Archive for the ‘Kindermusik’ Category

Music in the dark

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

Reid woke yesterday morning in the middle of a dream about her glockenspiel. She was explaining about forte (loud) and piano (quiet) sounds and woke in the middle of the sentence. Without missing a beat – couldn’t resist the pun – Reid continued, telling me that the bars on the glockenspiel weren’t different just because they each have a different letter on them. “The low notes are from longer bars,” she said, “and the high notes are on short ones.” I knew all of this, learned it only since Reid started playing a glockenspiel but still.

Reid loves teaching things and her Kindermusik class is giving her lots of opportunities lately. Her homework this week was to play an 8-note melody and to help Ken and me to do the same thing. We needed to play, A, C and D in the right sequence to sound like part of “Lucy Locket”. Reid’s glockenspiel has the note name engraved on the key but the music sheet on which the melody is written (obviously) does not. I recognize C, since that is written on the staff, but I didn’t know whether the A and D were above or below the C. Reid knew, though, and happily told me. When it comes to reading music, I have only vague memories of grade 5 and Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge. Reid showed Ken how to play the melody, offering lots of encouragement along the way. She also explained that you can “erase” a musical error with a glissando. I don’t know if that is Reid’s rule or her teacher’s but it’s a beautiful way to restart.

In Kindermusik today, the teacher brought the rhythm bars, which we’ve only called ti-ti and ta, together with the note heads to be full-fledged notes. It was terribly exciting in a geeky, hoping my kid will actually understand music, kind of way. Reid now has her first song to learn from start to finish – all six half-notes and two full-notes of it.

Staycation weekend 1

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Ken’s oral interaction test is scheduled for January 19th. He is working even harder to prepare for it than he did for the grammar and comprehension tests. Or, at least, it seems that way to me. Reid’s and my job is mostly to give him time to study. We speak French to him sometimes but we discuss “home” topics and don’t use the same vocabulary as he will in his test and so its not as helpful as might be. I thought of going away for a weekend or two but its nice to see him for breakfast and supper at least. Our plans have morphed into staycations instead.

On Saturday, we went to that Home Depot Kids’ Workshop and then straight to Kindermusik. We ate our lunch in the recreation centre, where Reid discovered that the lentil couscous I’ve been trying to get her to try for years is actually yummy. Too bad I didn’t feel the same about Reid’s bagel with cream cheese. After class, we had planned on going to Play It Again Sports but Reid fell asleep but I’ve extended the “don’t wake a sleeping baby” rule to prohibit waking Reid, regardless of her age. We slowly made our way home via a circuitous route to prolong Reid’s nap.

Once home, Reid applied the stickers to her calendar and then it was time for a power skating session that was offered in place of hockey. I wish the power skating happened more often. Reid enjoyed the drills – and going to the other end of the ice for the first time – and she needs the skills development. Ken came along to watch. He and I have some of our best conversations sitting in the stands, me trying to absorb all of his extra body heat and both of us thinking of what we want to tell the other. We try for a good conversation at swimming lessons, too, but the heat saps the ideas out of our brains and there is no touching.

On Sunday morning, Reid and I went to the Canada Agriculture Museum for our first visit since the fall. It was sooo cold! I remembered why I don’t usually go to The Farm in the winter. Our arrival put us too late for the rabbit and cow care sessions and before the afternoon sessions started but we were able to say farewell to the ram, about whose departure I had read on Twitter, and visit the pigs, sheep, bull and donkey in the main barn and the cows and calves in the dairy barn. The cows are suffering from ringworm – which they said doesn’t actually involve worms – and we weren’t able to touch them. The calves were behind a door. They’re so cute it’s nearly impossible not to touch them, or rather, they would find it impossible not to touch the people. They are lickers and nuzzlers to a one, those calves.

