mom guilt if you do, guilt if you don’t.

June 25, 2015

I never imagined myself as a mom who stays at home.

I mean, it always seemed like a really nice option, especially during the years when I was waking up at five in the morning to take a shower, get ready, and drive an hour to work, teach all day, drive an hour back home, go to class until eight or nine at night, study and write until midnight, and then toss and turn to sleep and do it all again the next day, with Diet Dr. Pepper as my fuel. Even though I loved my work and was (and remain) passionate about it, it’s true that in those days, getting married, having a mess of babies, and staying home with them all day sometimes seemed like the real brass ring, a distant, unreachable dream much further beyond my grasp than any other goal.

But realistically, I always expected to be a “working mom,” in the sense of having a nine-to-five job outside of my home. Given the seemingly endless hours of blood, sweat, and tears that I put into my education and my résumé throughout my twenties, it was difficult to conceive of a reality for me that did not consist of academia, research, conferences, classrooms, the desperate scramble for a tenure-track position, and generally doing my best to sound like I knew what I was talking about.

This is where I have to pause and just say, for the record, that I despise the vernacular that surrounds this issue of mothers working outside the home and such. I really, really hate the way we talk about these things, because as it stands, our discourse is inevitably wrapped up not only in sexism, but also in privilege, classism, and even racism. But on a very basic level, the terms “stay-at-home mom” and “working mom” are belittling to all moms. And I hate them. But I will use them, because in this day and age, that’s how we talk about these things.

Anyway, I sort of fell into stay-at-home motherhood without really thinking too much about it. When I first arrived in Riyadh, I was offered a couple of different jobs, but the plan was to settle in and write my dissertation, a piece of unfinished business that haunts me to this day as I plod stubbornly toward its completion. Within a few months, I was pregnant, and although this was not unwelcome news by any means, it was…let’s just say, surprising. Before I knew it, I was the mother of a little pumpkin named Lavender, and she was nursing on demand, and she was taking her naps curled up in my arms whenever possible, and the idea of sending her to daycare so that I could take an outside job seemed unnecessary at best and well, a bit mean at worst, especially since I had no particular desire to decrease the time I spent nursing Lavender and wearing Lavender and holding Lavender while she slept, and, alhamdulillah, we were not in a position where it was necessary for me to have an outside job in order to ensure our family’s survival.

Fast forward to today. I’m still, shall we say, a stay-at-home mom. I work online here and there, but I’m at home with Lavender while Mr. Mostafa leaves the house to go to work. And perhaps surprisingly, I’m really happy. In some ways, I want to work outside of the home; I have dreams outside of motherhood, even though motherhood will always be tied up in my dreams, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. And I tried to get back in the classroom…but in the end, it didn’t work. Lavender wanted to be with her mom…and that was okay with me. I wanted to be with her, too.  And even when I was gone for only four hours a day, it was just heart wrenching on those evenings when Mr. Mostafa would pick me up with Lavender strapped into her car seat in the back, and she would scream and cry and writhe to be let out of her car seat so her mommy could hold her and feed her and I just felt like the worst mother in the world, and not a great teacher either, because even as I delighted in lesson planning and staff meetings, I was stressing about Lavender. Thanks to my wonderful mother-in-law, I knew she was warm, safe, snuggled, and loved while I was away from her, but I still worried…was she sad? Was she upset? Was she wondering where I was? Did she think I had abandoned her? And then I would get home, and when she saw me, instead of smiling and crawling to me, she would burst into tears and crawl to me, as if to say, “I thought you were never, ever coming back! Don’t you ever leave again!”

So…I stay at home. I get Lavender out of bed when she wakes up in the morning. I put her down for her nap. I am up with her at night when she can’t sleep. We play during the day. When I brush my teeth, she brushes her teeth and when I spit in the sink, she spits in the sink. I sit her on the potty and we chat while we wait for business to happen. We work little toddler puzzles and we draw and we work on using crayons only on the paper and we eat snacks. Sometimes we meet friends for breakfast or a playdate. Occasionally we make a craft. We read books. And I write. And I read. And I study. And I work. All while Lavender strews toys all over the house. I’m cool with all of that. We’re basically a package deal, Lavender and me.

IMG 2711 750x500 mom guilt if you do, guilt if you dont.

