Emily started taking piano lessons about 6 weeks ago. She really likes it but I can honestly tell you that learning to read and play music has been the hardest thing she has ever done. It requires a lot of focus and practice for her to learn the notes and learn everything involved with reading music. It is really really good for her and we hope that she continues with it for a long time to come.
However, because she is in the early stages of learning to play Bret or I have to sit with her while she practices and help her. Last night while I was giving the boys a bath Bret sat down to practice the piano with Emily. Both of them were tired and patience waned a little.
Bret got really frustrated when Emily got confused about right hand (notes with lines going up) and left hand (notes with lines going down) or something like that. Soon his patience were gone and he decided to give the boys a bath instead while I practiced with Emily. Don't get me wrong sometimes when I work with the kids I get frustrated when we go over something several times and they just don't get it.
The difference for me is that my patience usually goes faster for Palmer than Emily. Today Bret and I had a chat about his blow up last night and his patience with Emily since when I went down stairs she was in tears.
Emily (like her mother) may not be the smartest kid in class. However, with her confidence, drive, ability to make friends and get along with others, and because she is still really smart she can do anything she puts her mind to. She just learns differently than Bret or Palmer.
Bret and Palmer can memorize everything the first time they see it. When Bret practices the piano with Emily he expects her to remember things she learned four practices ago with no problems or reminders. He wants her to know the notes immediately because they worked on memorizing them. Emily (again like her mother) has to work really hard to read the music (just recently the little numbers for which finger is supposed to play has gone away) but she can hear the music. She knows she played the wrong note not because she knows what note was supposed to be played but because she heard that it was wrong.
I was looking through pictures the other day and noticed that Emily and her dad are always adventure seeking together. I have pictures of the two of them riding roller coasters, four wheelers, and jet skis together. I have photos of Bret teaching her to boogie board big waves while holding her hand. Emily went parasailing with her dad and is the first to jump on every opportunity to be outside with him. They rock climb together at the gym and he can talk her into trying ANYTHING. She is fearless when it comes to trying new things and her confidence stems directly back to him.
The bottom line of our conversation is that Bret has to understand that Emily needs to know that he believes in her and that he is proud of her when it comes to school and learning no different than it does in their adventures. When Bret gets frustrated with her so easily she gets even more frustrated with herself. If he questions whether or not she can do something she doubts herself even more. These frustrations are his admitted failure not hers and we are all working on them.
Although me and Emily are good Palmer and I struggle a lot also which is a whole post by itself.
There are no instructions that come with parenting. Bret and I are a team and are always working together towards the same goal...raising healthy and happy kids. Sometimes it is Bret that is helping me understand how best to set limits on electronics for Palmer and how to continue challenging him and keeping him stimulated or even how to understand what Palmer is trying to express. Other times I am trying to help Bret build his daughter's confidence and to reassure her fragile feelings. While no one loves anyone any more/less/differently than the other sometimes our ability to understand one or the other and giving each child the kind of help and support they need is different.