We ate our lunch sitting in the parking lot and then went to visit my friend, Carol, and her husband in the rural part of Ottawa. We took our snowshoes with us and were out for about an hour, walking along the Jock River and then through a field of pine trees. It was a sunny day and the landscape was quintessentially “winter in Canada”. Carol’s two dogs – one of which is nearly as big as the pony Reid rode when we were at Deerhurst and the other is smaller but still large – accompanied us. They rolled in the snow, ran away and came bounding back, occasionally sniffing at Reid. She was the tiniest bit hesitant at first but only for a short time. She has come a long way from her fear of Zoëy, the smallest (and cutest) Yorkshire terrier I’ve ever met. I thought that the big walk might have worn Reid out but she stayed awake for the whole trip back. Carol and Michael live near one edge of Ottawa and we’re close to another. The city might not be densely populated but it is widely spread out.

I made Madras chicken curry for Ken’s half-birthday, which we were celebrating belatedly. He’d requested a cherry pie, too, but I’d spent too much time away from the house to deliver it. I substituted three store-bought cupcakes that each had a plastic hockey jersey on the top. Reid and I got Senators jerseys (Go, Sens! Go!) and Ken got a Canadiens jersey (Boo! Hiss!).

And all of a sudden, our weekend was over and it was time for bed.

Speaking of the Montreal Canadiens, do you know what the “H” on their jersey signifies?

It’s hard to tell these days

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

At lunch on Friday, a friend pointed out a woman with blue hair who was walking down the street, though not together. She said that it was hard to know whether people with blue hair or other seemingly odd appearances were wearing costumes or if it was there typical “casual Friday” attire. I had to agree.

On Saturday morning, while taking the bus to Kindermusik, there was a young woman in leather pants and a black top and I wondered, “Is she wearing a cat woman costume or does she dress that way for Saturday morning?” And then I heard a man speaking, possibly to himself or maybe into a wireless headset, and I wondered about him, too.

You just don’t know these days whether you’re seeing oddness or not.

Outsmarted by homework already

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Reid’s Kindermusik homework for this week includes composing a breakfast song – both lyrics and score. As you may or may not know, I am seriously rhythmically challenged. Ken can easily carry a tune but neither of can know how to write music. Reid has a innate sense of rhythm and is learning that the notes on a musical staff are related to bars on her glockenspiel and also that there are full- and half-notes (ta and ti-ti sounds if you learned music as a child). She knows about rests, too. All of this means that she can read music better than either Ken or me. What she can’t do, though, is write enough words for lyrics to a song, however short. Which isn’t so bad considering she could not read the lyrics anyway. I have to say that the assignment had me stumped.

When they first got home Monday night, Ken reminded Reid that she needed to work on her breakfast song and she dragged out her glockenspiel. The first instruction that Ken gave was for Reid to draw some pictures to help her remember what she would be singing about. Brilliant! She drew some grapes and a peanut butter sandwich. Next, Ken had Reid choose a few notes to play while looked at her “lyrics” pictures. She played 3 notes to accompany her first 3 syllables and then sang the rest of the song a capella. We suggested that she needed a note per syllable and Reid looked at us dubiously. Even though we don’t have write music we have listened to more than a few songs over the years. We insisted on the syllable-to-word concord. I know that it’s not always so but it’s a good place for a 4-year-old to start.

The resulting song goes like this:

I love to eat peanut butter sandwiches and grapes!

As of this evening, each syllable got its own note – from high C on down – and “grapes” came out on a glissando. I’m not sure if she’ll remember to strike each note or the glissando but at least she did for a bit. Also, I have to acknowledge that Shannon was probably hoping the Reid’s voice would match the notes she is playing but that’ll have to wait for another assignment.

I thought that I’d have until grade 6 math before I was stumped by Reid’s homework. Ah, well, I’ve been wrong before.