It’s such a weird position to be in. For many, staying at home is a position of privilege–I don’t have to work in a job outside the home and I know that my child and I will still have food to eat, a bed to sleep in, a roof over our heads. At the same time, it’s a position that many look down upon–“What do you do all day?” “Aren’t you worried that you’re wasting your education?”

I don’t really know how I feel about it, other than I’m happy. Sometimes I feel guilty for being happy about it, though.

Why is there always guilt?

I can’t figure out if we do it to ourselves or if the rest of the world does it to us. Probably it’s a combination of both.

My mom was not a stay-at-home mom; she went back to work right at six weeks after I was born, and I went to a babysitter until I was about seven, when we switched over to a regular daycare. My childhood was absolutely magical. I always knew my mom was coming back for me, and while she worked, I played. During the summers, our daycare took us roller skating, swimming, bowling. We went to the library (and if I’m being honest, library day was probably my favorite day). I never felt my mom’s absence during the day; she had her job, and I had mine. Yes, the rare days when my mom was home when we got off the school bus were a special treat for me, and I often wished I could have more of them. But overall, my mom and dad gave my brother and I the most amazing childhood a kid could ask for. We were spoiled rotten, and loved even more.

Still, my mom always felt guilty. She always felt like she was missing things…although I never felt that at all. She used to tell me that if I could, I should be a stay-at-home mom while my children were tiny, I should, lest I become a mother who feels like she is missing out on things, too.

Why the guilt?

While pregnant and after I had Lavender, I felt guilty for not working, for wasting the education and experience that I’d devoted so much of my time, effort, and money into building. Then when I started working, I felt guilty for leaving Lavender.

Why?

Recently, an article has been flying all over my Facebook newsfeed, shared by both the news sites I follow and by many of the moms I am friends with. Lots of high-fiving is going on…a lot of, “See, we’re not terrible mothers after all! We’re okay!”

But I always knew working moms were okay. It never crossed my mind that they weren’t. I was raised by one.

I can’t lie; every time I see this article, my heart hurts a little. And I think, “Oh, my God, am I crippling Lavender’s ambition for life? Will she be willing to accept inequality in her relationships because of the choices I am making in how I mother her? If I have a son, will he grow up in to a monstrous husband and a distant father who is useless in his home because I stayed home with him?” And then I feel horrible because I know that the judgment that I feel when I see this article is only a tiny microcosm of the judgment that working moms have had to face throughout the years, not to mention the logistical difficulties of being a working mom (having to find childcare when a kid is sick, having to discern whether or not the sickness merits taking a day off, missing class parties, etc.).

There is never a right way to mother. When one group of us moms gets a pat on the back, the rest of us feel like we’re failures. It feels like there are never enough pats on the back to go around for us moms.

But there’s always a right way to father.

See? Father isn’t even a verb in English! You can always mother. You can’t father. I mean, you can. But when you father a child, all you do is have sex, and you’re done. Child fathered.

English, you sexist asshole.

To be a good dad, all a man has to do is go to work, provide for his family, and avoid being abusive. That’s literally all a man has to do in order for society, all over the world, to regard and remember him as fulfilling his duties as a parent. Anything extra is adorable…and we moms are expected to feel lucky to have it.

I don’t understand why I, and so many of the other moms I know, let myself fall victim to the guilt monster, especially since I’m so acutely aware of how grounded in sexism the whole debate is. I know stay-at-home moms who are tremendously wonderful mothers. I know working moms (like my own mom) who are tremendously wonderful mothers. We all fulfill our duties as mothers every day. Why is there this underlying societal current of need to pit us against one another, when we’re all in the leaky rowboat that is motherhood together? Pulling others down in order to grab at the glory for ourselves isn’t going to help keep us afloat. It’s going to make us all sink faster. We have to bail the judgment out of our leaky rowboat, or it’s going to capsize.

When we dismiss the judgment that we secretly harbor against one another, it helps us all. And when we don’t, it hurts us all. Because men aren’t having this debate. Men aren’t wrestling with these questions. Men aren’t wasting their time with this crap. Men aren’t letting themselves be weighed down by guilt, and they’re better equipped to reach for their dreams, whatever they may be, because they’re not carrying that burden. We need to have that same determination for ourselves, whether it manifests itself in staying home with kids, being at a job every morning at nine, or some combination of the two that hasn’t really gained mainstream recognition or acceptance yet, which is totally where I am.

