Monday, April 04, 2011

Ev, Musician

Among the many things I worried about when we were expecting Evan was a concern that I wouldn't be able to duplicate the experiences I had with T--for Evan. I had some naive notion of "fairness" that, for some reason, expressed itself in my wanting to be sure I spent as much time, energy, and effort with Evan as I did Tobin. It's naive, of course, because that just can't happen. Both boys make demands of us, and as much as I'd like for both boys to experience the 2:1 adult-to-child ratio T enjoyed, I'd be wishing away T's essential big brother influence.

That said, in the last few months I've realized how special my relationship is with Evan, in a different way than it is or has been with T. We play a lot of the same games, but Evan is bossier (hilariously) and more stubborn than T was at that age. He's a bruiser, and plays rougher and with a fuller head of steam than T did (probably due in large part to T's influence). The difference really stands out in the music-play we have developed. Frequently, when I get home from work, Evan points to me then to the stereo in the living room: this is our cue to dance together. I scoop him up and we dance to music I have on my iPod or phone, played through the stereo. At first, any song would do. As we've honed our dancing (and giggling) skills, his taste has become more specific. We've even made a playlist called "Ev" to be ready for dance time. He especially loves a couple of songs on the Black Keys' record Brothers, which I take as a good portent. In the last few weeks, he's added singing along to the music while we dance. His eyes are electric, his fists pump, and he bobs his head while he laughs and sings along.

When we're not dancing, Evan and I enjoy playing music together. He strums my ukulele, dances, or sings along with me while I play. He says "guhtah!" when he sees the guitar case in the closet. He points to the electric guitars I have hanging up and enjoys pushing buttons and turning knobs on the amps. He loves to play his Aunt Sarah's old Yamaha keyboard, usually on max volume. This isn't to say that Tobin hasn't been interested in music--if you're reading this I'm sure you remember his rendition of "Blue Suede Shoes," but Evan plays more intently and reacts to music more strongly than T. We were watching a video of B.B. King on Youtube last night. Evan squinted his eyes closed and shook his head rhythmically along with King's guitar solo. He feels the music.

I wanted to make a video to share his enthusiasm for music with you, so I pulled clips together from the last few months. I think you'll see that even in that time he's changed the way he plays and the attitude he plays with. As much as I enjoy this video, I warn you that it falls well short of communicating the energy and intensity he brings to playing. His development of this independent interest has been a delight. Music was the interest that my dad and I shared most strongly. When Ev plays, I think of my dad a lot, and am thankful for the musical house I grew up in. And I'm thankful for Evan, who is doing just fine being himself despite his sometimes-fretful dad.

Evan loves music from matt smith on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

T, Ball

After the fun we had with soccer last fall, we decided to sign Tobin up for t-ball this spring. He's playing in a league for kids aged 4-6, so he's one of the younger kids on the field. I was a little worried about how it would go, in part because he missed the first couple of practices while enjoying time with Granpa and Mimi in Florida. His first practice put any concerns I might have to rest. He loves it. We take it as an especially good sign that he's on the Marlins, since he's in the Fish class at his preschool and he got to see the real Marlins play a spring training game when he was in Florida.

Later in the same week after his first practice, he participated in an opening ceremony for the whole Little League.
happy fish

He had his name announced when his team was recognized. His response was "That's the first time I've heard my name on a microphone."
hat-swiping bull!

He has wanted to spend more time hitting off the tee Grandma got him for his 4th birthday and plays a lot of baseball-like games inside (sometimes involving golf, football, and basketball elements--it's a lot like Calvinball).

On Saturday, he had his first game, an entertaining affair against the Rangers. Each side gets three outs or 5 runs. The game goes on for about an hour, which was enough for three innings of controlled chaos. T's coaches are nice, and do a good job of trying to teach skills while emphasizing fun and provide positive reinforcement. You can tell from the video below that T had a pretty great time.