Of xylophones and zebras

Monday, September 29th, 2008

On Saturday, Reid received a glockenspiel as her instrument for this session on Kindermusik. One of the other parents asked what was the difference between a glockenspiel and a xylophone since the difference seemed to be only that the metal bars on the kids’ glockenspiels weren’t painted in primary colours. Shannon shocked us all with her reply: xylophones have wooden bars. All these years we’ve been living a lie! What I’ve been calling a xylophone is actually a metallophone. I shared this revelation with a few of Reid’s former day care teachers and they were equally surprised.

When we were in Quebec City, I read the following on a cup from Starbucks, “When I was young I was misled by flash cards into believing that xylophones and zebras were much more common.”* I feel like I should find the author and tell her that the situation is even worse than she thought. But that might seem a bit extreme and even like stalking ;+) I’ll focus instead on Reid’s mallet-grip and teaching her the “musical alphabet” as Shannon told me I must for homework.

(*The Way I See It #297, written by Amy-Elyse Neer, Starbucks Customer)

Party strategies – or – I can rationalize anything

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Saturday was Reid’s last Kindermusik class for the session. They sang and danced for about 25 minutes and then had a party for the last 20 minutes. Each parent was supposed to bring a treat of the sort that would be appropriate for breakfast. I’m paranoid about peanut butter contaminating something I bake and so I took the safest course and brought single-serving packages of animal crackers. Or at least I hope that the companies that make cookies keep accurate track of what goes in them. The side benefit of the single-serving packages is that the kids can take one with them when they leave. There are always far more treats than little kid tummy space.

I think that Shannon was expecting muffins and fruit but there were plenty of cookies on the table. Reid chose a variety of fruit, some cheese and one plain cookie, which she gave to me after a single bite. I restocked her plate with fruit and cheese and allowed myself an M&Ms-and-chocolate chip cookie. Reid was keen to eat the animal crackers but I convinced her to wait for the ride home. Many of the other kids decided not to wait. The moms who had baked cookies and muffins took quite a lot home but we walked out with only 2 extra bags of animal crackers. I felt bad that the other moms had expended that extra energy. They probably felt bad that Reid was stuck with a mom who brought store-bought cookies to the party.

What shortcuts have you rationalized without regret? (Or with regret, I suppose, if you want to share that.)

Busy Ottawa Saturday

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

Sometimes I think to myself about how shaped our life is by the fact we live in Ottawa. It’s more than that we have jobs that pay pretty well and offer interesting intellectual challenges (maybe more so for me since Ken’s is drawn down many bureaucratic rabbit holes), we have the opportunity to enroll Reid in classes and go to events that aren’t available in all parts of Canada.

On Saturday, Reid and I went to the basement while Ken worked upstairs. Reid loves the basement and we really don’t go down often enough to suit her. I was intent on taking pictures of some toys and shoes (I have a mini Imelda Marcos) that I want to sell on Kijiji or Craig’s List. I haven’t used either and don’t know whether I’ll post to both, some on each or what. I though eBay would be too complicated once shipping was factored in and Kijiji and Craig’s List both have Ottawa “branches”. Score one for being in a large-ish city.

As a side note, I must say that for Reid whichever toy I was photographing was the most interesting thing that we had in the basement. At least until I picked up the next toy. I had a few second thoughts at first about what I’d chosen to get rid of until I had gone through enough to identify the pattern. Reid also insisted on trying on some red glitter shoes that were 2 sizes too small. Ah, now those were beautiful shoes. I bought them for Reid to wear with her fancy Christmas dress last year but couldn’t find them at Christmas. When I got Reid’s summer clothes out, there they were. I talked Reid into taking them off with the mention of silver sparkly shoes to be worn this Christmas.

We went to Kindermusik – a classs open to us because we are affluent enough to pay the fees and because we live in a city. In a rural or remote area, it simply might not be offered. Reid wouldn’t speak to M., the girl who has been in Reid’s class since she was 14 months old. She hid behind my legs. Funny kid. We talk about seeing M. and a couple of the others whose names I know on the way to class but that isn’t enough, I guess. Reid did volunteer 2 more names of kids in her class, though, Saturday afternoon. That is progress.