Whatever your path is, Mom, you are doing a good job. You are exactly the mom your little ones need. Keep on keepin’ on. I know I am.

his and hers friends.

June 18, 2015

One thing about Saudi culture that is tremendously, unavoidably different from American culture is that in a marriage, there is often, if not usually, no such thing as a mutual friend group. The husband will have his group of (male) friends, and the wife will have her group of (female) friends, and rarely do the groups interact. Like, most of the time, the wife of a Saudi guy is not going to sit around with her husband and his friends while they watch a soccer game, and and a wife is highly unlikely to sit her husband down with her friends and have them evaluate him (as is, of course, practically a rite of passage in the States. If you like a guy, you have to run him by your friends and get their opinion).

Like most Saudi husbands, mine doesn’t know most of my friends well, especially the friends I have here in Riyadh. He knows of them, because I tell him about them (not like, incredibly detailed life stories, but general facts). And he does personally know several of them, because, unlike many Saudi men, he is usually (albeit grudgingly) willing to do group dates and things like that (like, every once in awhile he will go out for dinner with me and my friends and their husbands). But there are quite a few of my friends whom he has never met at all.

I don’t know his friends, either—we’ve been together for seven years and married for almost four, and in that time, I have met precisely one of his friends. I met that friend when Mr. Mostafa and I were on our first trip to New York together—the friend was also in New York, on a business trip. Saleh said that he could trust this friend to meet me; he’d known him since kindergarten.

On one hand, I was excited to finally meet a friend of Saleh’s. On the other, having learned a little bit about Saudi culture, I was worried; if he was really serious about me, why was he letting his friend meet me at all? At that point, I knew a bit about the Saudi belief in the ayn, the evil eye; I found myself thinking, “Does he not think I’m pretty/smart/funny enough for his friend to envy him? What does this mean for us?” Still, I reasoned that he knew what he was doing, and he did seem at least somewhat nervous about letting his friend meet me—he seemed to regard it as a necessary down side to the otherwise awesome experience of taking a trip to New York with me.

IMGP9389 750x501 his and hers friends.

(Side note: this photo, and a few others, including a couple selfies we took in this same time and place–dusk in Central Park, if you’re wondering–are the only photos I have of this trip. I have no clue why I didn’t take more. But I do know that I regret it, because that was a nice little trip.)

We had a bit of trouble finding the guy where we were supposed to meet him; New York is a busy place (duh), and the crowds were huge. But finally, at one point, as we were crossing a street at a bustling intersection, I realized I was walking alone. I turned around to see Saleh and his friend shaking hands and hugging and cheek kissing in the typical Saudi greeting routine, all while they both jabbered in Arabic, and all in the middle of the intersection.

I hurried back to them and placed my hand on Saleh’s arm. “Um, you guys…?” I said, pointing to the traffic signal, which was now on a solid “Don’t Walk.”

So I got them out of the intersection before they got run over by a herd of taxis, and then I was introduced to the friend. We went to dinner at a little Turkish restaurant on the Upper East Side. The guys talked about business and financial things, and Saleh was interested in hearing about the training sessions on Wall Street that his friend’s company had sent him to attend. After that, we walked around Times Square a bit, as is pretty much a legal obligation when visiting New York. (Yes, even for super cool anti-tourists…even though we are neither super cool nor anti-tourists.)

When Saleh and I were ready to go back to our hotel, we went with his friend back to his hotel room for a few minutes, because he was going to give Saleh some of the materials that he’d received at his training. Once we stepped into the hotel room, the friend grabbed some papers and booklets and handed them over to Saleh, and then he motioned toward the minibar and said, “Are you thirsty? Hungry?”

Mr. Mostafa politely declined, but the friend grabbed a bottle of Volvic water and a Swiss chocolate bar and shoved them into my hands. I was impressed and horrified; I was raised with the understanding that hotel minibars are equipped with NASA-developed motion sensors and thus your hands must not come within two feet of any item in a minibar or you will be required to sign over the rights to your firstborn child before you are permitted to check out. In other words, in my world, hotel minibar items were not to be touched. For any reason.

Old habits die hard; I still feel that way about hotel minibars, although when we travel, Mr. Mostafa will partake in the very occasional minibar splurge. But grabbing random treats from the minibar to give our friends, as a gesture of goodwill? Nope. Neither of us are on board with that. Sorry, friends. If you ever happen to visit us in a hotel room, help yourself to the miniature toiletries, but we’re not about to defy space technology for the honor of giving up our firstborn for you. (We kinda like her.)

