended to bring attention to himself, but to prepare for his piano lesson.  He was so engrossed in his own thoughts, he really didn’t notice everyone in the room smiling in his direction.  As I sat there and stared at him, thinking he would notice me, he continued with his train of thought and didn’t break concentration.  I was ready to bust a gut and laugh out loud, that is until he was saved by his piano teacher.  David’s appearance interrupted Kyle’s focus and brought him back to reality.

We used to laugh and say music would sooth the savage beast, referring to Kyle.  It did!

I love seeing the joy and inspiration that music brings to Kyle.  For the sixth grade field trip this year, the students went to Heinz Hall and listened to the symphony.  He came home and told us all about it with sheer excitement.  In fact, while we were driving, Kyle remembered his trip to Pittsburgh because he started searching the radio for a specific channel.  He was trying to find the classical music station on the radio.  He said, “Aunt Heather, they told us we could listen to the music on the radio.”  Once he found it, he beamed with delight!  Since then, Kyle has been listening to the classical music station when we are on the move.  Nice change of pace!  Good thinking Kyle!

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments

Whining, Stubborn, Difficult – Strike!

Loving a child doesn’t mean giving in to all his whims; to love him is to bring out the best in him, to teach him to love what is difficult.  ~Nadia Boulanger

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Nicole holding a very upset Kyle while Gigi soothes his stress

It’s true I have a short fuse.  However, over the years I’ve been able to control it, instead of my temper controlling me.  I’m usually easy going, that is until you hit that nerve.  The one that makes me twitch and continues to nag until I explode, my arms start flailing, and I start screaming at the top of my lungs.  Luckily, this behavior is rare and it takes a lot of button pushing to get me to this point.  But when it happens, look out!  It’s not a pretty site.  I understand it really doesn’t solve anything to get this mad, but sometimes you need to make a scene to make a point.

Kyle is a pretty good kid, he really is.  I mean that in the sense that he is caring, polite, friendly, sincere and he is very moral and just. OK, he does have his fair share of flaws, the number one on the list is his whining.  He has gotten a little bit better over the years, but that’s one thing I can’t stand.  Nobody in our family whines.  I even asked mom if we did as children and she honestly said none of us whined.  So where did this gene stink in?  Anyway when Kyle starts his whining and his resistance to instructions for no apparent reason, and then starts his behavior that is carried on from his two year old days, I loose it big time!  Now this doesn’t happen in a matter of minutes, sometimes this goes on over a span of hours, even days or weeks.  Then my boiling point is reached.

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The progression of Kyle's breakdown 2002

One thing I do like to take into consideration, is Kyle’s nature. He tends to be a child who internalizes and stresses.  I don’t get that at all, probably cause it’s not in my nature, but I am very aware he is different.  When he feels bad, he really feels bad and it effects him physically.  He is a child that you can guilt into doing something, which anyone that would do that, is mean in my opinion.  Guilt is not a tool to use when raising a child, especially Kyle.  Those emotions consume him and can make him physically ill, and I don’t want Kyle to get an ulcer down the road.  Being aware of all these side issues, handling a child that has pushed launch on the nuclear weapon button, it gets a little tricky and I have to keep myself in check.

Last Wednesday it started.  Now Kyle was not being bad, not by all means but he was complaining.  He went to swimming no problem and he took a half an hour shower afterwards.  On a side note, I found out why it takes Kyle so long to shower.  Evidently, Kyle and one of the other boys from swimming play with this hippo washcloth, and they use the empty shampoo bottles as water launchers.  When Kyle’s at home the water barely touches him before he’s out.  I guess it’s no fun just standing there getting clean.  Anyway, as soon as we got home he started to tell me what he would eat from what I made in advance.  Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t force Kyle to eat everything, and I certainly don’t make him eat till he’s busting at the seems, but he will sit down and eat a well-balanced meal.  I made him roasted chicken, broccoli coated in breadcrumbs, foccacia bread, berry salad (bananas, blue berries, black berries, and strawberries sitting in a little sugar), and a green leafy salad (mushrooms, sugar snap peas, shredded cheddar cheese).  I told him what we were eating and I suggested we go to the store and get his favorite french dressing and honey for the berries since they were a little tart.  While shopping in the salad dressing isle, I wanted to get him the light french dressing.  He started to argue with me.  I even told him he wouldn’t know the difference, and I really don’t think you can tell. Strike!

