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I’ve Been Spoiled! Back to the Basics.

So, my second child started school, full-time, a few weeks ago. I now have two children in school, and it’s just my happy toddler and me at home for 6 [mostly] quiet hours. Heaven! Don’t get me wrong; I love my children so very much, but when the older two get bored they get loud and cranky and start arguments just to start arguments. That doesn’t make for good and focused practicing. I started to get frustrated today, but then I stepped back, and thought: Well, that’s what my blog is supposed to be about, right? How do I balance having 3 children at home and a performing career. What have I been telling my readers who pop on my site? Wow, have I been spoiled these past few weeks — so much so that I forgot how I used to manage it 7 days a week for the 13 or so hours per day they are awake.

I found that separation worked incredibly well today. My toddler doesn’t understand sharing quite yet. He’s only two years old, and the reasoning part of the brain hasn’t been fully developed yet (at least, that’s what I remember reading). We’re working on it, but it’s obviously going to take a bit of time. My four year old, who fully understands sharing but doesn’t like it, has a fairly hot temper and will explode at smallest look my toddler gives him and his toys. They broke into a lot of arguing and yelling over toys almost first thing this morning (I think I had exactly one note out of my flute). I explained to my four year old why his hoarding of the toy cars was wrong, and when he wouldn’t hand just one over to the toddler after my second or third request, he got a time-out then sent downstairs. That worked really well for about an hour. I have a baby gate at the top of the stairs, so they were definitely separated. I had to repeat the process after lunch when the toddler kept wrecking my four year old’s block building. Again, it worked incredibly well.

Another trick that worked well today, when they got tired of being in one part of the house or the other, was an educational video (again, PBS Kids Video http://www.pbskids.org/video ). They forgot all about being upset over whatever and focused on a couple of spelling/reading shows. The video was the one thing today that the 2 boys could handle together, but I’ll take it.

I think the lesson for me (and maybe for other parents) here is to try completely separating the children if they can’t manage to get along together — I mean, be honest, we all need a little break sometimes — and to try other diversions once the separation fails. I had to learn today to be patient, do my job as a parent, and find a solution (or at least a temporary fix) to problems that came up so I could do my job as a flutist. I’ve really been on my own, completely, this week, and I think that’s what has made this particular weekend so challenging for me, but taking a step back to analyze the actual problem so I could make some attempt at fixing it helped us all this time.

Author:

I have been active as a freelance performer since 1992 and as a teacher since 1996. I currently serve as Second Flute with the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic orchestra and have performed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Chamber Winds, Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra, Danville (Illinois) Symphony Orchestra, Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, Bloomington Chamber Singers Orchestra, and the United States Collegiate Wind Band’s European Tour, among other ensembles. I have also enjoyed performing for various occasions such as formal and charitable recitals as well as giving master classes at Butler University in Indianapolis and at Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky. I am also Adjunct Professor of Flute at Indiana Wesleyan University. I earned a Master of Music in Performance with Distinction at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England studying with Peter Lloyd and Laura Jellicoe. While in England, I played in charitable concerts for St. Augustine’s Catholic Church. I was featured as a soloist at the Pennine Spring Music Festival in Heptonstall, England in addition to performing in the music festival’s orchestral and solo events. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Performance with Distinction at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where I studied principally with Kathryn Lukas. While at Indiana University, I also had the incredible opportunity to study for several weeks with Barbara Kallaur on baroque flute, Donald Peck, Thomas Robertello, and Kate Hill. I am lucky to be the mother of three beautiful and talented children, and I play on a wonderful David Straubinger 10K gold flute with 14K head joint.

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