Last night, L decided to SHOW OUT at piano lesson.
She likes to do things her way. On her time. For as long as she wants. And then not.
In our schooling, I work hard to determine when it’s time to set a boundary/expectation and when it’s time to let her direct her own learning. For example, the other day when we did the Unifix cubes decomposition of numbers 10, 9, and 8, I showed her how to represent 10 and 0 and asked her to slide one over to represent 9 and 1. From there, she did the sliding while I recorded and we talked about it. When we got mid-way through the 8’s, she slowed WAAAAAY down. She didn’t ask to be done, but I could tell she was about done. I told her, “When you finish the 8’s, I think we should be done. It seems like you’re getting tired.” True to form, when it was time for the last slide over, she decided she needed to be done now. Nice try, stinker! “I know you’re so, so tired! Let’s have a snuggle so you can get enough energy to finish the last one. What should we play when we’re done?” 30 seconds and then we were ready to face life again. That was a time I tried really hard to follow what her behavior was saying while still finding a way to help her persevere (just a little bit).
I think we do pretty well with that at home.
At a lesson, though? It’s a whole other story! L would like to see just how much she’s able to get away with when faced with an external authority figure.
Last night’s antics included putting her feet on the piano. Twice.
This is NOT, btw, our kid trying to show us that she doesn’t want to do piano. She loves piano, she loves her teacher, she practices spontaneously and joyfully, etc. Was she tired last night? Sure! Was she also just seeing if her teacher would put an end to her hijinks? Absolutely. Did her teacher put an end to the hijinks? Not effectively.
You see, L is cute. She is tiny for her age and has great big anime-like eyes and a charming disposition and is generally advanced. She’s like a cartoon character of a “gifted kid”. Everyone loves her. We don’t leave the house without people commenting on/to her, and generally they’re right. She is kind and cute and funny and spunky.
She’s also really strong-willed. Stubborn, in fact. I don’t know where she gets it.
In any case, her piano teacher has fallen into the same trap so many before her have: being afraid to say NO to L. Not a questioning no “Can you please stop that, ok?” or a smiling no to keep it from feeling too harsh. A “Oh hells no!” no that stops L in her tracks and helps her understand that you don’t always get to set the rules.
Since her teacher was unable to set that boundary, we set as an expectation today that L would write an “I’m sorry” song to practice for her teacher at her next lesson. Again, she loves writing songs, so this is a consequence that is very much in line with her gifts and desires.
Except she doesn’t want to. She is tired. She is bored. She can’t think right now. Etc. Etc. Etc.
Unfortunately for L, her mommy and daddy are both pretty good at setting an expectation and sticking to it. Expectation? You will finish writing the song, then you can play.
Today’s homeschool lesson may be on perseverance and consequences. It’s been 2+ hours so far. She seems to be getting it together now (especially since we’ve mentioned that we’re going out to lunch but little girls who haven’t completed their songs will not be eating restaurant food).
Update: The song is finished! Want a laugh? Here it is!
It is to the tune of “Hot Cross Buns” and the lyrics go:
I put my feet
On the piano
Turns out bribery involving vegan Indian food works!
And we’re back to joyful playing!