kyles-moment-Aunt-Heather-Piper 2002

Kyle's moment 2002

While I was preparing the meal, I told Kyle we needed to say grace, and he gave me the stink eye, which I don’t tolerate. Strike!  Then he proceeds to tell me he doesn’t eat black berries.  I said “Fine, pick them out but I don’t know when this started.”  Then he proceeds to dump the honey all over the berries without even trying them.  I stopped him and he gave me a typical ‘huh’ type of sigh.  Strike!  So now let’s talk about the salad.  He started dumping the dressing all over the salad, and I mean dump!  I had to address this. Strike! Then he moved his way to the broccoli, which he argued about beforehand.  Ironically, he really does like broccoli, but he likes to complain more.  I just gave him the broccoli heads and would you believe he just barely nipped off the tops?  There wasn’t really even a stem! Strike!

As we wrapped up dinner and started into the homework, the resistance continued. He was working on his math paper and insisted on using a calculator, even though he knows how to do the math.  He said “We’re aloud to use the calculators.  Why can’t I?”  My reasoning was to take advantage of this homework for a little reinforcement of his basic math skills, I wanted him to get practice.  You would have thought I gave him a term paper to write!  I explained that I wanted him to have a little practice with math.  Then the huffing and puffing and complaining began.  Strike! Strike! Strike!

Once we got past the homework, Kyle reminded me that I said we could stop for ice-cream on the way home if he ate his dinner.  He said, “I ate some of it, you didn’t say I had to eat it all.  I ate the broccoli too.”  Ummm at this point we both knew he was fooling no one. I said, “Ok buddy, let’s go out and burn off some calories, let’s get up to 200 calories and then we’ll leave.”  He instantly said, “But I burned off calories in the swimming.”  I said, “Well that’s true, but it’s not like you exercise everyday and a little extra walking wouldn’t do you any harm.”  Big sigh!

So we started off running around my neighborhood, well for the first 20 feet or so, and then Kyle wanted to walk.  I was perfectly alright with that, since he was the one who wanted to run in the first place, I wasn’t trying to push too much.  Then he started his whining and complaining, from about 10 feet behind me. You see, when Kyle doesn’t want to do something, that child can move so incredibly slow, which drives me absolutely crazy. Strike!

Casey-Kyle-Aunt-Heather-Piper-2003

Casey with an upset Kyle 2003

Well needless to say with the complaining and “How much further?”, I was done, not happy at all.  I came through on my promise and took him for ice-cream, even though we burned only 50 calories, maybe.

At this point I’m still simmering, not quite boiling.  As we stood in line I was talking to Kyle, cooling down, and I reiterated that he still needed to practice his instruments and brush his teeth.  Then Kyle turned to me and said, “I don’t know if I can do my instruments tonight.” Ok rockets are now going off!  I’ve been saying all along, if he doesn’t want to play the piano and guitar, then say the word.  I’ve also told him to practice his instruments right after school so he has time to get it in.  Well, I was ticked, he basically said if he can’t get to it tonight then that’s the way it is.  I told him I was going to pull him out of music lessons, and then he started to sob.  I said, “What are you crying for?  I’m tired of arguing with you and you obviously don’t care about your lessons.”  He said, “I do.” but with a sigh and whine to his voice through the sobs.  I said, “Kyle if you really wanted to play the instruments, then you would do it without anyone reminding you or pushing you.”  He had nothing good to say.  Then I said, “Or you would practice them right after school like I asked you.”

I don’t like being mad at Kyle, after all he is my little man, but he does possess those few qualities that make me see red.  Of course he has those qualities that bring light to my heart as well.  After I started to simmer back down, Kyle did turn to me and said, “Thank you Aunt Heather for the ice-cream.”  That practically threw me for a loop and melted my heart.  As always, no matter how mad I am, I always tell Kyle how much I love him.  I guess everyone has their off day.  I just continue to pray for patience and understanding during those trial times.

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Observation & Imagination,Patience and have No Comments
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