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Morbid Boy

Remember that one time I severely underestimated how long it would take me to read the section on Reason in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit and ended up having to pull several twelve-hour days? Now that I know how insane this semester really is, I think I’m going to just bake those long days into my schedule. Believe it or not, I’m looking forward to it–when long days are the result of planning rather than necessity, I imagine they’ll be much less stressful. This was also the first week in which I tried out the Harvard Law School gymnasium–I’m a fan. They don’t have any kettle bells heavier than 50 lbs, though, which is a bit of a drag. Kettle bell dead-lifts are the only kind I know how to do!

Mike keeps working and picking up as much slack around here as  he can. He’s got some travel coming up and he’s still stressed about this PPI project that never dies. I can’t get much more detail than that out of him, stoic that he is. Whenever I try, he tells me to go do homework.

Can I tell you my new favorite story about Jared? Last Sunday, as we were walking to church, Jared burst into a cheery, good-natured song, the lyrics of which were decidedly neither cheery nor good-natured:

You are not nice.
You are not beautiful.
You are not old.
You are not a dinosaur.
You are just dying.

What’s even better is that none of the lines were meant to be insulting or derogatory–they were matter-of-fact appraisals of his audience’s lack of benevolence, good looks, age, and saurian qualities.

Of course, earlier that week, Rebekah’s anxieties about death had resurfaced, so she was definitely not a fan of this cheery reminder of her mortality. Jared was happy to revamp the lyrics, however, and started singing songs to Rebekah about how death is okay because of Resurrection, and then about how she’ll get to die with friends, each time asking “Do you like that song, Rebekah?” (She did not.)

We got lots of pictures from preschool, again, along with some fun paragraphs that try to work up “playing with a dump truck” and “looking at bugs” into developmental experiences. May you all engage in some quality sociodramatic play this week!

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Feels Like Fall

My week was spent wrestling my schedule into a manageable shape. Between a seminar paper on Hegel, a last-minute scheduling snafu that left me scrambling to find a third class, the slew of relief society meetings I have as we welcome new people in the ward, and switching up my gym membership and routine, it’s been busy. I think I got everything squared away. Only time will tell. In the meanwhile, my week ended on a high note when I got word that I’d received a grant from the Maxwell Institute to help me purchase textbooks this year!

I’ve also got a paid job this semester, which is a new and strange acquaintance with the world of capitalism. I’m going through everything ever published in Mormonism, looking for references to Adam and Eve. This week that’s taken me through the Woman’s Exponent and part of the Journal of Discourses. Eve is a pretty ambiguous figure in early Mormon discourse, as it turns out–that is, when anyone pays any attention to her.

Believe it or not, I have some pictures for you to represent the academic side of my life. A few weeks ago, we gathered all the LDS students at the Div School for dinner and conversation, and someone managed to snap a few pictures on Zach’s couch. It seems everyone else has been as busy as I have, because these pictures have been a couple weeks in coming.

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The kids’ week involved lots of outdoor exploration with their preschool class. They finally managed to make it to the farmer’s market and also spent time at one of their regular haunts, “pebble park” (an enclosed semi-landscaped area with lots of gravel).

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Jared’s face in this picture makes up for his face last week.

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Oh! And I think I have old pictures to show you, too. I made applesauce with the kids a few weeks ago since we had particularly lovely apples from our farmshare. Jared didn’t have quite the fine motor ability to safely maneuver a knife while I snapped a picture, but Rebekah did great.

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This twin thing is actually pretty great. They each have a built-in friend to entertain them while their overly-busy parents abandon them to serial neglect. Imaginary bus rides to the rescue!

Mike’s schedule is slowly returning to normal, now that he has the bulk of his PPI project out of the way. He’s still getting calls from recruiters trying to poach him for other engineering companies. Turns out he’s got a popular skill set.

