Today’s Finish the Sentence Friday prompt is:
A typical day in my life looks like…
I could go a lot of directions with that one.
At first I thought I’d give you a window into how
crappy interesting it is getting my girls and myself ready to leave the house in the morning. Then I realized I’ve already talked about that a lot- like when I wrote about how disorganized I am used to be in the mornings, and how I can’t put my makeup on without my toddler climbing on me.
Plus, I think you get a pretty clear view of my daily life when I share things like this:
I just accidentally gave my toddler an exfoliating butthole scrub. #sandbox #diapercream
— Mommy, for real. (@mommyisforreal) April 1, 2013
So I decided I’d talk about my job instead. You know, my real job. My day job. The only I job I actually get paid for. Some of you know that I am a music therapist and early childhood educator. I have a great schedule- I teach a few classes each morning, and one afternoon a week I teach a music therapy group. Here’s the thing: I actually love my job. I am going to include something I wrote a few months ago about what I get out of going to work. This essay is about a classroom of toddlers I work with at a Montessori preschool. Not every day of work is quite so serene and awesome, but this is a glimpse of what my job does for me.
It is no secret that mornings are not my favorite. The untidiness of the rush to get out the door leaves me feeling irritable nearly every weekday. On Wednesdays, however, I am given the rare opportunity to purge myself of this prickly mood.
After dropping off my daughters at school and childcare, I arrive at the Toddler House at Cornerstone Montessori, a picturesque log cabin that houses ten children under the age of three. It is time for our weekly music class.
As soon as I enter the building, I am greeted with a chorus of sweet voices calling, “Hi Miss Stephanie!” In that moment, it doesn’t matter how little sleep I got the night before, or how frantic our morning has been. I forget all about the spilled milk and the hectic scramble the moment I sit down in the Circle.
The instant my body meets the floor, I find that I feel mysteriously rooted to the ground, and my spine seems to unravel itself, straightening higher as the rest of me relaxes. I look around the room at the toddlers, their eyes a tapestry of blues and browns, and it doesn’t matter that just five minutes ago I was counting down the hours until I would return home to tackle my seemingly insurmountable to-do list.
It is impossible not to be fully present with these small people.
When they begin to sing, “Hello, Stephanie,” the symphony of their tiny voices, filled with such zest, brings a smile to my face every single time. They shake their instruments so ingenuously, and each pair of eyes searches to meet mine.
I do not feel fully connected until I have had the opportunity to make eye contact with each child. Have you taken the time to really look into the eyes of a toddler lately? If you have, you may notice what a striking experience it is; they are able to gaze so deeply into your eyes, for much longer than adults find comfortable. I savor this uncommon encounter, as I feel it gives me a chance to truly connect with each child. It seems like an endless moment, where adult and child can join together in an energetic exchange.
For half an hour, I feel both peaceful and invigorated. After my music class with the toddlers, I feel renewed, like a layer of sluggishness and negativity has been peeled away. Their joy and affection has latched onto me, and I realize I have just spent thirty minutes completely focused on them, without the usual background clutter of my thoughts.
It is my job to teach music to these children- I get paid to come and work with them. And yet, it feels like a gift to spend this time with them each week, enjoying my space in the Circle immersed in authentic interaction with pure little beings.
It is both a gift and an invitation- an invitation to spend the rest of my day as present and mentally uncluttered as I was in the Circle.
So there you have it- a little snapshot of what I get to do at my day job. As coincidence would have it, I finished building a new website for my music classes this week! As usual, I have the unbelievably talented and patient Julie DeNeen of Fabulous Blogging to thank for it. She set me up and helped design my new site, Music With Miss Stephanie. If you have any interest in learning more about what I do, I’d love to invite you to drop by my new website!
OK, bloggers who are linking up- do your thing!
Your Finish the Sentence Friday Hosts:
Janine from Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic
Kate from Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine?
Dawn from Dawn’s Disaster
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Next week’s sentence is: “If I could live anywhere, I’d live…”
Love the new site, it rocks!! By the way, I taught 4 year olds in summer camp for a few years before I had my kids and will never forget how these kids just loved me and welcomed me each day. Was truly a great experience to be around them and could very much relate to what you were discussing here 🙂
Thanks Janine! It It is a great age to teach!
That was a beautiful description of what it’s like to work with kids, especially the little ones. I went to a Montessori until I was in 3rd grade. I have more memories of sitting in that circle (happy ones too) than of anything else we did in school. Also…”exfoliating butthole scrub” OMG.
Thank you! I was wondering if the “scrub” was too much… HA!
Wow. I didn’t know this about you. What an awesome job! And you are so right about how toddler can stare at you in the eyes for ages without looking away. I really love that. Thanks for sharing!!!
