Scenes from Saturday + Piano Grit

We are currently in one of those valleys where piano has gotten more difficult and practices have gotten more laborious and more contentious. It’s ratcheted up the stress level in the household to the point where Michelle and I have to tag in and out during practice to keep our own sanity. You can’t fight frustration with frustration. 

I worry sometimes that the girls’ days are so packed that they don’t have enough time to fail before it’s on to the next thing.  There’s literally no time for the ‘hard’ thing. There’s no struggle because there is always a new activity.

So I am trying really hard to see these piano battles as an opportunity. It’s not easy. Seeing your child get frustrated, struggle and fail is tough, but I don’t know any other way to teach the girls about the importance of effort, deliberate practice and failure. Perseverance is very much a skill they are going to need.

Maybe piano won’t be her passion. It’s not really fair to expect an eight year old to know their passion, right?. Maybe she gives up on it, but right now, I don’t think a low point should be the end point.

She will learn this minuet if it kills us all.

Maybe it wasn’t just some tougher songs this week. We also had that wind storm on Sunday keep everyone up, then the sugar high of Halloween, followed by a day long field trip for Cecilia, then finally Thursday’s late night tooth fairy visit for Ally. 

By Saturday morning the girls were a bit of a cranky mess. So, we started the day on the couch, but to protect their angelic image, I did not take any photographs.

Once we forced a little food into them, they perked up.


Soccer is over and we have a few weeks until basketball starts, but we still have art classes to get us up and moving. This week they learned more about perspective and shading.


Meanwhile, Ally and I did some food shopping. We had one of those eat down weeks were we didn’t shop and tried to really get creative with the things that had been lingering in the cupboards, but by Friday night it was getting bleak and bare.

Ally brought her own shopping list.


That list definitely included a chocolate donut.


To her credit, it also included a donut for her big sister.


Four times a year, we make chili (ironic, I know, given we are mostly a plant-based house) for Haley House. It’s a good opportunity to talk to the girls about service and volunteering. It’s also a good way for them to practice their knife skills. There’s a lot of chopped celery in this recipe.


Dash is keen to be a taste tester.


The girls then dipped into their vast stores of past birthday and Christmas arts and crafts gifts.



And, of course, there was an Ally hand jive dance break at some point. Even Cecilia sometimes doesn’t know what to make of her little sister.


Soon it was time for lunch. This involved a disco ball. I just go with it. Can you tell Ce is getting annoyed at all the pictures?


After lunch, Dash and I went for a little run. The knee rehab is going slowly and I’m trying very hard not to get frustrated, but this week was a little longer and a little less painful.

Quick tip, if you go on a trail run with your dog, don’t look back and try to call for him. You’ll end up sprawled on the ground. On the plus side, he thought this was great fun and immediately caught up to me.


I don’t know what was going on when I came back, but they seemed happy.


There were no naps or enforced quiet times today, we want to enjoy that extra hour of sleep as much as possible, but we did give them some ipad downtime to regroup before heading to dominoes night.

Ally mistakenly thought we were going to the Kentucky Derby.


Finally, it was time to head off for another dominoes night with friends. It always helps as a parent to hear that you are not crazy and often dealing with the same things as everyone else. A good reminder your problems are rarely unique!

This is also one of the reasons I often find comfort in Google as a parent. There is almost no phrase you can type (“long term effects of blue crayon on the inner ear canal”) that some other bewildered parent hasn’t also typed. Hooray for the therapeutic benefits of auto-complete.

The kids were down in the basement and hard to hear.


The adults were upstairs with the leisure games. It was a good setup.


Now if you’ll excuse me, another Saturday night is almost gone and I’m going to persevere through the rest of this wine.