Every week children come to my house for the purpose of learning to play the piano. At least that's the agreement I have with the parents. Some parents, though, seem to be under the impression that I'm actually running a glorified day care center.
A couple of weeks ago I was teaching the last students of the day. You may remember these kids. It's a brother-sister team referred to affectionately as "The Piano Lickers." I still haven't quite figured out why they do this but I HAVE determined that the taste of Lysol on the keys doesn't seem to be particularly unpleasant to them.
So it probably comes as no surprise that after an hour of trying to keep one occupied and out of trouble while teaching the other I was more than ready to return them to the wild from whence they came. I was escorting them to the door when one turned back and headed toward the living room. When I reminded him that it was time to leave he demolished my dream of closing the door behind them and screaming, "WHY? WHY do they DO that?" before disinfecting the piano again. It all came crashing down with the airy announcement, "Oh, Mom said she'd be an hour or so late because she needed to go grocery shopping and stuff."
"An hour? She said she'd be AN HOUR?"
"Yeah, she said if it's a problem we can just wait outside."
Wait outside? In January? In Utah? After dark? Seriously? She hadn't even sent them with coats. There was no way I was going to send them outside for an hour, and I'm sure she knew she could count on that. (Being a doormat is not always as fun as you may think.) Odd habits aside, it's not their fault their mother does what she does and I wasn't going to make them freeze just because their mother is less than considerate. Fortunately Son came home about then. He's the same age as my students and he's happy to play with them. Just as long as they don't actually lick him, that is.
I asked the children to please remind their mother of my policy that all children left longer than ten minutes will be sold as slaves. Then I went to the kitchen to get dinner started. I remained within earshot of course; I'm not THAT crazy.
The boy was the first to pipe up. "Dude, does your mom really sell kids? She can't do that can she?"
Without missing a beat Son assured him, "Sure. You didn't really think I was an only child did you? She sold the others."
Of course I will reassure the children that I was kidding. Everyone knows how hard it is to get a good price for kids who lick pianos.