With the start of every new school year I try to implement different strategies to improve my teaching. Some years work better than others. Last year, I tried to implement the “Character Challenge,” where I would put a quote, or a “challenge,” on the board every Monday morning and leave it up all week. Then, on Fridays, we’d have a whole class chat about whether anyone was able to live up to the challenge that week. I didn’t make this up; I got the idea from a workshop I went to with Youth Frontiers: http://www.youthfrontiers.org/
Anyways, I think it worked pretty well, so I’ve stayed connected to the weekly challenge. Even though I’m not currently in the classroom, this week’s challenge struck me as particularly meaningful, even for my maternity leave:
“Take a step back this week and enjoy where you are in life at this exact moment. Give yourself permission to be reflective and happy in your present place.”
So, in the spirit of reflective happiness, here is what brought me joy this week:
- The way Dylan’s lower lip juts out in a pout right before he’s about to cry is so adorable I can’t stop myself from leaning in for a kiss, which then turns into an open-mouth challenge, because Dylan wants to nurse my mouth.
- I love the way he looks when he wakes up from a nap, startled: his eyes dart around rapidly and he sticks his arms out to steady himself. If he could talk, I imagine him saying, “Whoa – what the hell is going on here? Who are you and where is my milk?” Then he screams.
- I love the way he looks when he wakes up from a nap, well-rested: he smiles in a drunken fashion, his face slack and his mouth slightly open. He usually coos a bit and has this Lebowski-like persona as in, “Yeah, well. The Dude abides.”
- Josh and I rode our bikes to the Lyric Arts theater (http://www.lyricarts.org/) on Wednesday night to see Charlie Parr perform. Josh’s mom watched Dylan for us and we were able to grab a burger and a few beers before the show. This makes me happy because a) having a grandma to babysit is awesome, and b) it was the first time I’d ridden my bike since before I was pregnant with Dylan.
- Dylan fell asleep in my arms this morning while watching Hoda & Kathie Lee do some exercise thing in heels (bad idea), and first Rummy, then Moose, snuggled up on either side of me and rested their heads between Dylan’s bottom and my thighs. The four of us were so snuggly and warm that for a minute I forgot I was pissed at my dogs for tearing up the backyard yesterday when it was wet and muddy outside (sorry, Josh, but that new grass you planted this summer is no longer).
Yeah, I’d say I’m truly happy with where I am right now. Happy Friday and Amen.