Thanks for reading Dani! Toddlers are pretty amazing. When they don’t suck, that is…
Your new site looks great – I do remember reading about your day job, but it was cool to get a peek into what you do. I love how you are so focused on those kids for 30 minutes – we all need some time like that in our lives, and you are fortunate that you can get paid for it too 🙂
Thanks Dana! Not every day is perfect, but I am grateful I enjoy it so much!
Reading stuff likes this makes me wonder whether I should work with kids someday instead of adults, even though I have always said I just. don’t. wan’t. to. sit. on. the. floor. all. day for years. You really make it sound fun though.. And, off-topic, your arms look great in that picture!
Ok, that arms comment made my day! For real. I am so happy you are joining us!
What a cool description of your experience! That’s so awesome that you love your job so much. I love that picture of you because the joy you have in the picture matches the joy you wrote about. Beautiful!
Thanks Kate! I totally loved your post!
I think having your job would be really cool! I went to school for Music Ed and ASL. I wanted to teach deaf children music…until I realized I hated other people’s kids…that put a damper on my plan.
That cracked me up Dawn! 😀
I totally got that sense of looking over your shoulder…that ‘be in the scene’ thing that is the drive behind the effort when ever I write a Post, or even write a Comment. To put the Reader in the reality, damn!
Music + Therapy ….I have trouble imagining any combination that would be more engaging, challenging and/or satisfying.
Clark, seriously, I am going to make up my own award for my thoughtful commenter and give it to you. As usual, that comment made my day. I may have to print it and save it. Thank you!
Oh, Stephanie! You made me tear up!
The way you describe your job and the way you connect with your students is just beautiful! Oh, how I wish my children would have been fortunate enough to be in one of your classes.
I loved all of the photos on your site! (I also now know you are a hair changer like me. I love it!)
Aw, thanks! And yes, it’s true, I am completely unable to be monogamous to a hairstyle! 😉
I love that you love your day job. I think it is so awesome that you not only get to enjoy your own girls, but that you get to rock other little one’s lives.
Thanks so much Kerri!
When you love teaching and really connect with kids, there’s no other job like it! And music is so powerful in the lives of little kids. I loved seeing a little bit about what you do….
Thanks Jessica! Not all days are easy, but I do love it!
A music therapist! How multi-talented you are! I taught science for 14 years and I know the feeling of connecting with learners and loving the subject matter. I still work in my lab in my dreams. Nice post!
Thanks Cheryl! I love learning more about everyone’s real lives!
That sounds so beautiful, you are truly blessed. And I am jealous, because I wish I had the focus to learn to play the guitar 🙂
Thank you so much! I will say this- I am a purely functional guitar player and if you ever take the time to learn, you can play hundreds of songs with just three chords! 😉
LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE… did I say I love what you do? 😉
Oh you are making me so happy today!!! xo
It’s so obvious how happy you are in that picture. I love it! Thank you for the shout out and I have to say – even though I’ve been a piano teacher for a decade, I struggle to be in love with teaching children. I think I’ve finally come to the conclusion that I am a hermit. Great post!
You are awesome, Stephanie! I’ve always felt that way around kids but it was kind of an undefined mushy general goodness that I never put into words. Last week I took Ben to a music appreciation class. I’ve noticed a toddler who was new to the class and it took him a while to open up. At first he was reserved and kept his distance but then he got involved and it didn’t take too long before he rested his hand trustfully on the teacher’s knee. I’ve noticed Ben do that before and it melts my heart every time I see that complete trust. Toddlers (and pre schoolers) are amazing.
How you’re able to sing, play the guitar, and make eye contact, all at the same time, is not only a mystery to me, but a miracle too.
Do you take requests? I could go for a little Alice in Chains if it isn’t too much trouble.
Hi Stephanie, I am glad to connect with a music therapist as I have a choir myself. Totally understand the fulfilling nature of the work and the therapeutic effect of music for the mind, body and soul. Thank you for sharing this one with us, which I am passing along!
You are so cool. I love that photo of you. You look amazing and happy and serene and awesome. I knew you were a music therapist, but for some reason it never occurred to me that you can play the guitar. I might love you even more now.
These days, I teach preschool one day a week. It is such a pain in my neck to go for those three hours, I often wonder why I do it. After reading this, I see you know how it feels. Once you get to the classroom, it all comes back. I love working with kids, just as you do. They do hold eye contact for a very, very long time. 🙂
Great post to help us know you better.
Love, loved, loved your post! So sweet!
Lovely post! This I can fully comprehend both as a lifelong teacher (57 years and counting – I mean as a teacher) and as an interpreter of music! (I actually studied piano for about 8 years, I read sheet music pretty well). I love music, I’ve been musical all my life. You are indeed blessed on all counts, you are teaching, you are making music and you are making contact with some of the world’s innocents! No malice involved at all, wonderful! I salute you from the bottom of my heart! May you ever persevere!
I love how much you enjoy your job! I am sure the kids feel your enthusiasm!