14 October 2013

writing and things to accomplish pre-8am

some time ago, i read mel stating that learning programming would help her to write, as it required one to be logical and precise, which was important in story writing too. this is true of not just writing fiction, but non fiction as well. tight, concise and logical writing can never go wrong.

today i read this piece, with 10 writing tips. the author is apparently the chair of the polsci dept at duke, which i found a little surprising. why? because his writing is not all that great, although his tips are very useful. and also, because he seems to have low standards, for both others, and himself. many of the comments to his piece also pick up on this.. 

writing a research paper is darn important. for me, my undergrad years were marked by my improved writing, research and analytical skills. this, to me anyways, is the entire point of a university education. it teaches you to think, to critique and to express your thoughts and findings. these skills will then serve you for the rest of your life, in whatever field you choose. those of us who have had to research topics online, and vet our sources, can now unerringly tell which website is useful when we want to google any information. i have come across many people who have not had this benefit, and continue to think that everything found on yahoo answers or from the christian science monitor is gospel. these skills allow you to pick up on the differences in news from different news channels/stations/papers and form informed opinions. 

writing a good research paper requires you to read widely. this is good practice for life in general i think; reading is so very important. literature, nonfiction, poetry, prose, news reports, analytical articles, reviews, academic papers, personal narratives, court judgments -all of this gives you a better picture of the world you live in, it opens eyes and doors and minds to so much diversity. 

at one of my first polsci classes, a professor mentioned an american president who apologized to his staff for writing a long memo, as he didn’t have the time to write a short one. this is something that has stayed with me throughout graduate school and beyond. writing a shorter article means you have to be more concise, which in turn means you have to know your material well. i want an education for the twins that encourages reading, writing and critical thinking. i worry that this is not so easy to come by here.. 

i too, am guilty of no longer ‘practicing’ my writing, of no longer reading as much.. i need to organize these components into my schedule.. 

speaking of schedules, i read this article on things to accomplish before 8am. sigh. i need to make my own list (starting small, of course), and really get things going. although i don’t get to bed till midnight as one or the other of the twins is still up, and although i have to wake up several times at night to soothe them, waking up late is not helping me. i have too many things i need to get done in the day.. and too many things that are simply not happening. exercise, even if only a simple stretching routine, is definitely a priority (my knees are killing me these days). praying namaz and quran is another priority. perhaps i could even squeeze in some writing and reading! sure, i could add household chores to my list too (which would perhaps make my MIL and hubby happy), but that would be a little too ambitious at this stage i think.. 

so, exercise and prayer will be my pre-8am goals! let's see how i go..

11 October 2013

twins september

this was a month of milestones and firsts.. 

both of you walk now! not with a whole lot of balance, but i'm sure you'll get there soon enough. the expressions on your faces are priceless as you totter about. you started the month by walking on your knees, particularly if you were holding something in your hand, which was hilarious. the day m learnt to stand on his own, he kept getting up after falling; it was a wonder to watch. may you always have this much energy, may you always learn to get up after a fall. 

we bought you your first pair of shoes this month, oh so excitedly, and they are so cute, but you are not so enamored of them, and spend more energy trying to kick them off than attempting to walk in them. 

i am so glad that you finally drink milk from the advanced sipper i bought you many months ago, and your bottles have stopped. there are still some bumps but we will get there inshallah.. you have also started drinking water from a straw, yay! i have noticed that with the bottle gone, you wake up less at night, which is manna from heaven to this sleep deprived mom!! i just hope and pray this continues, inshallah!! on the other hand, cleaning your bottles was MUCH easier than cleaning your sipper valves, argh. 

i am amazed how for some days you don’t know how to do something, and then suddenly you have figured it out. like getting down from the bed, playing with certain toys etc. your capacity to observe and learn and your persistence is inspiring. 

a started the month with vocab consisting of bum tum ba, mum ba, mum tum -as he insistently chanted this, he sounds like some passionate hindu ascetic! he also loves to say ‘baa baa’, occasionally followed by a mumbled ‘bla shee’, as well as ‘juuuulaaaa’ (swing). 

although you eat a greater variety of food now (roti, meat, cereal, pasta) feeding you is becoming more painful and time consuming, as you absolutely refuse to sit in one place during meal times. you are finally getting the hang of putting bits of food in your mouth with your own hands, yay. you have also made the switch from formula to cow milk, albeit with some bumps. you won't drink it without some flavour, which i was not keen on initially, but hey, there are worse things i guess.. 

you had your first feel of grass this month, and initially both of you refused to put your hands on it, because of the prickliness i guess. you began moving around on your knees, with your arms held out to your sides, it was hilarious. m got used to it quickly, and was suddenly crawling off on his own, and then standing up and trying to walk, without a care as to where we were! 

we hung up a swing at home at the beginning of this month, and it is nice to see you both enjoying it, albeit for short periods of time. it occasionally puts you to sleep as well, which is always a bonus.