Tonight I played the piano for a little while. It has been several months since I have been able to play. I wasn't sure if Kit would let me, but I sat down to do it anyway.
She did let me. She didn't cry.
And when she came up beside me, she didn't make me stop.
And when she climbed onto the bench next to me, she didn't take my hands off the keys.
She just sat next to me, playing on my phone.
That's a big deal.
She went through a period last year where she would cry if I played, and would pull on me, my arms until I stopped and picked her up. Or until Daddy came and took her into another room.
At first I thought it was just that she wanted to play with me. So I would put her on my lap and play. But she would get mad and take my hands off the keys.
So I thought that she just wanted to play. Sometimes she would plunk on the keys. But mostly she would just try to turn the pages of my music.
Soon it just wasn't worth the drama. I play to relax, and there is nothing relaxing about having a weepy toddler climb oneself when one is trying to chill out. So I haven't tried it in a long while.
After I was done I was thinking about how similar her reaction to my playing was to Zak's, ten years ago.
He was even worse though. He didn't just cry, he screamed! He would hit the paino, and throw things, and try to push me off the bench. He hated it when I played the piano.
I never could figure out why back then. I chalked it up to jealousy. He did like banging on the keys, so I just assumed that he was a bit territorial about it. Didn't want me on his turf. And didn't want me giving my full attention to anything else.
I don't think so any more. I think both Kit and Zak experienced the same thing when I played the piano.
Yes, I think they cried because it hurt. When they tinker, even loudly, they are in control of the rhythm and volume. They can stop any time, get louder when they want, and play the rhythm of their choosing.
But when I play, I'm choosing all of those things. At a time that is good for me, not necessarily them. The sound changes when I use the sustain pedal. Or when the dynamics change suddenly from soft to loud. Or the rhythm from slow to fast.
Also I tend to play songs that are pretty emotional. Broadway, and slow country. Both Zak and Kit are very responsive to music, and can easily be overwhelmed by the emotion of a piece.
Zak used to especially scream and cry when I played the theme music to "Phantom of the Opera". It was so intense that he was really scared. Of course I didn't know that was what he was feeling until he was about three and had enough words to say it. I felt bad that I didn't know sooner.
And one day not too long ago, Victor had his Broadway music playlist on in the living room. When "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" came on, Kit started crying. She climbed into my lap, buried her head in my chest and heaved. When I pulled her up, her cheeks were soaked with tears, her eyes so sad! I asked Victor to skip it, and he did, but it took her a little while to regain her composure. She started up again when another Evita song came on. (Maybe she just doesn't like Madonna!)
Anyway, I think perhaps their response to my playing was partly sensory overload and partly emotional overload. Which makes sense, now that I know these tender hearted babies of mine even better.
So, I'm glad that she seems to be able to manage it better. Because I love getting to play agian, with a warm little baby body suggled on the bench next to me!
And no tears.
It's the best!