Monday, January 23, 2012


On Friday night we went to Night School at K's school. This was her opportunity to walk us through her works at school (Montessori kids work). We had a wonderful time (wish he had gotten their earlier). She showed D and me how to build the temple in Israel (sort of like a 3-D puzzle), some of her meditations (Bible stories with a coloring activity) and the pink tower. She has been telling me about the pink tower for weeks and it was so wonderful to watch her put it together and then take it apart and put it back where it came from.

Watching her in her school environment all I could think about was how happy I am that she's in a supportive learning environment. One where she is thriving. She is learning life skills - pouring water, polishing metals, polishing shoes, cleaning (furniture, clothes, dishes), phonics, numbers, and spacial reasoning. She is learning good behaviors - putting away works, waiting her turn for snack, cleaning up after snack. She is provided with artistic outlets - painting, drawing.

She is building a foundation for learning. One that she will carry with her for the rest of her life.

At home we are trying to reinforce many of the things she is learning at school - good behaviors, life skills, phonics. I spend my days spelling words for her, allowing her to pour her own water when I know I could pour her a glass in half the time it takes her to do it on her own, making up games (like the one where I say I spy something with my little eye that starts with a w-w (w sound) and she has to find an object that starts with w, like the wall, and take a picture of it to show me. We also practice cutting out objects with scissors (this activity was recently interrupted by K cutting a hole in the hood of her rain jacket - oops!) and playing lots of make believe (did you know that couch in our basement is a boat?).

We read books that rhyme and tell silly stories. We read about princesses and big red dogs; care bears and talking trains.

This is life with a three year old. It's all about the basics. From a family point of view, we are just beginning the journey of schooling and education.

Professionally, however, I am at the opposite end of the spectrum. I'm now teaching graduate level classes. I'm now considered an expert; the one who is at the top of her game and ready to impart knowledge to others.

Tonight I left my office at 6:45pm to teach my first ever graduate-level class. As I walked along the sidewalk, busy with students shuffling to class and the library, I couldn't help but smile. After 26 years of schooling (including preschool, K-12, undergrad, MPH, and doctorate), I'm now the teacher. I'm instructing students who are pursuing their graduate degrees. Students who are nearing the top of their game.

It is strange living/working in both of these worlds. At school, I spend my time talking about toxicology, epidemiologic study methods, risk assessment, biostatistics, and environmental science. At home, I am cutting out paper fish for our pretend boat, reading Fox in Socks, and praying that K doesn't ask me to spell something difficult. I'm actually grateful for my commute to/from school. It allows  me time to shift gears. On the way there I take my mommy hat off (although sometimes my role as mommy can be seen on my sleeve - literally - as I often have some spit up on me) and put on my professor/grown up one. On the way home, I remind myself that regression, SAS code, toxicokinetics and the like cannot be discussed. It is all about games, phonics, make-believe, using the bathroom correctly, and enjoying time with my babies.

Although I do live/work in these opposite ends of the spectrum and sometimes it is hard to go from one to the other in a commute/span of less than an hour, I wouldn't change a thing.


C bottle drinking update: the boy doesn't like the bottle, but managed to get 8 oz in between 10am and 9pm. I'm guessing he'll be up in the middle of the night to eat.

Streaking: even though I slept through my alarm this morning, I still managed to get a short run in this morning. Streak day 23 continues...

NYC Marathon: I have entered the lottery. I will only run the race if both D and I get entry this year. If not, we'll both have automatic entry in 2013. We'll run the Richmond, VA marathon together this year.

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