To conclude our week, we scheduled some one-on-one time with the kids. Mike and Jared went to the Natural History Museum and then to Star Market for donuts and M&Ms. Rebekah and I went to Target to do some fall clothes’ shopping, and then across the street to Burger King to get a slurpee. Then we waited at the bus stop and got yelled at by one of the resident homeless men in Somerville. He made Rebekah a little nervous, but it allowed us to have a conversation about people who are different. And it turns out that when we got home we could continue the conversation because Jared and Mike had watched the opening sequence to The Hunchback of Notre Dame. (I  wouldn’t have known about it except that Jared kept tunelessly singing “who is a monster and a man? Who is a monster and a man?”) A successful day all in all, I think.

Fall is palpably just around the corner, and I am ecstatic. I forget, every year, how excited I am for autumn. We’ll have to make another trip to Target next month so I can ritually hang out in the Halloween aisle. I still need to schedule out this year’s collection of Halloween movies and find some preschooler crafts to do on weekends. It should be blissful. Until then, y’all.

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First Week. Plus Hospital.

This will have to be fast, because this is the most insane weekend of the year to date. How about a semi-quick recap and then a bunch of photos, okay? Okay.

My kids are so big. Nothing reveals this quite like the first day of a new school year. They switched to a new classroom at their preschool, complete with new teachers and some new classmates. Rebekah was pretty reluctant on the first day, so we talked about change and giving things time. By the next day, however, she announced that she liked being “a red door kid.” Their first week has included: making their own nametags, going to the farmer’s market and (when it turned out the farmer’s market was cancelled for that day) playing in the giant market tent, pretending to smooth out a sidewalk with a toy dump truck, and drawing self-portraits (not pictured, but I’m dying to see what my kids came up with).

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Jared’s face is perfection.

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Want to know what else big kids can do? Read. Mike was working crazy hours for the first half of the week and got home at midnight on Monday, so Tuesday morning when it was time for my run, I laid out the kids’ kindles in the hopes that they would be absorbed by electronics when they woke up and didn’t wake up their dad. And then. I wrote a note to Jared. It said: “Dear Jared, Yes! You can play your kindles! Love, mom.”

Two things about this are wonderful: 1) My child can read. I can leave notes for my child. 2) Jared may be able to read, but he doesn’t yet understand the format of letters. He took my valediction as an imperative. When Mike woke up and found Jared reading the note (so much for my plan) he overheard Jared say: “Oh! I do love mom!”

I started classes on Wednesday. This semester will be a doozy–three classes, one audited class, working, applying for PhD programs, and maintaining a calling in the Relief Society presidency–but I think I’ve structured everything to be manageable. First week is always fun–the excitement of a new semester, without the full workload. But then I also volunteered myself to write our first seminar paper in my Hegel class, so my Labor Day weekend has turned into an intensive introduction to the Phenomenology of Spirit. Oh well.

And then, as if our first week wasn’t exciting enough, we wrapped it up with a trip to the emergency room. I think we can officially declare the winner of “most hospital-prone in the Berkey family.” We were meeting with our homeless friend Hilton for dinner in Franklin Park at a playground. Rebekah was standing near the gate when a ten-year-old kid slammed into her at a dead sprint. She fell and hit her head really hard against the asphalt, and then just lay there, not moving. Mike got there faster than I did and picked her up. She was completely limp, completely stunned, and whimpering. What with the not-moving and then being so limp and floppy, I figured we’d better call 911, so we moved her to a nearby hillside and lay her down while we waited for the ambulance to arrive. A hispanic woman and her daughter hovered over us (the daughter translating) while Hilton fed Jared chips. Rebekah started to get a bit better over the next few minutes, but we still didn’t want to risk anything and had the EMTs drive us to the hospital. This involved wrestling our non-collapsible beat-up stroller into the back of the ambulance with the rest of us, but we made it work.

