I know that you’ve been dying to hear about Julia’s piano class. Day after day, you come here wondering, “How’s she doing in that there piano class?” And so, I’m going to tell you.

She’s doing pretty great. Can she play “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?” Well, no. Not, yet. But she can Mississippi Hot Dog the crap out of those keys. And, she can identify each key by it’s letter name. If you ask her to play D, that brainy little Beethoven will pluck the ivory nestled between two lovely black keys. And, she’s beginning to learn which line and space on the musical staff represent which note, which means she not far from reading music.

And she’s three.

I’m rather proud of her. You can probably tell from all the bragging.

Still, she’s no piano-learning robot. Lately, she’s been having fun playing with her teacher a little bit. He’ll ask her to play a note or point out it’s location on the musical staff and she’ll grin an evil grin and get it wrong. ON PURPOSE. (This is something about her I completely do not understand. If I know something, I want the world to know that I know. Not Julia.) Meanwhile, I’m sitting there in the corner with my little notebook in my lap, gnawing my fingernails because I KNOW SHE KNOWS THE RIGHT ANSWER.

Mr. Palmer and I discussed it after class recently and this week, he tried a new approach.

Today, he sat her down at the piano and showed her a glossy stack of laminated letters and said, “Look at my letters Julia. Aren’t they nice? Would you like to have them?”

Of course, she said yes.

Mr. Palmer said, “Then, you’ve got to earn them. I’ll show you a letter and if you can play it correctly, you can have that letter. Let’s see if you can get them all.”

Her eyes lit up and you could tell that she was on board. I got excited, too. Because that’s the part of Julia I understand so well. Probably because she got it from me – the ultra-competitive “Are you throwing down a challenge? Well, bring it on, sucka!” part.

And so it began. He held up a D. She said, “D” out loud and “Okay, okay,” to herself and she played D. He held up a B. She said, “B” out loud and “Okay, okay,” to herself and she played B. He held up an F. She said, “F” out loud and “Okay, okay,” to herself and she played F. And so on until she had all the letters. At which point she turned around and held the letters out to me and said, “IN YOUR FACE, MAMA!”

And I said, “THAT’S MY BABY!”

Our playgroup visited the Fire Department today.

Julia visits the Fire Department

Julia thought it was awesome.

The firemen were fabulous with the kids. They talked with them about calling 911 when there’s an emergency, getting out of the house if there’s a fire and staying low and near a window if they can’t get out.

One of the firemen dressed up in his full gear to show them how a fireman would look if he came to their house to fight a fire and reminded them that they should never hide from a fireman.

They showed the kids the fire pole. One of them slid down it. Julia wanted to slide down it, too. I told her it was only for fireman. She said, “I am a fireman.” I told her she needed some training first.

The fireman also showed the kids the ambulance and their scuba gear for diving.

Finally, they closed down the street and brought out the ladder truck.

The Ladder Truck in New Philadelphia

And each kid had a turn to get inside and turn the wheel.

Julia in the Ladder Truck

Then, it was off to the park for some playtime and a snack.

Julia at Tuscora Park

In Julia’s words, “Playgroup was pretty cool today.”

Julia had stripped off all her clothes and was wearing our crinkly cat tunnel as a dress. You know, for fun.

Dave caught a glimpse of her and said, “What are you doing? Are you naked under there? You better put some clothes on!”

Julia laughed, “It’s just for fun, Daddy. Geez!” Then she took off down the hall.

Dave shook his head, “It frightens me to think of her going off to college. Can you imagine what she’ll be like?”

Julia returned, booping and beeping and telling us she was a robot.

Dave took a breath to say something, probably very fatherly and important, and a fly flew into his mouth and he coughed.

And I threw up.

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