"Without relying on physical attributes, what three descriptive words would you use to best describe how your child navigates his/her world? Please support each descriptive word with a short paragraph. "
- School Application Form
So, here's what I wrote. And why the heck not go for multiple distribution channels?
(Edits, comments welcome. )
From a remarkably early age, Zach was hearing the world around him. From music, to words, to the cadences of speech and city, Zachary is constantly absorbing and replaying sounds he hears. And as we listen to him sing himself and his brother to sleep each night through the vent in the wall, we are witnessing his evolution from clever parrot to lyricist and composer. He “composed” his first song at 18 months – an ode to Broccoli, sung to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle. Now his nighttime ritual has become a collage of the songs and sounds of the day, his words the emerging pattern of his memories. “Old McDonald had an engine, e-i-e-i-o, and the engine had a magic feather, they can’t find it, where is thumbkin, e-i-e-i-o, broccoli-broccoli-broccoli song”
There is a certain girl that is magic for Zachary. She’s between the ages of 5 and 8. She’s small enough to be at the same playground, young enough to find entertainment in a slide, but big enough to know what she wants, when she wants it. Without fail, Zachary will find her – impossible to miss in her red sparkly flats – and within 5 minutes he will be holding her hand. Our theory is language: he can communicate with older children clearly. Not only does he understand directions, he can hold up his own end of any exchange. But he’s also young enough to be starry-eyed at the attention of every Disney Princess he meets.
“You could drop him on the moon, and he’d be OK, wouldn’t he.” So said another mother, as she watched Zach during his first day-care drop-off. He turned with a wave (“bye bye mama!”), made a bee-line for the Thomas trains, and never looked back. Zach is comfortable in his skin. He’ll sleep in any strange house in any dark room, no matter what creepy shadows dance on the walls. He’ll dive right in to any play date, jump onto any new jungle-gym, and accept every baby sitter we throw his way.
Although Jacob (Jake) is only two and a half, he has already shown himself to be a prodigious problem-solver. Whether it’s figuring out how to reach an apple on the counter (move a stool to a chair to a high chair and voila, a make-shift staircase!), turn on a CD (play drum music!), or find the missing pieces of a puzzle (under rug!) Jake displays both ingenuity and tenacity. We are convinced he will have dismantled – if not actually fixed – a DVD player by the time he is three.
When Jake is thirsty, he always asks for two glasses of milk –one for himself, and one for his brother, Zachary. When I strained a muscle, he asked, every day for weeks, “mama’s back feel better?” and gave me a kiss on the small of my back. He is often the first to give a hug and a kiss, and is able to share with the grace of a much older child. Of course he is two –he is just as liable to yank the toy from the hands of his twin brother versus grab an alternative or attempt a trade. But Jake is clearly attuned to the feelings and needs of those around him.
Jake is not one to let his hands sit idle. He is a busy guy. He’s not particularly interested in the television, but give him a set of legos and he can built the world’s tallest towers for an hour straight. He is constantly finding ways to be physically engaged in the world around him- turning the pages, connecting the dots, sorting my change and hearing each penny land with a satisfying ‘clink’ in his piggy bank. At least one part of his body is almost always in motion – his feet, hands, fingers – even in his sleep he’s moving his legs as though he’s still making his way through the world.