Saturday, October 15, 2011


I'm not really sure that I should be posting on this yet, but now that the sting has passed, and I have stopped worrying about it as much, I think I can finally face what happened.

Actually, I'll share an email with you that will provide all the gory details:

Hello [Band Director]!

I need to inform you of something and enlist your help with this....

To keep the school's trumpet safe from younger siblings, I asked [older child] to put it high up on a shelf in his bedroom. He did so, but yesterday, his younger brother snuck into [older brother's] room and took the trumpet into his own room. I was at the high school at the time,

Suddenly, from upstairs, the kids heard the sounds of a trumpet. They were a bit surprised and started running upstairs. Younger brother knew he was busted as he heard footsteps and tried to conceal the evidence. We're all quite aghast at what he did next. He took the trumpet and dropped it out of his bedroom window.    {sidenote:  I guess he'd been playing it through the open window for all of the neighbors to enjoy.  Ugh!}

Thankfully, at this moment, I was on the phone with [babysitting child] checking in, so I heard all that happened the moment it did, got in the car and came home.

I shared with [younger brother] that it would be his job to come into the school and tell you what happened. I'm sorry to say it, but I've painted you as a scary person. I want this experience never to be revisited in our home--or anything like it. I want him to learn that there are boundaries to other people's things and he needs to respect that. In short, I want him to be scared out of his wits.

Today, we are going to go to three different music stores to make sure the trumpet is okay and get it repaired in whatever way we can. We're going to head to two in Hillsboro and one in Beaverton. Do you have any additional suggestions?

We are all just absolutely mortified that this happened. [Older brother] had a very hard time sleeping last night and came in crying at one point. He's very fearful of how you'll respond to him from here on out and is feeling very responsible for what happened.

I am planning on bringing [younger brother] in to meet with you. I'm asking that you not take it easy on him. I want this to be a learning experience for him. Sorry to put you in this position. I didn't want him to come in to tell you what happened and not have you forewarned. What day would be best to bring him in? It will either have to be after school, or I could bring him in before school on Wednesday.

I'm so sad that we're adding to all of the horror stories you share to teach kids to take care of their instruments.

Thank you!

This is an email no parent EVER wants to have to send.

After going to the music stores, we learned that the trumpet (which we're borrowing from the school) would cost more to repair than to replace.

So, there you have it. That's a lot of money for a five-year-old to have to earn. I'm not sure how we're going to work this one out. I'm open to anyone's ideas.

The good thing is that the trumpet is probably still useable at this point. It has two dents that are just hard to get to without taking a trumpet apart and soldering it back together--therein lies the expense. So, we have the older child use it for the rest of the school year and get a new one for the school in June. We'll have the band teacher check it out for us on Tuesday to see if it really still works.


Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness. That is a tough one!!! You have done everything right. Have you heard from the band teacher yet? Ugh... So sorry!

Unknown said...

My younger sister had a similar experience. Let's just say the offended sibling did not have chores for two months.

I think you handled it perfectly. Sorry to hear about the cost, but it is a valuable lesson for all your children.

Hesses Madhouse said...

Thanks Molly. There are those who'll say I did everything right and those who'll be ready to call the authorities in on me.

Younger brother is not one who learns from his mistakes easily, so being his mom is tough sometimes. I figure if I can get him to own this problem, we've won at least part of the battle for the time being.

Yes, I did hear from the band teacher. He's a super nice guy, and the kids really like him. That made it that much harder to tell him. He also has no children of his own. I worried about how he'd respond about me and my SEVEN and our CRAZINESS.

He said he's totally on board, but he also doesn't want this younger child to be afraid of band when he gets older because of this experience. I agreed completely. When I wrote the letter, I originally included something along those lines in it but then deleted it. I can't remember why I chose to.

The band teacher said that he thought it was kind of funny. I'm guessing he's had similar experiences in the past--if not worse.

Cynthia said...

i'm sorry, but I laughed out loud. This is kind of hilarious. I play the trumpet and my OLDER sister dinged mine up really bad once. We got it fixed, but it had a battle wound.

To be honest, having a shoddy instrument makes you a better player. You have to work around the failures of the instrument, and that makes YOU a better player. I had to step it up the year my trumpet was wounded, but then my extra practice and determination to not sound bad made it so that I was first chair for the next three years, after my horn was fixed.

I'm sorry this happened! I know it's a major drag.

doh said...

I think you handled it well. I am just glad it was something easily fixed or replaced (I am aware cost is a factor), as opposed to a family heirloom, or a pet. At this point, all you can do is turn it into a learning experience. All the numerals will have your parenting skills reinforced by this. Once again, thanks for sharing, and keep raising them well.

Janiece said...

Oh Julie,
I am not sure who I feel worst for...the older or the younger.
You my friend are an amazing mom.

Lia London, author said...

So...for future reference. What's the cheapest instrument in the band. Because that's what I'll have my son play. He's got a sister like your five year old.


LeAnn said...

Wow, that is a story telling experience for life. You will find the siblings sharing this one in the future. I think you method of handling it is really good. Sorry, about the trumpet. In the long one this may be one of those teaching moments that will have a life time impact.
Blessings to you and keep on enjoying this very fun and eventful journey.

Lisa Wing said...

Julie, you absolutely ROCK!! I can only aspire to be half the mom you are. Nicely done!

Alyson said...

It won't surprise you that my initial reaction was, "So glad that didn't happen to us." Because it could have. The only thing we lack is the trumpet, every other ingredient is there.

janna said...

OH no!! I'm glad it worked out

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