Anyway, Saleh and I thanked him. They shook hands and said goodbye. The next day, Saleh and I flew back to Missouri. On the drive home from Kansas City, I happened to glance over at his left hand on the steering wheel. In those days, we both wore rings on our left ring fingers, which represented our commitment, even though we weren’t married yet. I know engagement rings for men aren’t the cool thing, but God love Mr. Mostafa, he willingly wore his everywhere. It wasn’t expensive; just a simple titanium band with our initials engraved on the inside. But it was important to both of us.

And that’s why when I looked over and saw no ring on his hand, I gasped, “Where’s your ring?”

“Holy shit,” Saleh said. He pulled the car over and began to search underneath the seats. As he did so, he growled, “I knew it was a mistake. I knew it, I knew it, I knew it. I knew I shouldn’t have let him meet you. He envied me. I knew something like this was going to happen. That bastard gave me the ayn.”

In the end, we tracked down the ring at a Backyard Burgers just outside of Kansas City, where we had stopped to grab something to eat on our way home. It was found there and turned in, and we were able to get it back. But since then, I haven’t met any more of Mr. Mostafa’s friends.

I’m cool with that. It’s a cultural thing. He prefers not to meet my friends, either, but like I said, he’ll occasionally agree to go out for dinner with me, a friend of mine, and her husband. It tends to make him uncomfortable, and it’s not his favorite thing to do (at least, not here in Saudi Arabia. In the States, it’s different; outings consist of my very closest friends and family members, people who have been a major part my life for years, if not decades. He knows those occasions are part of the deal, for better or worse, and that by extension, those people are part of his life now, too). But he’ll do it because he gets that for me, it’s also a cultural thing. I need that bit of what I intrinsically regard as normalcy. And luckily, most of the time, he actually ends up enjoying himself.

toddler app love.

June 11, 2015

Here’s a confession nearly tantamount to literally having a skeleton in a closet: we are not, and never have been, a “no screen time” family. Lavender has been exposed to children’s TV shows since before she was a year old. We’ve never encourage her to just park herself in front of the TV, but when she was smaller and would throw a fit when she had to sit in her car seat, we consistently chose to load an episode of Peppa Pig on an iPhone for her rather than let her cry herself sick. To this day, even as an educator, I’ve never felt bad about that. She also loves Bubble Guppies, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Doc McStuffins, and Super Why! In Arabic, she loves In the Night Garden, Special Agent Oso, and Jake and the Neverland Pirates (which show on Baraem, the Arabic preschool channel…nowadays, they’re also showing Doc McStuffins in Arabic, and she loves it in both languages). Again, we don’t park her in front of the TV for hours at a time, but if she’s playing like a madwoman around bedtime, I’ll put on an episode and sit in the rocking chair with her to wind her down. Or if she is having a fussy day, sometimes a treat and a show and some snuggles are all it takes to calm her down again.

Despite research that suggests that children don’t retain anything from television prior to the age of two, my personal experience has demonstrated otherwise. One time, when Lavender was about 18 months old, we were out and about and we came across a puzzle of farm animals, and as I was pointing to the animals and saying their names, she pointed to the horse and announced, “Neigh! Neigh!” I looked at her, shocked; I hadn’t taught her that. Then she pointed to a cow and said, “Moo! Moo!” And let me tell you, I felt like a failure as a mother. Because Bubble Guppies had taught my child animal sounds.

So, yeah. We watch TV in our house. But beyond TV, we also use apps with Lavender. A lot. Usually not when we’re at home, but when we’re traveling, absolutely. She has her own iPod Touch (which used to belong to me, but got transitioned to toddler use), and let me tell you, it was a godsend when we were traveling to and from the other side of the world. Not to mention on our cross-country road trip. And when she does use apps at home, she’s usually sitting in either my or Mr. Mostafa’s lap, and we’re interacting with her about what she’s doing or watching…and research has shown that such experiences, academically referred to as joint media engagement, can make screen time beneficial for kids.