Reid and I went to Mei Fung for lunch. We shared some shrimp rolls – Reid was willing to eat only the smallest of morsels of shrimp and some vermicelli noodles with lettuce – and a bowl of vermicelli noodles with chicken, peanuts and bean sprouts, etc. Reid tried the chicken. Throughout she drank the tea that came with our meal. When Ken asked Reid about her lunch, she told him that the she had liked the tea but nothing else. She also liked the chopsticks that we were given though her technique was a bit crude.

Reid fell asleep as we drove home and I took a drive to look at the fall colours. I listened to a book-on-CD that I’d transferred to my iPod. It was a wonderful, sunny day and the leaf colours were so vibrant. I enjoyed the experience and solitude and Reid got a good nap in all at the same time as Ken was doing housework.

We picked Ken up at 1:30 to go downtown to the change of command ceremony for the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa. I attended a similar ceremony a few years ago but it was held in the Cartier Square Drill Hall. This year’s ceremony was held on Festival Plaza in front of City Hall. The pipes and drums band was playing when we arrived. Reid and I found a couple of seats and Ken had to go off to take some photos. When the band marched off, Reid was crestfallen. I assured her that the musicians would come back. The band and soldiers of the regiment eventually marched on and the ceremony started. Reid stood at the required times and was mostly quiet as the ceremony unfolded. I hadn’t thought to bring a good range of snack, drinks and activities but I did find my “emergency” Lik’m’aid package in my bag. I convinced Reid that the candy stick was just like a lollipop and it kept her busy for quite some time. I tried sharing the powdery stuff with her, too, but that was just plain messy. I used to know more about military parades but I’ve forgotten quite a lot. Reid had questions, though, and I did my best with answering them. I’m not sure what the military men sitting near us thought of my explanations but Reid was satisfied. For example, we were there to see the soldiers get a new boss. The old boss (aka the outgoing Lieutenant Colonel) was signing papers to say that he wasn’t the boss anymore and the new boss (aka the Major who will soon be a Lieutenant Colonel) promised to take good care of the soldiers. Their big boss (aka commander of 33 Canadian Brigade Group) sat between them and watched. Near the end, the old boss marched in front of the assembled troops to say goodbye to the soldiers. Mostly Reid was interested in listening to the band and watching the soldiers marching around. She wasn’t really interested in the speeches, surprisingly enough ;+)

We attended a reception after the ceremony. Reid insisted we follow Ken into the officers’ mess. I saw that there were other kids in there and so we went in. It was crowded but we saw the mayor receive a regimental coin. The Camerons are the City of Ottawa’s regiment but the previous mayor didn’t ever turn up to any events. The new mayor, Larry O’Brien, came to the full change of command ceremony and then stuck around for the reception. I’m not saying I voted for the guy but I have to say I was impressed by his attendance.

We went home and Reid and Ken chilled while I went to the grocery store. It was a good and busy day for our family in Ottawa.

When Reid is the mama

Thursday, September 6th, 2007

At breakfast yesterday, Reid was talking about what would happen when she is the mama and I am the baby. She will carry me around when I am tiny, until I grow up. In fact, she will carry me for the 7 days that it takes me to grow up. Ken laughed and said that growing up wasn’t that fast but Reid is sure that 7 days would be enough.

At bedtime, Reid was talking about breastmilk and how daddies don’t have it. I said that mamas have it after they have babies in their bellies because babies need it to grow bigger. I told her that when she stopped drinking my milk that it would go away. She seemed puzzled for a minute and then asked is her breasts would have milk then. I told her that girls don’t have milk until their big ladies who have had babies and, when asked, agreed that boys never have milk.

On the way to daycare this morning, Reid asked to listen to a Kindermusik cd. As I put one in, I reminded her that in just 9 days she would be starting her new Kindermusik class. She remembered that it was just for children. I said something about M. being in her class; M. has been in her class for two years. They’re growing up together, those two. And Reid, in her increasingly-familiar “little voice”, told me that she didn’t want to be grown up. I told her that she wasn’t grown up but *growing* each day.

