The poor boy. As the younger sibling he is often, okay always, dragged along on outings and activities for his sister. His schedule is set by her. Taking her to preschool. Taking her to Japanese class. Play dates with her friends. The activities are rarely about him.
Not this summer! I thought. I am going to find something to do that he will like. Something for him.
So I signed both kids up for a music class. The boy loves music. He loves to dance and, while he doesn't like me singing, he quite likes to sing himself. I had heard good things about this class and it isn't too far a walk from our house. Perfect.
Yesterday was the first class. We were there early enough to have to sit outside in the hallway for a few minutes before our class began. The kids were excited and eager to find the source of the music they could hear. When it was our turn they headed straight in and happily sat down on the rug in the middle of the room. Ready to begin.
When the teacher sat down on the floor and brought out his guitar, both kids stood up in excitement. A look of wonder crossed the boy's face. Then the teacher strummed the guitar and instead of smiling the boy burst into tears. Big, gulping sobs. Chest heaving sobs. Sobs suggesting that the world was ending and that that guitar was going to bring it about. He climbed into my lap and buried his face into my chest. He pointed at the door and asked to go home.
He and I spent some time back out in the hallway. With him in my arms I inched step by step back into the class room. I had made it to the edge of the circle when the teacher pulled out the instrument of the week. That got the boy out of my arms and down on the floor to touch the instrument in his sister's hands. Excellent I thought. And then the evil guitar was strummed again. The tears were back and the boy climbed back into my arms.
I sat on the piano stool while the boy clutched my neck. I watched the girl march around in a circle, signing and swinging her arms. Having a grand old time. Just like I had imagined her brother would.
He did enjoy himself when the big bag of instruments came out. He let me sit him down beside me so he could play the drum and the bells and the shakers. He hit and jingled and shook. He smiled and laughed. He even tidied up when it was time to put the instruments away.
For a moment I sat between the two kids enjoying their combined pleasure. Then the teacher said that class was over. The boy stood up and walked around happily saying by to everyone. His sister burst into tears.