Rebekah was pretty freaked out, though considering the pain and trauma of getting stitches on her last ER visit, I’m not surprised. When we finally arrived and the nurse told her “everything I’m going to do doesn’t hurt,” she clearly felt a lot better. Doctors checked her out, said everything looked fine. She didn’t have a goose-egg or any broken skin on her head, so we’re probably just looking at a mild concussion. They asked us to keep her at the hospital until she returned to normal, so I sent Mike and Jared home, but as soon as all the strangers were out of the room, Rebekah perked right up, so I asked Mike to come back and wait for us so we could all go home together. Of course, then ensued a whole host of registration and paperwork snafus, so it took us another hour before we could leave.

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We got home just in time to meet my friend Breanne, who spent the night with us on her Labor Day vacation touring Boston, and not only didn’t begrudge us our horrible couch, but even bought us Thai food for dinner! We chowed, chatted about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Small Business Administration (her two areas of expertise–how awesome is she?!), and then crashed.

This morning Rebekah seems happy as can be and is mostly occupied with the coloring pages the hospital sent home with her. We’d try to make the rest of our Labor Day weekend a bit more relaxing, but there’s a hurricane slated to come through Massachusetts on Monday, so we’ll probably be rained in. What a life we lead, huh?

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Martha’s Vineyard 5k

Can you even believe that it’s the end of the summer? It absolutely flew by, and now we have an entire year’s worth of French and several vacations under our belts. We’d have liked more rest and less work, but we did our best to compensate over the past week.

The kids had no preschool this week, so I entertained them with their Kindles in the morning and then led them on a different excursion every afternoon. I took my camera along to every activity, swearing to get pictures for you, and failing every time. In the end, we went to all our normal spots–three different parks, the frog pond, the library, and the natural history museum–and every time we arrived, nothing seemed novel enough to warrant a picture. Plus, at each park, I was busy reading a biography of Leonard Arrington. So, you know.

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I did manage to snap a picture at the Frog Pond, amazingly. Here.

Perhaps the most fun excursion was to Harvard’s natural history museum on Friday. I got Rebekah in the habit of making comparisons between different exhibits–she was quite the little observer by the end–and Jared had fun reading all the placards. I first noticed him doing it in the prehistoric mammal exhibit. I snuck up just in time to overhear him sounding out a five-syllable species name. And he got it right! He also sounded out the word “pelican,” which was exciting, because it was an animal he knew, but hadn’t been able to identify by sight. And then, because the kids have been watching cartoons all week, they were especially excited by the pteranodon skeleton, thanks to the show Dinosaur Train. I love having kids old enough to engage with museum exhibits! This parenting gig just keeps getting better and better.

And I know you’ve already seen these quotes on facebook, but they deserve recording on the blog, too. We had the following conversations during a family night lesson on the scriptures:

Mike: These numbers are verses.
Rebekah: Look! More verses!
Mike: No, those are footnotes.
Rebekah: What are footnotes?
Mike: They’re beyond our borders. Never go there, Simba.

Mike (showing a picture of Lehi): Who is that?
Jared: Nephi!
Mike: No, it’s Nephi’s dad. What’s his name?
Jared: Nephi’s Dad!
Mike: No. Try again.
Rebekah: L… Leotard?

I’m still plugging away on PhD applications and Mike is still plugging away on his PPI course. The only change in my work schedule this week was that I helped one of my visiting teachees pack up her house before their big move out West. Now I understand why every apartment I’ve ever moved into has been filthy: it’s because no one moves like I do. I pack up several days in advance and then spend the next two days deep cleaning the apartment. Normal people pack up in the 48 hours prior to their move and don’t have any time left over for cleaning. And you know what? That’s brilliant. Less cleaning! Maybe I’ll have to try that trick next time around. Of course, I suspect that living in an apartment three times the size of mine also contributes to the complexity of the project. At any rate, I was happy to help, not least because I don’t have to move this summer!

