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The thing you never want your child to bring home.

Fat Mum Slim /

Over the weekend Lacey spent a few hours at my cousin’s house. He has two kids, a lovely wife and a social life – so Ma went over to babysit and took Lacey with her.

I won’t lie. I loved the peace and quiet in her absence. I’m slowly going crazy these school holidays because I need a regular dose of quiet, otherwise it feels like my head might explode. Selfish, aren’t I?

The next morning, when she woke at home, she went straight to her backpack and started emptying bits and pieces she’d collected from their house. I still haven’t worked out whether they were taken with permission, or borrowed in a sneaky way. Hubby and I watched as she tipped out the contents of her bag; some tissues, a little sparkly purse, a swimming costume and then the next thing made us gasp. It might as well have been a decayed dead rat. We saw the ‘thing’, and then shot each other a look. A look of complete devastation. It was a harmonica. A HARMONICA.

When I was a nanny the kids had a harmonica. Oh the memories! I think I bought it for them one school holidays. Rookie error. It lasted all of half a day until I placed it high above a cupboard, within sight, but out of reach. It stayed in that spot until the day I left.

It’s hard to make a harmonica sound good. Much like a recorder really.

It’s actually been a weird harmonica-filled week. Just last week we were driving out of the car park of Bunnings when I saw a guy navigate quickly into the car park entrance and then take two hands off the steering wheel and straight onto his harmonica while still driving. That’s dedication. And dangerous. “Did you see that?” I gasped. “He might have been playing a REALLY important song?” Hubby replied with a chuckle.

And then on my child-free Saturday night I set myself up in bed with a movie, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, and the leading actor played the instrument throughout. I thought to myself, ‘Is the harmonica really necessary?’

I think I’m allergic to them.

And then I woke the next morning to a harmonica in my house. I wanted to take a photo of it for this post, but right now it’s somewhere unknown. I assume Hubby has kindly hidden it from little hands. And I dare not try to find it, for fear it might get played… all day long.

I will find it though, and I will kindly sneak it back into my cousin’s house. It’s the right thing to do.

How do you feel about harmonicas? Ever heard one sound… good?

photo credit: Daniel Y. Go via photopin cc

  • I love a good sounding harmonica, very melancholic. But I agree with you about keeping it out of sight of little people…melancholy turns into, well, you know, melancholy!

  • Kirsty

    My brother once bought my daughter a harmonica, with her name engraved on it! She was very fond of it and because he had gone to the trouble of getting it engraved I felt bad about getting rid of it. And so we suffered.

    He has 3 kids now and i’m a firm believer of karma :):)

  • Teresapk

    I like them, for a few minutes or played really well. Otherwise, feel like screaming!!

    • Ali

      This is a stupid thing

  • Rach aka Stinkb0mb

    We used to have a harmonica when we were kids, had it for years and played it a lot. We could either play it quite well or I guess it just didn’t bother my parents that much!! LOL

  • Erica Engle

    My uncle played the harmonica and it was beautiful in his hands (mouth). But he had time and space to practice. Any that have come home with my children have quickly disappeared and will disappear until a child shows real interest and the weather is warm enough that they can learn/ practice outside, far away from my ears

  • helen

    My partner owns a harmonica. My 3 year old daughter likes to play it. I do not cope with the sound well. She also owns a recorder, location unknown.
    I would far prefer to hear her sing. It is quite cute, and, frankly, quieter.

  • Lauren

    Back when I worked retail, there were many parents who I wanted to punch. The ones I wanted to punch the most were this one set of parents who, one quiet evening in the store, decided that a harmonica was the toy their son would get to play with while they shopped. Good freaking lord.

  • Kate – Meetoo

    We have a harmonica.. Somewhere. But to be honest it only gets a fleeting outing – the kids don’t seem that into it so it’s never really bothered me – don’t get me started on the recorder my mum gave my daughter.. That lasted 5 min before I cracked. Harmonicas in moderation are ok on the scale of annoying things with sounds your kid might come home with. My daughter got a Furby for Christmas and they don’t even have an off button, you have to wait for it to go to sleep. And it speaks furbish, most of the time: like OMG loo-loo-doo-boo.

  • Herrmann_Maria

    Haha, my godfather brought me a Harmonica once – I must’ve been around six years old. I always wondered when and where I had lost it, because I was a tidy and organised little girl and never lost anything. And I loved my Harmonica! Need to call my Mum and ask her for its whereabouts NOW.

  • My Grandpa plays one. Because he knows how to play it, it actually sounds good! He taught my 11 year old how to play, and taught him well, so it’s not as bad as people who can’t play…

  • Lea

    I will swap you… harmonica for a tuba, a trombone and a euphonium! LOL I too think I am allergic to harmonicas and anyh other instrument unless it is in the hands of someone who has had 10 solid years of training!

  • miri from miris jahrbuch

    Ah well, a harmonoica. It’s not so bad. First I thought she brought home lice. Which is worse.

    • But slightly less noisy. πŸ˜›

      • miri from miris jahrbuch

        Yeah, at least those little bastards are silent. πŸ™‚

  • my Uncle Gary used to make it sound heavenly.

