It just can’t be helped. No matter how hard you try. No matter how much you cry. You could reason. You could bargain. But in the end, the real cost of piano lessons for the children, is going to their Christmas concert at the end of the year. Like most of the other parents present, I listened to twenty-five songs, of varying quality, just so I could watch my two oldest perform. To be fair, of which I am nothing but, most of the kids were quite good. There were few mess ups, and only one off-stage melt down, who I felt very sorry for. My little ones did very well. #1 and #2 played “We Three Kings” on the piano together. They plunked along in harmony until #1’s solo at the end. In a slight pause #2 leaned into her sister and asked if they should start over. #1 gave a brief shake of her head as to say, “We did fine, now I got this.” And finished the piece as good as any eight year old could. Like most parents there, I thought my children made the concert worth it. I suppose there was some kind of congratulations given out afterwards as both girls were sporting bouquets at the reception. However, that was the point #7 decided to overfill his diaper into Wife’s lap. That put #8 in my arms while Wife rushed out to the van. I had the key in my pocket and so I had to follow her out to let her in. Luckily the mess was contained and we were able to join the reception. We parents congratulated one another on the performance of each other’s children. We exchanged complements, and generally visited with friends. All the while small children rushed in between legs from one side of the room to the other in a mad game of cat and mouse, or cheetah and gazelle; however, in that game the mouse was just as likely to chase the cat. And the final destination was always the table full of treats. Wife has always been a big proponent of green foods. While I would rather dine on potatoes and steak, Wife pushed salad; and the children listened. Right before we left, #5 rushed up to me asking for something I could neither hear nor discern. I saw he was pointing at the food table and figured whatever it was it couldn’t hurt. After I gave him the green light, he rushed off to the tray that had until lately been filled with sandwich rolls. He looked over the empty platter and grabbed the only food that was left on it, the lettuce that the sandwiches had been setting on. With relish he ate two leafs before he was satisfied. I marveled at the sight, as I always did when one of my children turned down sweets for greens. Between the salads and piano, it appears that I will have quite a group of aristocrats for children.