And now for the event that we did get pictures of: our day trip to Martha’s Vineyard. Remember how I was going to run a Ragnar but we ended up not being able to compose a large enough team so we settled for a 5k instead? That ended up being exactly the right decision. It was kind of expensive to rent a car for a day and drive down all for a measly 5k, but we knew that we’d probably never get out to Martha’s Vineyard without just this sort of excuse. So we woke up at 4:30 am yesterday and headed out. The morning was fairly nondescript: a long drive, awe at the efficiency of steamship authority’s parking, and a ferry ride to the island.

While I was purchasing ferry tickets, Mike was trying to get change for a $5 bill at a vending machine. We were hoping to stock up on quarters to use riding the bus, but instead the machine unloaded about $4.00 of nickels on us. We stashed them in our bag and used them for bus fare anyway, but ended up really annoying a couple bus drivers in the process.

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A breakfast of teddy grahams on the ferry. This was also the last time we saw Jared’s sunglasses on the trip.

We landed on the island just in time to narrowly miss our bus, so we took a taxi to the registration spot instead. I initially only signed up for myself, but once the kids learned that there was a kids’ run, too, we went back and bought them a spot. After getting them registered and showing them the course, Rebekah said “Um, mom, I heard the lady say if you win there is ice cream.” Ah. Yes. This is my child. Now I know why she was so eager to run! I did my best to gently explain that there were much bigger children who would win, but that I would definitely find her some ice cream in the course of the day.

At 8:45 am, the kids lined up for a short dash between some parking cones, and it turns out that my children are either really fast (… not likely) or really serious about competition. They put on their game faces and took second (Rebekah) and third (Jared), although since the winner was a six year old boy, Rebekah was technically the fastest girl. It also turns out that the twins have hilarious game faces. Have you ever seen two preschoolers try to run at a dead sprint? They furrowed their brows and took off at a quickish waddle. It was amazing. And then they were each awarded with a participation medal (which Jared also promptly lost).

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At 9:00 we saw off Tory and Rachel, who were part of the walking group. My race didn’t start until 9:30, so we stood around talking with the other runners (Blake, Austin, and Zach) until it was time to line up. And then we were off!

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My strategy was mostly to not think about it too much. Every time I wanted to walk, I told myself “no” and then tried to distract myself. It was a really hot morning for a race, and my pace was much faster than I was used to, so I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to sustain it, but I promised myself that I would run the whole way. I’m still quite slow, so it was somewhat discouraging to be passed up by people who did a mix of running and walking, but in the end I outpaced a few of them and since I didn’t come in dead last, I’m really proud of myself. The best part by far was, of course, crossing the finish line. I knew it would feel wonderful, but I hadn’t anticipated just how good it would feel! Wow. Super proud of myself! I took 111th overall with a time of 35:07. Nothing impressive, I know, but considering that I only started running in April, I’m going to keep riding a wave of self-created glory.

I drank some water, ate a banana, and then took the kids with me to the bathroom where I sponged down with antibacterial wipes and got dressed. Come to find out there was the option of a coin-operated shower across the hall, but oh well. No one else smelled particularly good, either.

We hung around in the park for a few more minutes while they announced awards. Blake and Austin got second and third in their age division (because they’re fast) and Rachel and Tory won first and second in their category (because there were no other female walkers age 20-29).

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We cheered raucously and then set out on the rest of our Martha’s Vineyard adventure. First stop: the “gingerbread cottages” – aggressively cute cottages that started out as the tents for Methodist revival meetings and then became settled homes and then became icons of the “American carpenter gothic” style. They were fun to see, of course, and I adored walking around the church space in the center of the village. We also got to see inside one of the homes while Rachel and Austin played “I spy” with the kids outside (since there were so many colors, you see). It was basically like a miniature version of the Beehive House, though Brigham Young would have hated the exterior aesthetic.

Then we went in search of ice cream, but along the way decided we’d better eat a real meal first. We settled on Mexican at Sharky’s Cantina, marveled as Zach charmed his way into getting us a private room in the back, and chowed down on nachos and tacos. Then we found our way to the best-rated ice cream (Mad Martha’s), negotiated a taxi ride all the way across the island for the nine of us, and wound up for the rest of the day at South Beach.