Again, I don’t care what anyone says…apps are wonderful. “But Nicole,” you might say. “Steve Jobs didn’t let his kids play with iPads!” True. But that doesn’t mean that such tech is necessarily completely bad for little ones.  Steve Jobs was undoubtedly a man of ridiculous genius, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t have been a bit shortsighted when it comes to the technology he unleashed on the world. Can you imagine Johannes Gutenberg saying, “Yeah, I invented the printing press, but I don’t let my kids play with books”? He probably would have said that, actually. Because when the printing press was invented, folks were alarmed and worried that civilization was headed on a massive downslide because no one would memorize anything anymore. When the radio was invented, everyone worried that no one would read books anymore. You see how this has historically gone down, right?

So, yeah. This is the world we live in. That being said, apps should never, ever replace books and the experience of reading to your children, and it’s important that parents are involved with their children’s media consumption, rather than just sitting them down with a device for hours on end. (And quite frankly, we adults shouldn’t be sitting in front of devices for hours on end, either.) And because of apps, Lavender can already identify letters (I haven’t sat her down and quizzed her on all of them, but when I’ve asked her to name a letter in a book or on a sign or something, I’ve yet to point to a letter that she can’t name). She can identify numbers, colors, and shapes. She’s working on learning the Arabic alphabet now, as well. Despite my background in education, I didn’t sit her down and teach her these things. All I’ve done is read books to her…and I reviewed apps, loaded them onto her iPod, and handed her iPod to her when she was having a meltdown about having to sit in her car seat or stand in an airport security line. That’s it. I feel confident that her time spent on the apps we’ve chosen for her is not in any way wasted. As I’ve pointed out, research is starting to back that up, as well.

So, if you’re interested, here are the apps we keep on Lavender’s iPod. Especially since it’s summertime and that means lots of traveling, this list may come in handy.

20 learning apps 750x500 toddler app love.

I think this is a great selection for toddlers on up to around preschool age (Lavender started really interacting with apps at around 18 months or so. It will depend on your child). Of course, as with anything, moderation is key. At home, she’s usually so busy playing with me or her baba or with other toys that she doesn’t think about her iPod much. And I tend to limit heavy use of the iPod to car trips, restaurants, and other times when it can be asking a whole lot of a toddler to expect her to sit still.

First Words Deluxe. There is a free version of this, but it’s well worth the five bucks to buy the full app. This is the first spelling app that Lavender ever used, and I love it because it can grow with her. At first, I had it set to only phonetic, three letter words; now I’ve changed it to the random setting so that she spells words of various lengths. You can also set it so that the child has to place the letters in the order they are spelled in the word; I haven’t done that yet. It’s a great app to start out teaching little ones the concepts of spelling and letter placement, because when the child moves a letter anywhere near the correct spot, it automatically sucks the letter into its place. It’s a great precursor app for…

Endless AlphabetEndless Alphabet is a much cuter, more colorful, more creatively developed app than First Words Deluxe, but it’s also a pretty simple, straightforward app; for each word, you move the letters to their correct place in the word. It’s a bit more difficult than First Words Deluxe, because the words are more complex, and the child has to move the letter to its place and drop it where it’s supposed to go. But Lavender prefers it over First Words Deluxe, because as you move the letters, they yell out either their names or the sounds they make in a very silly way. (To be honest, my mom and Mr. Mostafa both find this entertaining, as well.) Like First Words Deluxe, there is a free version, but it’s totally worth it to spring for the paid version (you get all the words, plus automatic updates as they add new words).

Endless 123. This app is designed with the same aesthetic as Endless Alphabet, but it teaches numbers in various ways. It has kids count in different sequences (twos, threes, tens, etc.), and it also has them complete math problems by moving letters and symbols (plus, minus, etc.) to the correct place in an equation. The free version only goes up to 5; the full version (called the “School Edition”) goes up to 100. Definitely worth it.

Endless Reader. Have you caught on that we love the Endless apps? They’re made by Originator, Inc., and everything they make is worth a download. Not even kidding. They have a free version of all their apps, and although the paid version of their apps can be salty, we’ve found them to be worth it. Endless Reader is the most expensive one (the “School Edition” costs $30, unless you buy it in a bundle with other full versions of their apps). It’s a whole lot like Endless Alphabet, except after the child spells the word, the app then offers a sentence using the word and asks the child to place words in the correct place in the sentence. Lavender has been working through the words and sentences in the free version, so even though it’s a hefty chunk of change (I mean, for an app), we’ll be pulling the trigger on the “School Edition” soon. There’s also an Endless Spanish app that is just like Endless Reader…except, you know, it’s in Spanish. We just downloaded that one a few days ago.

