I felt really bad about putting The Boy in day care all week, especially since he was so unhappy the whole time, so I hurried to finish the critical things at work early this week and took today off. When I asked him yesterday what he wanted to do today, after some thought, he asked, “Can we play Star Wars Monopoly?”
Monopoly? Really? How geeky am I that my not-quite-five-year-old wants to play Monopoly on his last day of Spring Break?
But if Monopoly is what he wanted to play, then that’s what we would do. For part of the day, anyway.
Playing Star Wars Monopoly (the Classic Trilogy edition, of course). Cute Husband and I counted; we have six different versions of Monopoly in our house.
Cute Husband’s schedule was such that we were able to have lunch with him today, so we paused our game for a while to meet him at his work. After devouring half of a hot turkey and Swiss sandwich (I had an over-dressed Caprese salad) with Daddy, The Boy was eager for our next adventure. After all, I promised that I would let him choose an instrument when he was five and let him take lessons – on the condition that whatever he chose, he had to stick with it for a full year.
When he was three, he said he wanted to play drums. He would jam on my Rock Band drum set whenever he had the chance. It’s not the same thing, but he really loved playing with it. Then he decided that he wanted to play guitar. For the past six or seven months, he’s been pretty consistent: when asked what he wants to play, The Boy replied, “Guitar.”
But then we saw Blue Man Group last week, and after watching the show, he was suddenly torn between drums and guitar once again.
As a mom, I’m good with either instrument. Both can be loud, the cost of the instruments are about the same, and the cost of lessons would be about the same. Drums would take up a larger footprint, but if that’s what he ultimately wants to play, space is negligible. We’d find room for a drum kit.
So, for our post-lunch adventure, The Boy was willing to skip a trip to the Lego Store at Downtown Disney (which is a very big deal for this kid) to head to Guitar Center instead.
When we arrived, he wasn’t shy at all. Sure, I did the initial talking, but once the guys in the store started letting him test out different instruments, all inhibitions were lost. He was good to go.
That face says it all: he's pretty stoked.
He tested out a half-size guitar first. Now, I’ll be the first to confess that I know nothing when it comes to guitars. I’ve always wanted to play guitar but could never get the hang of it; my fingers don’t move the way I guess they’re supposed to. So in my mind, I pictured The Boy learning on a nice acoustic guitar. What I learned, though, is that at 5, The Boy doesn’t quite have the finger strength for an acoustic guitar. So if he was going to learn to play the guitar right now, it would be an electric guitar.
He played the guitar for a few minutes before he (somewhat reluctantly) returned it to Chris, the store manager, and followed him to the drums section. There, Chris set up an electronic drum kit for The Boy to play.
He was having such a great time playing the electronic kit that I was sure drums would be the instrument of choice. Danilo, the associate helping us in the drums section (who, go figure, is a drummer, too), talked to me a bit about what The Boy would need as a beginner in terms of equipment. That’s when he let The Boy play on an acoustic drum kit.
“He’s a natural,” Danilo told me while he watched him play. When Chris came by to check on us, I asked The Boy, “Okay, what do you think? Do you want to play drums?” He nodded excitedly. I took that as a good sign.
Then, as we left the drums section to return to the main store, The Boy tugged on my arm.
“Um, Mom, can we see the guitars again?”
“You’re not sure which one you like better?”
“Yeah. I like the drums, but I think I like guitar more.”
Uh-oh. This could be a very long afternoon.
I flagged Chris down and told him that The Boy wasn’t totally sold on the drums yet and wanted a second look at the guitar. Chris was kind enough to have Ray, another associate (who’s been playing the guitar since he, himself, was 5), help us. He gave The Boy the same guitar, plugged it into a small amplifier, and stood beside me as we watched him play.
The Boy on guitar - Take 2
“I love how he moves his hand up and down the neck as if he knows what he’s doing,” I said to Ray.
“Oh, he’s a natural,” he responded. “He just needs to learn fundamentals and technique, and he’ll be great.”
At the end of our visit, The Boy was sold: he wants to play guitar. He also wants the black guitar that he was playing. And he can’t wait to take lessons.
I promised him I would spend this week researching music schools to find lessons that would work with our schedule, and before he starts taking lessons, I promised to get him his guitar.
And he, in turn, promises to practice every day. We’ll see how long that lasts.
(As an aside, if you’re in the Central Florida/Orlando area and interested in buying (or just letting your child test out) a guitar and/or drums, I highly recommend Guitar Center in the Hunters Creek area. They’re truly fabulous, and I can’t say enough things about their staff. Any group of guys willing to put up with a Type-A mom and her smallish offspring – even after I explained that we really weren’t buying anything today – are top-notch in my book.)