Let me just say: this beach converted me to beaches. The water was warm, so I got to swim in the ocean for the first time and bob in the waves off shore. I laughed manically every time a wave crashed into me and washed me up, I laughed manically as I dug an enormous hole in the sand, and I giggled my way through being buried by the kids. Eventually my euphoria wore off, but I think the kids and I were the only people who spent the entire five hours playing nonstop. Instead of napping or reading like all the other adults, we dug holes and built walls and moats and giant basins to catch the water. I got an arm workout to match my run earlier in the day, and came home rubbed completely raw by all the sand. Also a touch sunburned. ‘Twas exquisite.

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Trying out “drip castles” at the suggestion of the Slate Culture Gapfest (a regular podcast around here)

Then we navigated buses back to the ferry terminal (have you ever tried to get exact change for seven adults when everyone’s cash sources are depleted? We were the tourists everyone hated) and rode back to the parking lot, enjoying a gorgeous sunset on the ferry deck.

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We met up for one final 9:00 pm meal at a seafood place recommended by Austin. Zach, Mike and I talked religion and philosophy while everyone else dozed off into their clam chowder. The kids, by this point, were completely zonked out. We carried them into the restaurant and let them just sleep on our laps. Not even the promise of french fries would wake them up. And then to get us home since our phone batteries were depleted, Zach loaned us his phone (which he had charmed several people into charging for him all throughout the day), which we dropped off in his mailbox on the way to our house. How did people get anywhere before Google Maps and GPS?!

And then we all crashed, of course, because what else do you do after 15 hours of straight travel and running and play? We woke up to beds full of sand and heads full of memories. Thanks, summer, for all the fun.

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Of Borrowed Shorts and Code Changes

On Tuesday, Mike prompted a change in the United States engineering code. He e-mailed them about something that wasn’t specified in the book (something about checking beam-to-column plates to make sure they don’t rupture) and it turns out they should have included it. So in the next edition of the code, there will be a correction brought to you by our favorite engineer!

Now that my French class is over, I’m finally able to focus substantially on PhD applications, and I’m really pleased with the project that’s taking shape. I’ve figured out what I want my research angle to be (negativity! I shan’t bore you) so now it’s just about making the time and putting in the work. Far less existential dread. My summer schedule has been so lovely and relaxed, leaving me plenty of time for various church side projects. On Thursday, thanks to eating nothing but steak for the previous 36 hours, had enough iron to donate blood at the chapel, where I met several people from the community who always come to our blood drives because we have the best treats! Right on, Mormonism.

Thursday afternoon, while I was working my preschool shift, Rebekah’s teacher told me how good she is at social-emotional stuff–focused listening, showing empathy, etc.–and chalked it up to her being a twin. As it so happened, she was able to illustrate by pointing out the way Rebekah was listening to a classmate nearby and patiently waiting for him to finish his thought. On the walk home that evening, I told Rebekah what her teacher had said and how proud I was for her being a good listener and a good friend. And, naturally, she filled me in on the illustrative conversation I’d witnessed: “Yeah. Gael told me the poop coming out of his bum is from blueberries, and I told Gael the poop out of my bum is from tomatoes, and then Gael told me the poop out of his bum is tomatoes and blueberries.” Way to pop the bubble of my idealism, child.

Friday was their last day of preschool for the academic school year. It felt important, so I made sure to bathe them the night before, but then discovered that morning that we’d somehow misplaced a pair of Jared’s shorts and he had nothing else that was clean. So, naturally, he wore Rebekah’s shorts to school and was so pleased with the arrangement that he continued to wear them for the rest of the weekend. Clothes-swapping or not, my children have officially graduated from the younger preschool class and will be bona fide “big kids” at the start of the new school year next Monday. Between now and then stands a one-week break, which we’ve carefully planned out, like so:

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Our only other bit of news is that Mike and I managed to peel ourselves away for a long dinner with friends last night. The farm we stayed at over the fourth supplies a farm-to-table restaurant in Concord, so we rented a car and drove out there to check it out. Great food and great conversation, as usual. And then, on the way home, we witnessed the most amazing moon we’ve ever seen–hovering low and HUGE and orange right over the freeway. I seem to see a lot of cool celestial phenomena whenever I’m in the car with this guy!

