Some days are easier than others

I teach piano every Thursday for about three hours; I have 5 students in 3 families (two sets of siblings). The current arrangement is that we meet at the home of one of the families, the kids walk over when it's their turn, and their parents take turns holding the baby. Usually I have to take a break to nurse and change the diaper (they were really eager to hold the baby, but not change him...curious...). In some ways this is ideal, but today was a bit of a challenge:

3:05 I arrive at the home of family B. The first lesson does not start until 3:15. I am early because I have overestimated how it long would take to pack up the kid and drive over. I have a rather awkward conversation with the dad, who informs me that Evan is feeling "a little queasy" and is having a carbonated beverage but that he'll be fine. I have a rather neurotic fear of vomiting (my own kid's spit-up doesn't bother me), so this puts me a little on edge.

3:15 Evan walks into the piano room for his lesson looking a little pale.

3:30 Evan's mom shows up with a can of Sierra Mist and asks him what feels bad. "A little of everything," he replies. I grow increasingly nervous.

4:00 The first lesson has concluded with no major incident. I breathe a sigh of relief and wash my hands with the thoroughness of a surgeon scrubbing up.

4:05 Just minutes into lesson #2, the baby, who has been sleeping blissfully in the carseat next to me, wakes up looking very hungry. I commence breastfeeding while demonstrating a B major scale with my free hand.

4:20 Baby is still nursing, making the demonstration of proper finger technique impossible.

4:25 Baby finally finishes nursing, so I tell the student to practice a few measures while I hurry the baby out to parents eagerly waiting to hold him.

4:35 We should have 10 minutes left of lesson #2, but the student has forgotten several of her books so we just end early.

4:40 Student #3, younger sibling of student #2 and approximately 7 years of age, is outside where he has found a wooly worm and doesn't want to come inside. After a few minutes of fruitless coaxing, his mother says, "Max, come in or I'm going to have Susan tell you to come in." He's inside the door within seconds. Since when am I the bad guy, I wonder?

4:45 Lesson #3 commences, but only after Max has washed the mud and wooly worm fur off his grubby little hands.

4:55 Evan's mom brings in the baby, who has fallen asleep again, to sit next to me.

5:00 The family dog, a large and friendly golden retriever comes rushing into the piano room to see who the new people are, disrupting the lesson and waking the baby. Fortunately, baby is nonplussed.

5:15 Lesson #4 begins with another eager 7-year-old who has misplaced all but one of her piano books (What's with my students not having their books?), even though we're in her house. We do some warm-ups, spend 10 minutes looking for her books in the basement and in the bathroom (Why the bathroom? You got me.), kill some time practicing sight-reading, and end the lesson early. Meanwhile, I can hear the baby screaming somewhere upstairs and am completely distracted.

5:40 Screaming baby will not nurse. I have pulled out my left boob for nothing. I change his diaper, plug the noise-hole (re: pacifier), and hand him off.

5:45 Student #5 shows up with all her piano books but not her assignment book. I tear a loose sheet out of another notebook, feeling sure that she will lose it by next Thursday. Student is clearly tired and bored. I feel like a failure of a teacher. Meanwhile, the baby, who has once again joined my side, keeps spitting out his pacifier and threatening to fuss if I don't replace it immediately.

6:30 I arrive home tired, grumpy, and wondering just how long this arrangement is going to work. Sigh.


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