God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Does a 9-Year-Old Think?

The answer is no.

In my imagination, somewhere in Heaven there is a production line where earthbound children receive brains. But, God, in his incomprehensible wisdom has done something inexplicably strange and puzzling. For reasons that escape mere mortal understanding, He doesn’t package common sense and brain matter together. You would think that He would know that if He doesn’t balance these things out, children will do some very strange things—and they do.

If you have followed this blog at all, you know that Casey is the delight of my life, but, you also should know that Casey drives me crazy. He has an abundance of grey matter but he is short, exceedingly short, when it comes to common sense. Maybe the angels ran out that day; maybe he was busy watching butterflies; maybe he couldn’t find the right line. Whatever it was, he has extraordinary brain power but just doesn’t corral it into thinking.

The prompt for this musing was the day he decided to write music. He has never had music lessons; although he and we are trying to find a way to fit them into his already crowded schedule. At school, traveling music teachers introduce the children to violins, drums, winds, brass, etc. Each type of instrument receives several dedicated weeks of instruction. Casey loves the days the music teacher arrives. He particularly liked the violin and drums.

These experiences have prompted him to sit at our piano and compose. He has positioned a notebook on the rack where he writes the notes as he listens to what he plays. I have been excited about this interest and what may be a natural ear for the beautiful. That would be wonderful.

So, I let him alone while he creates little tunes and, as I listen from other rooms, wonder if this is a new Mozart being born. Surely he would be nothing less.

Then came the day I noticed that he was sitting at the keys with a black, wide nibbed, indelible marker in hand. Knowing that he had not been writing in his notebook with this, I wandered over to see what was happening. This is what I saw:

Along with 6, 4 and 2, were numbers 1, 3, 5 and 7. I was transfixed!--Intelligently asking him “what are you doing?” Being very bright, he did pick up on the fact that gramma was somewhat upset. I can say though that I did remain relatively calm which is sort of my MO with larger things. It is small inconveniences and misbehaviors that tend to set me off. This was too far off the scale for anger. Although, I did have a sense that we were destined to have this little ditty forever implanted on the piano.

Fortunately friends came to the rescue. Palma from Palm Desert said to use toothpaste; Sheena from Canada said alcohol. Since these were not true ivory keys but whatever synthetic is used, I tried both of these remedies and they both worked well; however, the alcohol was much easier and faster. A few swipes and the keys were like new. Casey was relieved; I was relieved and he is back at the piano.

Of course, there are myriad other examples of this disconnect from common sense. Multi-tasking is an impossible endeavor. Figuring that if one sock is to go into the laundry, the other should too doesn’t compute. And I could go on but………I sense that this resonates with anyone with a nine-year-old. Maybe Casey is not so different. Maybe this is what’s called normal. Do you think?


Anonymous said...

Normal? I'd say yes.
One of mine use to draw spiders on everything. So creative, but did learn to draw on paper eventually.
Jane, he is so lucky to have YOU as his grandma, as others would just over react to this.
It cleaned up just fine and I'm sure a lesson was learned by him and many others that read about how you handled it.

Jane said...

Chiaro, what a friend you are to both of us. Thank you for the wonderful vote of confidence. BTW-Casey for a while was drawing a spiderman spider on his clothes. It was lovely.

Anonymous said...

Jane I am so happy for you, and for Casey, that the piano keys cleaned up well.

Every time I think about your poor piano I chuckle about so many similar incidents with our girls when they were younger - though I have to admit I wasn't always quite so amused at the time!

We always tried to encourage their creativity, but at times I struggled with wishing that they were just boring,obedient little zombies!


Jane said...

Sheena, that made me laugh as I have been known to have those thoughts about Casey from time to time. But then he always redeems himself.

Chiocciola said...

Very funny - probably not for you at the time, but I think you handled it wonderfully!

Soultravelers3 said...

OMG! I had to laugh at this one, although I was stunned at the picture at first.

I think it is kid thing. When we were distracted on a long distance skype recently, Mozart decided to cut her own bangs!

I could not believe it, she did not do this at 2 or 4, but 7!! Luckily it was not too, too bad and she will not need her bangs cut again for a long time. Ha ha.

You handled it very well as usual. I am so glad that it came off. I am still trying to get Mozart out of the habit of using her top as a napkin. Jeesh, makes laundry day fun.

KIDS! ;) Hugs to all of you from Spain!

Jane said...

Lisa, it is so good to hear from you. I think of your family frequently and the adventures you are having. Yes, kids do very strange things sometimes but then, they are kids. I saw your post about the festival in Spain. It reminded me so of the ones in Italy. Where will you be staying next winter? Hello to your family.

Soultravelers3 said...

Good to touch base with you too Jane!

We will be in Spain next winter and perhaps even more as I will be planning our long stay in Africa, then South America and I am undecided on how exactly that will work and when exactly to go due to seasons and such.

I think we are shipping the RV to both and there is a lot to plan & consider with those trips. We think we will slowly drive back to California ( some shipping too) from Argentina.

So we continue in Europe ( with some trips to the Middle East this winter) as we plan this second phase. We leave Spain on Thursday, May 15th and excited to be on the road again!

Enjoy your time in Italy and Croatia this summer!!