Friday, January 16, 2015

Morning Routine, Winter 2015

Sometimes I like to write a post about our morning routine, just so I can see how much it has changed.

It represents how much the kids have changed. 

And it reminds me that the changes are good- they may be moving further and further away from chubby babyhood, but that's ok. They are relying on us in different ways than they used to, and they are closer to us in ways that wouldn't have been possible when they were still infants.

So. Nowadays, Nooriya wakes up first, around 6am, and goes potty and brushes her teeth. Then she changes into the clothes that I laid out the night before. Then she goes downstairs and grabs the cereal bowl and spoon and cereal off the counter, and puts them on the table, and then opens the fridge and grabs one of the two cups of milk that are on the lower shelf. She has her breakfast - sometimes early enough where Taher gets to have breakfast with her - and by this time, Yusuf is usually up. He goes through the same potty/teeth/change/breakfast routine that Nooriya just completed.

At this point, I am wide awake but trying to stay in bed until 7am. I usually accomplish this. I then walk out of my room and call Nooriya upstairs so I can brush and braid her hair, and I remind both kids to make their beds. If Nooriya doesn't have her glasses on yet, I remind her to put them on.

While I am getting ready for the day, the kids are either playing together or reading side by side. When I come downstairs and I see them sitting next to each other, noses buried in books, I am reminded of how different life is now. When they were babies, the morning meant crying and milk and diapers and wrangling and juggling - and I rarely got to shower in the morning. 

But alhamdolillah, although we have left the wrangling behind, they are still so cuddly. This morning they don't have school, so they came into my bed and we just hung out for 20 minutes before starting our day. 

Alhamdolillah. Did I say that? Is it even possible to say it enough?

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On Tuesday, I began my new position as Adjunct Professor of English at Elgin Community College.
I am only teaching one class per semester until Nooriya is in school full time- the flexibility associated with teaching is awesome. I am so glad I finally got around to applying to do this.

Tuesday was my first day teaching- there so much anticipation leading up to this day! I wanted to just get in there and meet my students.

I don't think they knew quite what to make of me when I walked in. How old is this girl? What in the world is she wearing? Why does she talk like a surfer?

I have never been a formal person, and although I can be professional, I can't pretend. So when I walked into this class of 20 freshmen/sophomores, I was being myself. And I knew that that was the only way I would make connections with these kids, the only way they would learn to enjoy writing, the only way I would enjoy teaching.

Tuesday went ok. I liked the experience, but I didn't feel a connection to any of the kids yet. However, since it was only the first day, I wasn't too worried about that.

And then yesterday, Thursday, was my second day. And it went so wonderfully that I am now not only "not worried" about this semester, I am looking forward to it and very, very happy.

I got a chance to walk around to every student and read what they were typing and chat with them and impart to them the idea that writing should not be torture. I told them that my job this semester would be to show them how to look at a blank Word document as an opportunity, not an intimidation. I spoke to them about writer's block. I encouraged them to choose topics for their Formal Research Paper that they actually felt passionate about or interested in. How that would make the difference between researching and writing this paper feel like a job versus a joy. 

I think I got through to them. They opened up. They told me about their difficult stepfather, their drug-addicted parents, their chameleons, their future plans, their poodle, their lives.


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