So there you have it. I’ll leave you to catch up on the kids’ latest progress reports and we’ll check back in next week with lots to report about our last week of summer!

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Progress Report: Rebekah

Rebekah recently celebrated her 4th birthday along with twin brother Jared and is preparing to transition in the older preschool classroom in the Fall. She scored well in all categories on her Ages and Stages questionnaire (Communication: 60, Gross Motor: 60, Fine Motor: 55, Problem Solving: 60, Personal-Social: 60) with no areas of concern. Rebekah continues to flourish in the classroom, deepening her friendships with her peers. She is extremely willing and enthusiastic to try any new activity whether it be an art project in the classroom or gross motor activity on the playground. Rebekah is sweet-natured and will play with everyone but still enjoys spending the majority of time with her close-knit group of friends Lillian, Alexandra and Josie. Rebekah and Josie have been inseparable in the classroom lately, and like to have dramatic play “sleepovers” on their nap-mats during the freetime that follows lunchtime. Rebekah enjoys the security of checking in with her teachers every so often and does enjoy teacher-led group time but for the most part is perfectly content to play with her friends.

Fine motor: Rebekah has still been making huge strides with regards to her fine motor skills, such as with her drawing and cutting abilities. Using a static tripod grip, Rebekah can draw elaborate pictures that have continued to evolve in their complexity. Lately, her favorite way to work on that particular skill has been to create small “mini-books,” which she loves creating alongside her friend Alexandra. Rebekah loves any activity that involves using age-appropriate scissors to cut, although she sometimes needs reminders to use them carefully.

Gross Motor: Rebekah’s gross motor skills and confidence seem to be growing hand in hand! In the gross-motor gym, she enjoys “tumbling” (performing somersaults) on the mats and any group activities (yoga, songs that enact physical motions) that challenge her to utilize her balancing abilities. Rebekah is an avid climber and has recently been challenging herself to try new feats on the geodesic dome climber in the playground, climbing to the top and dangling upside down fearlessly!

Cognitive: Although she loves dramatic play, Rebekah understands the difference between real and make-believe, and understands that pictures and symbols are representative of real objects. With regards to her problem-solving abilities, Rebekah can still get reflexively pouty and upset when she is really pushed to her limit and when she feels she’s already exhausted all the problem solving resources that we try to encourage in the classroom. At other times, she gets frustrated when she wants help from a teacher to do something that we’re encouraging her to at least try first independently. In these times we like to reiterate our confidence in her and remind her that we’re here to help if her attempts are unsuccessful. However, all things considered, Rebekah has been doing an excellent job of articulating what’s bothering her and asking for help or asking “for space,” so her teachers are able to step in and provide any additional support.

Language: Like her brother Jared, Rebekah really relishes reading stories and enjoys sharing her input, questions, and insight about the storylines during group-time. Rebekah can recall parts of story when questioned about them and will bring up stories that we’ve previously read, spontaneously. She speaks clearly and in complete sentences and uses her language skills to create elaborate storylines in dramatic play games with her friends.

Social/Emotional: Rebekah is extremely sweet and often demonstrates spontaneous acts of kindness and compassion towards her friends, “checking in” on them if she sees that they are upset, and offering her own solutions to help remedy the situation (without being asked by her teachers). She demonstrates a desire to want to please her friends which can sometimes lead to situations where she feels frustrated (perhaps because she feels she’s taken on the “lion’s share” of many of the compromises). In those moments, her teachers will help to step in, in order to make sure that any games are cooperative and she feels she’s being treated fairly.