YouTube KidsThis is a version of YouTube that is specifically designed for kids–no ads, no questionable content, which means you can let your little one scroll through the options and choose for themselves without worrying they’ll stumble upon something you’d prefer they not see. It requires wifi, so it’s mostly limited to naptime/bedtime for us.

YouTube. Even though YouTube Kids is much more kid-friendly when it comes to letting your child navigate the app and choose what they want to watch, regular ol’ YouTube is also a really terrific source for children’s videos, and it’s worth a download, as well. If Lavender isn’t watching something on the Super Simple Learning channel, she’s watching something on playlists curated by Mr. Mostafa and me. Mostly, those playlists are full of clips we loved watching as kids and really want her to appreciate, too…especially old Sesame Street sketches (a couple of Mr. Mostafa’s favorites are here and here; if you grew up watching Sesame Street in English, you might recognize them. As for me, I’m really partial to Jelly Man Kelly and A-B-C-Cookie Monster! Luckily, Lavender seems to love them as much as we do). Like YouTube Kids, this app requires a wifi connection.

PBS Kids. Like the YouTube apps, this app also only works when your device is connected to wifi, so it’s mostly a bedtime app. It shows ad-free episodes of some of Lavender’s favorite shows, like Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Super Why.

Fisher Price Storybook Rhymes. There are six different Fisher Price Storybook Rhymes apps, and one in Spanish. We have them all (some are free, some are paid apps). Each app presents two different nursery rhymes in sections where kids can follow along with the words and turn the page on their own. Lavender has loved them for ages. They’re simple, tried, and true.

Little People Player. I hate the title of this app. That being said, it has several little song videos with the Little People characters (you know, Little People is a set of toys from Fisher Price) that Lavender loves, and I don’t mind letting her watch them because the songs are just adorable and have a good message. Like, “It’s great being silly!” And, “You don’t have to be a girl to twirl, twirl, twirl…spin, spin, spin, and do it all again! You don’t have to be a boy to jump for joy…jump, jump, jump, jump in!” Yeah. I like that. Also, even though this app is all videos, you don’t need a wifi connection for it.

Daniel Tiger’s Day & NightLavender loves Daniel Tiger, and I don’t blame her. It’s such a cute, sweet show! In this app, you get to help Daniel go through his morning and bedtime routines. Lavender’s favorite thing to do is help Daniel tie his shoes and help him brush his teeth.

My First Alphabet PhonicsThis is a great, straightforward little app for learning to write both uppercase and lowercase letters.

Little WriterThis is another lovely tracing app, with the same concept as My First Alphabet Phonics, except that kids can trace numbers, shapes, and words, in addition to uppercase and lowercase letters.

Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This App! Do you know the Pigeon books, by Mo Willems? If not, go buy them. Now. (In fact, go by anything by Mo Willems.) Because they are wonderful. They’re simple and brilliant and Lavender loves them. And go buy this app, too, because in it, you get to make your own Pigeon stories.

Now, obviously, these are all English apps (and a few Spanish). However, we do have several Arabic apps on Lavender’s iPod, as well. These were vetted by Mr. Mostafa to ensure that they teach at least reasonably native-sounding Arabic (because, well…a lot of Arabic learning apps don’t).

Zee’s AlphabetThis app teaches Arabic letters, in addition to vocabulary words that begin with that letter. I like the music, too. It’s very jaunty.

Learn Arabic Shapes & Colors GamePretty self-explanatory, right? It’s simple and fun!

Learn Arabic Numbers GameMade by the same developers as Learn Arabic Shapes & Colors game, this app follows the same concept. Except this teaches both Arabic and English letters. Pretty great! (Especially for me, because even though my Arabic is getting stronger every day, I still get Arabic numbers mixed up! I think my brain is just not wired for math, in any language.)

Fun Arabic Learning for Kids & Toddlers. This is the Arabic app that Lavender spends the most time with, hands down. She especially loves the Arabic letter puzzles. Some of the sections require you to pay (colors and other vocabulary), but others (letters and shapes) are free. Either way, it’s definitely worth a download!

So, there you have it. These are the apps that are currently on the front home screen of Lavender’s iPod. I’m sure the lineup will change over time, and probably sooner rather than later. But for now, these are the apps that keep her entertained…and learning!