Monday, July 18, 2011

The Saga of Baby Bear's Keyboard

Once upon a time, Baby Bear received a battery-powered Yamaha keyboard for Christmas 2008:

He played it constantly. How often? Well, let’s just say that before that year was out—a mere sennight—we learned that it might be more economical to use rechargeable batteries, unless we wanted to buy a fresh pack of regulars every week.

The batteries had to be recharged almost every day.

The keyboard was lightweight enough that he carried it all over the house, from room to room, so it would always be with him. He even took it to bed with him, and went to sleep while it repetitiously played some rhythm that we found absolutely annoying, yet somehow it mysteriously lulled him to sleep. At that point I would turn it off for the night. If I didn’t remove it from his room, I might be awakened at three in the morning by the sound of his playing. (See previous blog entry for my position on this issue.)

He made up his own tunes and melodies, many of which have become as familiar to me as any classics or old standards or songs by the Beatles.

He even plays with two hands. All this on his own.

But sometimes he could really pound on that keyboard, with the result that this finally happened:

As time went by, more teeth were knocked out, and the keyboard was on the verge of losing a fifth when it finally died.
Of course, it had to die the day before the start of a three-day holiday weekend. I had only a few hours to find a replacement before Baby Bear came home from summer school. I didn't want to think of what kind of weekend I might have if that kid didn't have a keyboard to plunk on. His passion for it was that profound.
Being pinched for time and money (not that we didn't have the money for it, but I didn't want to spend that much without first consulting Mr. Lucky, who wouldn't be home until after the Bear), I found this cheap $25.00 model at Wal-Mart:
Baby Bear played with it for just a bit, and then abandoned it. It simply did not meet his high quality standards.
But I couldn't bear to see him give up playing, especially his own tunes, no matter how annoying it is when I'm trying to watch the evening news--a great deal of which tends to annoy me more than his piano-playing, anyway.
The Yamaha keyboard got him doing something constructive. It lit a fire in him, and I didn't want that fire to go out.
So we shopped around and bought him another Yamaha keyboard:
It's not the same one as his original--that model has apparently been discontinued--but it's very much like it, just as lightweight, and it takes the same six AA batteries that I've gone back to recharging every day.
Most importantly, he's gone back to playing his tunes.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Boom Box on the Shelf is Always Repeating Itself

Baby Bear has a boom box, and he likes to play CD’s by ABBA while he sits on his bed and rocks back and forth. His favorite song—at least for this week—is “Waterloo.”

How do I know this? Recently he’s taken to playing that particular song over and over and over. But oddly enough, not the whole song. He plays it only as far as the part about the history book on the shelf. Then he stops and goes back and starts the song again.

Over . . . and over . . . and over. I have no idea why. If I weren’t already familiar with this song that dates back to when I was almost his age (and there’s a scary thought), I might drive myself insane wondering what that history book is always doing that he keeps censoring. Ironically, it’s exactly what Baby Bear is doing with the song.

But why he’s repeating it, only he knows.

Yet it reminds me of an incident early in my Air Force career. I was stationed at Keesler AFB near Biloxi, Mississippi to receive training in my particular career field of administration. I had to live in the barracks where the dorm chief had one of them newfangled boom boxes (yes, it was that many years ago). So powerful were its speakers that it could be heard all over the barracks of World War II vintage.

One morning, at around 3:30 am, she woke up me and probably a lot of other people by repeatedly playing the opening notes of “When You’re in Love With a Beautiful Woman” by Doctor Hook. She’d play it all the way up until the good Doctor started singing, then she’d rewind it back to the beginning and play those opening notes again.

Over . . . and over . . . and over. I don’t think she was doing it because she was autistic like my son. She certainly wasn’t doing it because she’d been put in charge of sounding Reveille with the song of her choice. No, she was doing it because she was the Dorm Chief, ergo she could.

I longed to break down her door, seize her blasting boom box, then raise it over my head and smash it like Moses with the Ten Commandments over hers. Or at the very least, scream at her to turn that expletive thing off. But she was the Dorm Chief, so all I could do was suffer. No one dared complain, or maybe all the other women liked it and I was the one with the problem.

Either way, I’ve loathed that song ever since. Anytime I hear those first few notes coming out of the oldies station, I switch stations in disgust. It’s a good thing I’m not a sleeper agent, or it might “activate” me to go out and blow something up.

Yet I’m not tired of “Waterloo” yet. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t play it full blast at 3:30 in the morning, but that’s because I remove it from his room at night.

It’s good to be the Dorm Chief—or just a mom.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Do You Suffer the Outbreak of Sticky Slider Thigh?

Sticky Slider Thigh, or SST, is a rare condition caused when your sliding glass door gets stuck along the track as the result of prolonged rainy weather, and you find yourself having to press your thigh against the back edge of the door to get the damned thing to close after the dogs come in from doing their business.

When these multiple bruises suddenly broke out on my left thigh, I couldn’t figure out where they came from or how I got them. If I’d stumbled into a heavy piece of furniture hard enough to produce such pitiful patches of purple as portrayed in the posted picture, I’m sure I would’ve remembered.

Mr. Lucky hadn’t been beating me. Nor could I pin this on another brouhaha with the Bear. And the bruises aren’t at all painful or tender. They’re just . . . there.

Only how was I supposed to go out among other humans looking like this? Sure, I could wear long pants, but this is Florida in July. My leg looks as if it’s sporting a tattoo of the Shroud of Turin.

I went a-googling under thigh bruises, leg bruises, multiple leg bruises, and read all sorts of unhelpful things till I worked myself into a lather worthy of George Costanza (“Lupus? Is it lupus?!?) at his panic-stricken worst.

Then this afternoon, Mr. Lucky casually said, “Oh, by the way, I oiled the tracks in the back door earlier, so you should find it easier to open and close now.”

I said that was good, because I was having to use both hands and all my weight on the front of my leg to close that door. And that’s when it hit me like a gong: I realized my bruises were the result of something I hadn’t seen in all my Googling and Binging and Dogpiling. Sure enough, when I went to close the sliding glass door, out of habit (it’s been raining a LOT this past week), I assumed my usual rainy weather position along with the standard grumble of “Why can’t we replace these with French doors?” and my left thigh met the door’s back edge right where the bruises are.

So I have dubbed this condition “Sticky Slider Thigh” or SST.

That’s all it is, folks. No need to make a pilgrimage to my house with lighted candles and whatnot, because you think that’s a holy image on my leg and maybe if you touch it, you’ll be healed of whatever ails you.

You may, however, bring me chocolate.