Ok. I realize that there are probably MANY of you out there (because we all know I have a *massive* group of blog followers...) that have been just DYING to know for the last (almost) 2 months now what exactly I do on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with Niños con Valor!! Oh the suspense! Well, I am happy to tell you the wait is over--all my MWF secret whereabouts and activities are revealed below. But first, to give a quick recap about Niños, it's an organization that runs two children's homes, one for girls and one for boys. There are currently 9 boys at the boys home ages 3-9. The current number of girls is 21 ages 6-16. (Ps. I'm purposefully not going to use names for any of the kids in this blog post for confidentiality reasons.)
Monday and Wednesday mornings find me at the BOYS home. I try and get there around 8am, which puts me right at the beginning of their breakfast, ie a wonderfully chaotic time which usually is made up of some part yelling, some part whining, some part smiling and laughing (if we're lucky!!), and typically ends with a fairly substantial amount of whatever is being eaten ending up on some part of my body... :) Then it's upstairs for teeth brushing and potty time, before I head out to the front yard with the "peques" (short hand for "pequeños," which is spanish for the "little" or younger boys). We get about an hour of play time in before the day Tia (ie day worker) comes in and herds all the younger boys downstairs to do "homework," which mainly consists of practicing coloring IN the lines, putting puzzles together, practicing their writing, and playing. Below is a pictures of me with one of the kids with whom I spend a lot of my time.
I wish I could tell you that he's always smiling this much when he's around me, but a lot of the time I'm trying to avoid being bitten, scratched, or pinched. Although he's 3, he's still non-verbal, which because of this? or in conjunction with this? he also tends to get frustrated very quickly and thus express his needs or wants in irritated bouts of lashing out at whoever happens to be closest to him (ie me!). We're hoping to be able to teach him some basic sign language soon to help him to be able to communicate better and with any luck, also help him to be less frustrated. I really feel for him. I can't imagine how frustrated and/or irritated I would be if I had no way of communicating what I wanted to say!
When it's really hot or rainy outside we also tend to read in the morning. Below is a picture of me with my same kido "reading" one of the many wonderful board books in the house.
Now onto the GIRLS! Fridays are my day to be at the girls home. I used to get there bright and early at 8am, but that's before I started RUNNING with 3 of the girls at 6AM on Wednesday and SATURDAY mornings... So because I now typically get up at 5am on Saturday, I decided to let myself sleep in a little bit on Friday and usually arrive at the girls home around 10. This gives me enough time to say hi to everyone and quick use the bathroom before I start my first PIANO LESSON of the day. Seriously. I'm still in disbelief every single time I write that I "teach" piano. Lessons typically consist of practicing a few songs from the books, going over note names, practicing COUNTING (now I totally understand why my non-counting drove Lynn CRAZY!), and then without fail I will be asked to play the "Titanic" song with them as a duet, where they play the top hand melody part and I play the bottom hand part. I'm gonna need to pause here and give a quick "shout-out" to MEGAN HAMM (now Moran!) since she was the one who taught me this simplified version of the Celine Dion Titanic song. The girls are obsessed (to put it lightly) and have begged me to teach it to them. However, none of them are advanced enough to be able to play both hands together, which is why I end up playing the bottom part while they pound out the melody. I have 4 piano "students"--two in the morning before lunch and two after lunch. Below is a picture of me with one of my most dedicated students. The top one is of me "teaching;" the bottom one is of us playing the Titanic song...