Monday, March 29, 2010

[diary] midnight piano with my sister

I expressed my doubts to one of my best friends. Directly quoting what I said earlier, "I don't know if the majority of people understand how terribly smart and sneaky little kids are." I think I have a point since I actually have a five-year-old sister. And three-year-old brother.

Although I might not spend a lot of time with them, when I do, it's normally to help them. Like piano practice with my little sister.

It usually goes smoother than it did today. I mean, tomorrow/later, she has a piano lesson at 10:30 a.m. It is currently 12:35 a.m. and we just finished one segment of practice. I told her I'd give her a 20 minute break, and we'd get back to practicing until she has 'perfected' all her pieces.

I'm a drill sergeant. I say "again" every time she finishes playing a piece if it isn't perfect. I've said "again" for at least 10 times in a row, literally. But it's for her own good. And I do that to myself, too. For the most part. But that is how I train her. And myself. I know she gets frustrated whenever I say "again" in a flat voice. But that's the only method that I can think of that works--repetition--grounding the concept into both her mind and fingers over and over again so that she knows it upside-down in her sleep. Whenever I review for tests, especially math and science, I do the same problems over and over again. Do the problem. Erase. Do the problem. Erase. Rinse and repeat. It's terribly monotonous and frustrating, yes, but I've gotten used to it and it seems to be my most successful method. I don't know what else that I can do to ground piano in my sister.

But after the most frustrating piano practice I've done with her, a part of me feels very sad, yet I feel troubled and wiser at the same time. I've already placed myself in my parents' shoes before. And this time I do it again. And again. And again. I try to reason about what it's like to be them. And then I try to reason about what it's like to be a five-year-old. So I know. I wish I could sit my sister down and explain why I'm "tormenting" her with these drills. I admit, often during this practice, I wanted to do something abrupt because I was so aggravated. But I didn't yell at her like my parents. I didn't slam my hands on the table or piano like I would have wanted to. I didn't slam her hands on the keys like my first piano teacher. I'm sure that often, when I don't obey my parents, that's exactly what they want to do--dole out physical punishment. Or say terrible words. They do that. But they don't do physical punishment. But I still think it's just as bad. But when I was practicing piano with my sister for those consecutive two hours, I really wanted to yell, shout.

I am seriously dubious of how difficult this really is. It's hard to explain, but if I know you in person, I'll show you. I honestly don't think I had this much difficulty with piano even when I was her age doing the same thing. I often suspected that my sister was intentionally pretending not to know how to play certain parts just so she could try my patience.

As if the entire world hasn't tested my patience today.

Today was a truly terrible day. A perpetual headache. More than annoying, nosy, loud relatives. No peace, no quiet. Just claustrophobia, a racket of gossip, practicing piano without very fruitful results for two hours. No stomach for food.

Whenever I get frustrated, mad, or sad, I have no stomach for food. Either that or I start indiscriminately binging--stuffing whole foods into my mouth and tearing savagely, swallowing in huge gulps, blinking back hot tears. That happens quite often--well, at least, when I'm sad/mad at meal times. Today I stuffed a whole square of radish cake (
蘿蔔糕) into my mouth after being unhappy with dinner (because I was in a foul mood I couldn't savor the food).

Anyhoo. Back to the subject of practicing with my sister.

She just went to sleep despite my mandate of resuming practice in 20 minutes. That means I'll have to wake up around 8 or so and wake her up to practice. Didn't I say I was a drill sergeant?

While I may not do everything that I have to recently, when I do do it, I put my mind to it for the most part. Discipline is something that I lack but also have. Repetition is one of the pillars of my methods. You could say that I have a lot of discipline, but at the same time, you could also say that I can be reckless and wild.

I just can't stomach the fact that if my sister doesn't do well in her piano lesson tomorrow, I will bear the brunt of it from my parents. And I myself will feel guilty and responsible, because I am responsible for her success this time.

But I know, that it's frustrating. For me, for my sister, for my parents, for everyone in the world who has family.