Harper continues to be a curious and sweet girl, always wanting to know, always wanting to love. Her relationship with Jack is very warm. A couple of days, when Jack was having his morning nap and we were getting ready for the day, Harper lamented his absence, saying, "Mama, I don't like when he's sleeping because then I can't see his beautiful eyes!"
Jack's becoming more and more verbal, experimenting with new sounds all the time. Last week, he was on a kick with the "huh huh huh" sound (said shouting enthusiastically). Every morning, Jack would wake and begin these shouts loud enough for Harper to hear in her room. She came in one morning and told me, "Mama, Jack's a rooster!" Needless to say, Ethan loved that nickname for little Jack. One evening, while driving past the COS farm at dusk, Harper looked out the window at the passing animals and the setting sun and declared, "I'm Sunset Harper." Again, an instantly favorite nickname was born. Henceforth, Ethan's been calling the kids "Sunset Harper and The Rooster".
Harper's facility with language continues to amaze. She is sight-reading many words now, and sounding out with contextual help many more words. It is clear she feels very successful with reading and every time we do some educational activity at the "artist table", she is 100% into it. She takes the pasting, reading, coloring, and determining-the-answer quite seriously. Honestly, if I were grading her for all of these workbook pages, she'd be scoring about a 95%. Her first answer is rarely wrong. She's also made up a few words of her own (reminds me of my first made-up words, i.e. "Honkadoodeous"). A short dictionary follows:
Queeze: v. to squeeze extra hard (with teeth clinched and everything)
Noda: n. the desire to queeze
Tadee: n. morning time
Tada: n. evening
Tadeaux: n. afternoon
The girl is also good with numbers. The other day she pointed out the "seven palm trees" out the window, and sure enough I counted seven tops of trees poking out from the suburban skyline. She is becoming faster at adding numbers together and we've been using "subtractions strips" to learn to take away. It all comes very easy for her. She spent the night with Grandma a couple nights ago and when she returned Grandma told us that Harper could count by tens. This was news to us, especially because we've never talked about it or worked on it. She must have figured it out on her own (?)... is that possible? She counted this way to ninety without any need for correction, but had to be reminded that 100 would be next.
She's clearly cognitively ready for preschool, but Harper is also a very cautious girl. We know school will challenge her not so much academically, but more socially and physically. We recently got her a small slide for our yard. At the store, she was excited about the idea. When it was assembled at home, she didn't want anything to do with it. E and I were frustrated, wondering how you teach a kid to be more brave. We set her on the top several times and she slid down (with a little trepidation), but would not climb the ladder at the back for anything. Part of the reasoning behind the purchase was that it was something Harper could do for and by herself. We were feeling a little disappointed that night, but over the course of the next three days, Harper began to get more comfortable with the slide. Each day, she went one step further up the ladder in the back, and each day she approached the slide with more enthusiasm and less fear. One day I watched in surprise when she did it all by herself, without requesting Mom or Dad to be behind her for security. It was a great lesson for us all. Harper learned about trying and trying again, doing things for herself, overcoming fear, trusting Mom and Dad. We learned that you can't rush a kid into doing something before their time and you have to allow for the timing to be different than you want or expect. Other kids Harper's age are not as reticent about playground equipment. But then, other kids Harper's age are not as brilliant in so many ways, either. Harper will enjoy the confidence of always knowing the answer, but she'll definitely have to face and overcome some fear when she begins preschool.
Speaking of preschool, we've tried to enroll her in Montessori's summer program (so she'd start the 2nd week of July) rather than September, but we're still waiting to hear back from them (probably next week). Keep your fingers crossed for us!