Little Drummer Boy

Or, in the words of Anna Maria, “Wow, your brother really doesn’t like you, does he?”

Or, in the words of JC, “Whenever you start to think that your life is bad, just stop and think, ‘At least my three-year-old didn’t get an 8-piece trap set for Christmas.'”

In fairness, he did ask.

What he said was, “Can I get Silas a My First Drumset for Christmas?”

What I pictured was…something like this:

or possibly this:

That was not what my brother meant. No. He meant this:

As he brought in piece after piece and assembled it under the tree, my jaw dropped. And he kept saying, “Oh, wait, there’s one more thing out in the car.” And then there was more. And more.

I told him my Christmas present for him was not freaking out about this.

In all honesty, my feelings on the thing are mixed. On the one hand, my brother was incredibly excited about this. He put a lot of thought into it, harassing the staff at local music stores so that he could test drive lots of different children’s drum sets. He even bought some “moon gels” to take the annoying ring off the sound. This set will last a kid until middle school. I appreciate his thoughtfulness, which is an odd thing to say about someone who just BOUGHT MY THREE YEAR OLD A DRUM SET OMG.


It’s not even the noise that bothers me, really. Nor is it the fact that we have a very small house, and this is a very large instrument. I think a piano would be about the only thing we could possibly get that would take up anywhere near this kind of space.

If I’m bothered at all (and I am, a bit), it’s that this didn’t come from Silas’ interest, it came from my brother’s. Al was on the drum line in his high school marching band. He took drum lessons for years, and is passionate about the instrument. Silas hasn’t ever expressed much interest in drums. He’s much more excited about strings–just today, we got into a fight about whether he was ready to use the bow with my tiny violin (he’s not!). He always wants to mess with guitars when people have them out, and he loves it when his friend’s grandpa plays the cello at our church. If someone had said, “Hey, I’m thinking about getting Silas an instrument for Christmas, what would he like?” I probably would have suggested a mandolin.

One of my strongest protective instincts as a parent is to make sure that my children have the space to be the people they want and need to be. I don’t want them to feel like they need to take on anyone else’s dreams or passions. This is one of the reasons I fight to make room for my own art–I never want them to feel the weight of my unrealized dreams and wonder if they are responsible for them. I think a lot of people grow up knowing that their parents shelved some major self-actualization to make room for children, and then they feel a responsibility to live the life their parents would have wanted to live. I just don’t want that for my kids.

Proud uncle. Photo by Wendy Werner

And now there is this large, and I’m sure not cheap, instrument in my house. On some level, I feel a bit of pressure to ensure that it gets used, because…well, it’s here. Maybe it’s my Mennonite frugality/guilt talking (is this a sign that I’m becoming “really Menno”?), but I hate to waste the money and the space. I equally hate to pressure Silas to play the drums, if that’s not where his passion is.

I’m overthinking this, of course. He’s three. In a given day, he, JC, and Petra play for probably five minutes each. Petra surprised us by playing along while we were watching The Nutcracker and being solidly on the beat. Maybe we’ll have a little drummer girl.

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