  • My kids have one and love it. But now I feel a bit guilty for giving one as a gift to my friend’s kid for his birthday… : )

  • putonthejam

    It’s not just “little hands”.

    I took a violin home at the beginning of Year 7 and proceeded to “tune” it that evening. My father took it from me, looked sternly into my face, and said, “Never bring that back into the house.” I took up singing.

    Years later as a casual teacher, I had to take some (for want of a better description) music classes. Imagine my dismay when I realised everyone had a recorder which they were either tapping on the desk or spitting staccatto “notes” to no-one’s score but their own. Hard to hid 30 recorders on a top shelf when most of them were taller than me!

  • Jon Quimbly

    Umm, try lessons, so it sounds good?

  • Cath

    One day my Grandpa unexpectedly played the harmonica – quite well! It gave us such a surprise, as he was such a quiet, unassuming character. It still reminds me of Grandpa to hear one, even if it is the Munchkin playing as only a kid can πŸ˜‰

  • my almost 2 year old came back from his dads clutching a Harmonica ;last week, it must be an epidemic. I don;t really mind it though, maybe he’s a natural it sounds quite tuneful when he starts blowing it!

  • I had one for many years, occasionally tried to use it properly but just made noise usually. I discovered soon enough that I don’t have a musical bone in my body. I had several friends who were self-taught on various instruments, sometimes more than one and in high school it was great to listen to them tinker. Some of them are teachers now, others are in bands, others still just tinker and one is with an American orchestra. Folks, all I can say is just deal with the noise your kids make with instruments. Support them as they experiment with sound. They may just end up playing in New York at Carnegie Hall when they grow up.

  • Did you know, that in Germany a guy won the “Super Talent Show” with his harmonica? Let’s see, if I can find a videoclip… ah, here:

  • Stephanie

    Ahaha! My husband and I gave one to our niece for Christmas when she was 2. Lets just say it was a very successful payback for noisy gifts previously received my our kids!

  • mary_j_j

    Ha, I bought 2 a year or so back – one each for the kids!! Who are now 3 and 6! I suppose I remember the joy I had blowing in and out of one of those things! I assume they (the harmonicas) are both floating around this house somewhere, they’re not on the usual Up High shelf!

  • mary

    what would have happened if Bob Dylan’s mom had hidden his harmonica?

  • two words: Stevie Wonder!

  • I hate the sound of harmonicas, flutes, any instrument really. My mom gave my son a guitar for xmas. -_- It’s something he really likes though so I try not to hate it too much πŸ˜›

  • I appreciate that harmonica is not the easiest instrument on the planet to play, but even when played well, for some reason that sound grates my nerves and makes me want to cover my ears and run the other direction. I think that’s just me, though. Other people seem to like them. πŸ™‚

  • I would give anything to hear my husband’s grandfather play just one more time…

  • Linnea

    I love the sound of harmonica in songs, for example played by Bob Dylan. I’d love to be able to play it myself but we’ll see. But I do understand that in the hands of kids it may well be horror. πŸ™‚

  • Kylie

    Ugh – the harmonica. Definitely sneak it back to your cousins house. πŸ™‚

  • Tiia

    Ahhh, I dread this. I really do. I was the noisy kid, who played piano, recorder and I even chose violin for a couple years (I think it was my mom’s biggest nightmare come true). My husband’s daughter takes piano lessons now, but we don’t have a piano at home. She’s gonna get one of those roll out – attach to a computer – type of practice piano things, but only if she uses headphones AT ALL TIMES. Next year they’ll have recorders from school, and it’s compulsory and they’ll have homework on it. I’m already having nightmares!

  • We have a harmonica, but it’s not my kids’ – it belongs to my hub. And yes, I have heard one played well, maybe not by him (although he is getting better) but by his teacher, the incomparable Jim Conway. And have you ever heard Larry Adler play Summertime – sublime!
    But a beginner may be teeth-clenching, mind you I think a violin would be worse.

  • Khali Whatley

    My grandfather, who is 93, plays a harmonica like nobody’s business. And can make it sound beautiful.

  • Yessss, how well I remember the Peppa Pig harmonica my little girl played over and over and, did I mention, OVER AGAIN! Unfortunately it came to a speedy demise by accidentally hurling itself under my Swiss Clog and then repeatedly jumping back up into the heel until it was in smithereens… I’ll admit, I didn’t grieve for long and neither did my daughter when I replaced it with an entire tub of Ben & Jerry’s phish food ice cream … ahhh happy days.

  • Jenn

    My dad used to play the harmonica for me when I was really little. He died when I was young (8) and his harmonica is one of my favorite possessions. I can see how one in the hands of a child (or someone driving, what the heck?!) could be annoying, though!

  • Rosa M.

    jajaja this is funny. My stepdaughter had one too. I coudlnt take it any more and hid it. Where? I have no idea. I cant even remember. But the thing is looong gone.

  • I’m not a parent so perhaps my opinion will change in a few years but as of right now the only way a harmonica can get played is if the person is playing Piano Man