Today we waved James off as he headed to the SCG for a day of Ashes worship. Of course we didn't actually wave him off since he left the house at 6.40am, but I'm sure we would have if we could have been bothered.
Instead the three of us took a long exhale and stayed at home. So yet again you are privileged with photos of our playroom and back fence. How lucky are you? Gee, how lucky am I? Actually sarcasm aside, it was lovely to stay at home today with two children who were in fabulous moods, played pleasantly with each other all day and allowed the day to amble on past us all at a leisurely rate.
We did manage to leave the house in order to purchase a few things for dinner. The enticement for the children was the lure of a young coconut each. The novelty with these is the inclusion of power tools for acquiring food. It's sort of like being the Swiss Family Robinson...with charged batteries and modern day tools.
Definitely the lowlight of today was violin practise. After a protracted period without any practise, Harriet has played a few pieces and slowly moved back into the saddle of approaching her new piece. After feeling comfortable with the Brahms Waltz (which is a simple, moving piece of music), we moved on to Bourree. *sigh* Harriet learns violin through the Suzuki method, which focuses on listening and playing rather than learning to read music. Harriet is therefore in orchestras at school (yes, plural) where her peers are reading music easily, which is quite frustrating for her.
So our approach has been to go carefully through the piece while it plays, following it on the page. Then we move on to recognising the notes in terms of their finger placement (hence the numbers above the notes here) and then today I added a new step - to write down the name of the note. So rather than calling a note "one-on-A", calling it "B" instead.
Harriet railed against this with every fibre of her being. There were tears, stamped feet, out and out aggression, sobbing and...well...pretty much everything just shy of throwing the violin on the floor. There was a small bow hair incident. So, what was that I said about it being a pleasant day at home?
Anyway, after it was all over, Harriet came up and hugged me and apologised for being so unreasonable. The number of sessions we have where she hysterically melts down over learning something new does not bear close counting (and people wonder why we don't homeschool?), however she always recognises the irrationality of her response afterwards, which gives me hope that one day we will learn a new piece and not have the associated heartache.
And I use the inclusive pronoun here advisedly. Being a 'Suzuki parent' is hard work. Most days the very last thing I feel like doing is opening up the wound of Harriet's angst at learning new music. However once she achieves mastery, she is elated, and proud and so very happy with herself that it always makes it worthwhile - in retrospect only, I hasten to add. This is a lovely blog post that I read over a year ago, and which resonated with me deeply. I will continue to work with Harriet on an (almost) daily schedule of mastering the music because it's only through that level of commitment that the final moment, that sweet, delicious moment, when she beams after playing a song she loves, is achievable at all.
Did I mention Ted starts learning drums this year? What am I - INSANE?
And this was dinner. I'm sure I've mentioned this recipe here before (well, recipe sounds much more prescriptive than it should), but I'll repeat it for emphasis. Because it truly is a delicious salad.
The Indian Salad of Deliciousness
A healthy bunch of mint - chop that baby up into strips
A couple of carrots - grate them like a polaroid picture
Red cabbage - shred it like an illegal document
Red capsicum - cut into thin strips - I said THIN!
Raw cashews - release your anger at the modern world with the mortar and pestle on these cashews, then roast them lightly in a pan
Squeeze some lime juice over that bowl of colour with a deft sweep of the hand (you could do it with less flourish, sure, but life is meant to be lived) and crack some Himalayan salt over it as well. Toss, serve and eat it. You can thank me next time we meet.
Just after I finished writing this post, the children emerged wrinkly and dripping from the bath. Ted draped himself in a large rainbow sarong and danced along with energy and passion to There She Goes on the radio and, as it finished, excitedly ran back into the lounge room at the guitar sound from a song by Adalita Annihilate Baby. I have a feeling that the drums will fade into the guitar. I'm sure our neighbours hope so as well.