Future Goals: Although Rebekah is extremely capable, sometimes she can get discouraged and defeatist when asked to try a new activity (perhaps if she’s intimidated or has reason to think she might not succeed during the first try). Her teachers will work to try to encourage her to try things independently and provide an extra boost of encouragement while reassuring her that they are available to help if her initial efforts fall short of her expectations.

We’ve loved having Rebekah in the classroom this year, and are excited to see her continue to blossom!

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Progress Report: Jared

Today was the twins’ last day of preschool before the new school year, and as they sent us out the door with face paint and complimentary sidewalk chalk, they made sure to include progress reports, too. Here’s the latest about our sweet boy!


Jared is a sweet 4-year old boy who recently celebrated his birthday alongside twin-sister Rebekah. He scored well in all areas of his Ages and Stages Questionnaire (Communication: 60, Gross Motor: 45, Fine Motor: 40, Problem Solving: 60, Personal Social: 55), with no areas for concern. As the year is wrapping up, Jared has particularly seemed to enjoy our “Community Helpers” curricular theme, mainly focusing on firefighters and police officers (or perhaps most importantly for Jared, their vehicles!). Jared’s fondness for trucks, trains, and cars has broadened to include dramatic play elements, where he enjoys recreating “emergency” scenarios on the playground bikes, pretending to be a dutiful first-responder alongside friends Charlie and Yizhen. In the classroom, he still prefers to play independently, although he will engage in parallel play with friends that are engaged in the same activity.

Fine motor: Recently, Jared has been channeling his love of vehicles by assembling elaborate cars and trucks, honing his fine motor skills by using various interlocking manipulatives in the classroom. This adds a fun new element to his play, allowing him to customize his creations in new and increasingly elaborate ways. Jared has also made great strides in his writing/drawing abilities, utilizing a five-finger pencil grasp to write out letters and practice drawing figures.

Gross motor: Jared is incredibly active on the playground, showcasing his increasing confidence with his gross motor abilities. His favorite activity is riding on the tricycle, which he does with ease, confidently maneuvering around obstacles. Jared has recently been showing an interest in various ball-games (baseball in particular) and is working on his coordination to make contact with the bat, catching, and throwing the ball. Jared loves dancing/jumping with alternating feet but still has some difficulty standing on one foot for any length of time (over two seconds).

Cognitive: Jared has been making a lot of progress with regards to his problem solving skills. Previously, when something frustrated him and he felt his initial attempts to problem-solve weren’t working (if someone is trying to take away a toy he’s currently using, for example), he would give up and become inconsolable. Recently, with the help of his teachers to support his efforts and encourage him to use his words, he’s able to solve the problem and self-advocate (sometimes, independently). Jared is able to recall parts of stories and expound on them using his own personal experience (relating them to personal information/stories), and always has relevant commentary to add to group conversation during story-time.

Language: Jared is able to speak in clear, complete sentences. In the classroom, Jared loves reading books and can sit for long spans of time digesting one after another with his teachers and work-parents. Excitingly, he’s also sounding out words and reading them independently, a skill which he’s practicing at home with his parents!

Social/emotional: Jared is sweet and is usually the first person to greet any newcomers and visitors to the classroom. Jared is pretty easy going and although he seems most comfortable when he’s familiar with the expectations/daily classroom schedule, he’s always willing to go with the flow (especially if it involves something new and exciting!). He shows affection for his friends and will often imitate behaviors/language that he’s picked up from his parents (such as certain colloquialisms).

Future Goals: In the upcoming year, Jared will continue to work on certain self-help skills, such as washing his own face (with a wipe, following meals) and dressing/undressing. Cognitively, Jared will continue to work on his ability to problem solve with his peers. With regards to gross motor skills, Jared will work on his climbing skills (his teachers can help him achieve these goals by encouraging him to use the climber in the playground). Jared will continue to hone his fine motor skills, working towards a static tripod grasp while using his writing utensils.

We’ve loved having Jared this year, and look forward to seeing how he progresses next year!

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