Friday, September 20, 2013

First Days of School

This semester for me started off to rough start. I had my two busiest weeks right at the beginning, and had a hard time adjusting to the work load and being away from my kids all day. There might have been a few tears and some exasperated "I HATE GRAD SCHOOL"s. But this week was so much better and my confidence has been reinstated. I do have  a 10-minute presentation on my research in two hours in front of all the comparative politics faculty and students, and the fact that I'm not preparing for it and instead am blogging should give you a little insight into my (perhaps overly) confident new outlook. I am participating in class more and even sitting in the front. I had a 30-minute interview evaluation with my Arabic professor Mustafa Mustafa from Sudan, and felt so confident in my abilities to communicate in Fus'ha. I can listen to Al-Jazeera and understand 40% of what is being said. I feel like I've made it over the huge hump of Arabic fluency, and that is a great feeling. My class is also really easy (5th Semester, I skipped 3rd and 4th because of my 6 weeks in Morocco) and the workload is so manageable. I wish I was challenged a little more (I thought the program here would be more equal to the BYU one, but it's quite a bit less work), but grateful I don't have to devote too much time to it and still can learn it at a decent pace. Obviously, I can also put more effort into it on my own when I have extra time.

Atticus is loving preschool, of course. He requested specifically to stay with his Teacher Laura at her school and so we are making the long trek out to their new location every day. Well, we were making the long trek but now we are car-pooling with another family from Eagle Heights and splitting gas money, which has been a wonderful arrangement. We just keep a car seat in the back of their minivan and they pick him up and drop him off daily. We love it because they are awesome people and it is convenient for us, Atticus loves it because they listen to Yo Gabba Gabba! in the car. Whatever works.

Atticus is also really into "artwork" this year, which is funny because he wouldn't touch the easel last year and was way more into playing with the cars and trucks and blocks. He brings home 4-5 paintings and coloring pages every day (sometimes more) and I think we are definitely getting our moneys worth of art supplies. The other day he brought home 10 pages of the same thing, and I'm pretty sure no other kids go to do the activity because Atticus did them all. When I asked him, he said "Michelle did one!" but that was it. Atticus starts his phonology preschool next month, and then he'll be gone all day two days a week and part-day the other three. He loves school so much and gets so bored at home we are looking forward to that.

Tallulah likes school, I think. It's hard to tell with this girl. The first week she seemed to do awesome, we dropped her off and she played and didn't cry at all. Except she had a hard time napping and would only sleep in her teachers' arms or in the wrap (and they are gentle and loving and did not express any concern at this, even if it's their break time!) The past week though she has been crying when we drop her off, but I usually wait around and it only last a few minutes and they tell us when we pick her up she is generally happy all day and doesn't have a problem after that, which is reassuring. They have a beautiful, sunny room (the same one Atticus was in last year) with the impossibly tiniest chairs and tables I've ever seen. She goes all day, Tuesdays and Thursdays, from about 8:30 until around 4 when I pick her up after class. They play outside for at least an hour, take a nap (she slept on her cot for the first time yesterday!! woohoo!), and eat two vegetarian meals and a snack every day. She has things like potato leek soup and curried lentils with veggies for lunch. I wish I could have lunch brought to me every day like that :) There are eight kids in her class, and she has three sweet and competent teachers. I really couldn't have asked for a better childcare situation, for both the kids. It is wonderful for me to get those two days to be on campus studying all day, and it's great for Tim because he can focus on writing, applying to grad schools (more on that later), and doing his community involvement work with the assembly and the gun violence ministry team he is working with. And with our childcare subsidy from the university, we are paying something like $200 a semester for both kids. I love UW-Madison.

This is actually Atticus's second week of school, but Lulah's first day.

He was cooperating with our request for a picture of them together, she wasn't quite so sure about it.


  1. I'm glad school is going well! And those pictures are adorable. Also, I can't believe how little you are paying! So great.

  2. I'm glad I'm not the only parent sending their four-year-old to two preschools this year... :)