EIGHT

Annabelle is 8. And tall and beautiful and SO GROWN UP. She wears size large kids’ clothing and her new bike is a women’s extra-small. She still lets me snuggle her on my lap after bath, but you would laugh to see it – she is all legs and arms and big blue eyes and bright pink lips and Davis booty, trying to balance on me or even funnier, her tiny nanny Diane.
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Like her sister, Annabelle deep down is exactly who she was when we first got to know her. She is still incredibly sensitive, though if you don’t watch very carefully you won’t see it because she has learned to cope quickly. She doesn’t like change or surprises. She still has some anxiety, but in most cases her confidence has taken over. And she has plenty to be confident about! When she arrives at school it’s like a celebrity sighting the way the kids call her name. She is amazing academically – immeasurable by any second grade chart (we are trying to decide if we should re-entertain the notion of skipping a grade – a very tough call). She’s gotten great at biking and swimming, and is really holding her own in soccer and piano. And she understands almost native Spanish, even if she usually refuses to speak it.
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Annabelle is incredibly interested in… everything. She is never without a book or a notebook where she records her continuous stream of big ideas. She is never bored and doesn’t understand how anyone could EVER be bored. She wants to figure out how to fly, to harness magic, to build time travel machines, to discover the next… thing. She is incredibly logical and has a phenomenal memory. But she is also so creative. She’s enjoyed some early programming lately and we think her combination of math/science, logic and imagination could make her a great computer programmer.
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Annabelle is a polytheist. She truly believes in many gods – specifically the greeks and the romans. She gets that other people believe in one God and some don’t believe at all and that’s okay with her. She REALLY believes in mythical, fantasy creatures and is DETERMINED to find or prove or create one herself.
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Annabelle has always been more inwardly focused (vs. Clementine the empath) but she’s become more well rounded in her “old age.” She at least logically tries to understand other peoples’ points of view, and is always excited to include any interested parties in her experiments, projects, stories, inventions and businesses. Also, she has at least one of those things going every day. And she’s proud of them all (not as critical as her little sis, which we would have expected to be the other way around). For her birthday, we got her a sewing machine because … lots of big ideas require assembly.
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Most of all, Annabelle is always excited for what’s possible. I think the world needs more of that.
In other words, she’s perfect.

FIVE

Our darling Clementine is now 5 years old. And so much about her today we knew from the start. She’s one of the most engaging little people you’ll ever meet. People (adults and kids alike) are drawn to her, and not because she has to be the center of attention or the star (although she DOES like to be in control of a situation… unless her sister is available to take the role). It’s more that you WANT her to want you. Because when she does, she will shower you with more love, tighter squeezes, and earnest interest (and humor!) than most people you’ll meet.

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Clementine is the full package. She is bright (reading those “I can read’ books with gusto now and learning 1st grade math), she is coordinated (pretty incredible on any set of wheels at this point – bike, scooter, roller skates…), she is beautiful (those stormy eyes, that mermaid hair) and she is kind. She’s also pretty bossy and moody, but her most common moods fall squarely on the sweet and silly side of things.
Clementine is also brave. She handled her first set of stitches amazingly well, and falls down a thousand times a day while attempting stunts on various wheeled vehicles. Hurt feelings make her cry much harder than cuts or bruises. She is a feeler.
Clem is also quite musical. She is always singing and dancing – often on key and on the beat! The introduction of piano lessons has been fun. She concentrates SO hard to hit those notes, and loves to perform her little songs for whomever will listen. She’s not afraid of the spotlight, but she is very self-aware and even critical of her performances. Even when she’s getting praised, she finds it important to point out what went wrong or what she wished had been better. We haven’t seen that a lot before with kids her age (including her sister).
Rest assured, Clementine can still give us a run for our money. She is not always reasonable. And she is manipulative. Just when you swear you won’t let her stall you one more minute at bedtime, she begs you to let her wax poetic about what a wonderful parent you are. And she’s got Charlie at her beck and call (although he still insists he will marry his mother no matter how many times she tells him that’s not allowed. She’s his second choice).
Clementine’s interests have stayed consistent for a while. She could spend hours learning about sea creatures (she thinks maybe she’ll be a marine biologist), as well as most other animals. Eddie is her best friend and he allows her to smother him with love for hours each day. She could build tall towers indefinitely. She loves drawing and seems to have a knack for it. And singing – she is always warbling something. She still loves having books read to her, but has trouble staying quiet for them vs. letting little noises or songs escape under her breath. And she is always in motion.
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In other words, she’s perfect.