We seem to be spending lots of time talking about growing up lately. It’s hard to know when to celebrate Reid getting big and being independent and when she’ll feel pressured by the suggestion. This whole parenting thing doesn’t get easier, does it? Just when I learn how to handle one situation, there’s a new one that crops up. ;+)

I feel, I feel, I feel

Monday, July 16th, 2007

On Saturday morning, we encountered a fly at breakfast and so I sang the “Shoo Fly” song. Until our most recent Kindermusik session, I knew only the “Shoo fly, don’t bother me” line. We learned the full song:

Shoo fly, don’t bother me
Shoo fly, don’t bother me
Shoo fly, don’t bother me
For I belong to somebody

I feel, I feel, I feel
I feel, I feel, I feel
I feel like a morning star
I feel, I feel, I feel
I feel, I feel, I feel
I feel like a morning star

Reid smiled and sang along. Every time Reid saw a fly, and several times when she didn’t, Reid sang the “I feel, I feel, I feel” lines over and over. She never got to the “like a morning star.” When there was actually a fly, she’d say, “go bug” but she didn’t sing the shoo fly lines, either. I tried a few times to get her to sing the full song or at least the part about the star in the second verse. Such attempts were rejected outright.

Not only do I have to deal with the songs that get stuck in my head, it seems I have to hear the ones that are stuck in Reid’s head, too.

Kindermusik is ending but the festivals are beginning

Monday, June 11th, 2007

Reid and I went to Kindermusik this morning for the last time until the fall. There is a class next weekend but we’ll be on the train heading for Toronto. It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly two years since Ken and Reid went to the first class. We’d anticipated it (or maybe it was just me) for months and then when they came home from the first class, I was waiting at the door. Ken reported that it had consisted of lots of standing up and sitting down. Two years later, I’d have to agree with the assessment but he missed the dancing around while holding Reid who is incredibly shy at Kindermusik, at least for the first half of each class. It definitely is an aerobic workout if you’re doing it right.

After class, we headed to Westfest, a sort of street festival with music, authors, face painting, sidewalk sales, etc., in the Westboro neighbourhood of Ottawa. There were a couple of dontations for charity activities that involved a cost but otherwise everything was free. How nice not to be digging into my pocket constantly! The only cloud on the day was discovering after many minutes of waiting that Reid didn’t meet the height minimum for the bouncy obstacle course/slide that we encountered when we first got there. She bounced back, so to speak, and we had lots of fun. At Mrs Tiggy Winkles, a local toy store, Reid and I played with giant bubble wands – including one of the ones with the sliding strap – for several minutes and then we went in the store where a young woman painted a beautiful butterfly on Reid’s face. After that, Reid played in a Dora playhouse and Deigo’s pirate ship with a bunch of other kids. There was a sign nearby that said the playhouse was reduced to $300, from $899. Wow! I wouldn’t even begin to consider a $300 playhouse. The one I got Reid for Christmas sells for $99, is a grocery store-theatre-post office-house depending on which side you look at, and folds down to just a few inches thick. Reid got her picture taken on an historic fire engine – I’ll have to see if Ken will scan it – and she fished in a barrel. On the way to the car, I stopped at a street vendor for hotdogs in the hope that eating would keep Reid awake. It didn’t. She fell asleep two bites from the end of her hotdog. I decided to have a tea at Starbucks and let her sleep since sometimes waking her after 20 minutes means her nap lasts only 20 minutes. I wrote most of this while sipping my tea. Reid woke after a bit more than an hour, picked up her hotdog and finished it. What a kid!

I’m inspired by the success of Westfest to check out Jazzfest, Bluesfest and the rest to find activities for Reid and me, even Ken, to do together. Free would be nice.