With Annabelle temporarily taking over AustinDavises for our trip, I wasn’t able to give my last monthly update! So here we are, back to school, with a lot to catch up on, blogwise. Even so, I think it’s only fitting to do this one as a joint Annabelle & Clementine post, since not only did they spend a month on the road joined at the hip; they are now going to the same elementary school! Which seems like a fine place to start:
As our nanny Diane stated after seeing that picture, Annabelle looks like such an elementary school veteran at this point, while Clementine looks like a shiny new penny. Both had a great first week and seem to have really wonderful teachers and friends in their classes. But to break it down:
Clementine, five and two thirds and just starting kindergarten:
This kid is so delicious, it’s dangerous. Sometimes she’s unaware about the effect she has on those around her (her response when a little girl ran up to her and gave her a hug before school started: “I don’t really know her, she’s not in my class. She just likes to hug me”). Other times she knows it, but it just rolls right off (her buddy Travis has decided to have an entirely platypus-themed birthday party because Clementine will like it so much). Unfortunately, she has gotten accustomed to her magical powers, which has made parenting her a challenge. We’ve been working hard on getting her to listen more and understand that our demands are not suggestions. It’s starting to sink in… sort of. The funny thing is that she seems to reserve this behavior for us – her new teacher has given her nothing but high praise and treats from the treasure box!
Speaking of which, if one week in is any indication, Clementine is going to rock kindergarten. She seems to be the only full-on reader in the class (though it’s hard to tell from her descriptions) and she has already completed kinder and 1st grade level math on Dreambox. She may not quite be at the level Annabelle was when she started at Travis Heights, but she is not far behind – and with a self-assuredness that her sister (or Marc or myself for that matter) couldn’t have dreamed of at this age. Marc thinks she’s on path to skipping up like big sis. We’ll see… but I wouldn’t put it past her. Clementine is up for anything Annabelle has done, is doing, or plans to do. She’s such a devoted little sister – no matter how great the day is, Clem’s reported “favorite part” is always seeing Annabelle in the lunchroom.
Annabelle, eight and two thirds and just starting 4th grade:
This kid is just SO. GOOD. She is so happy at school, has so many great friends, and loves learning so much. And she’s still using all of her free time to invent, imagine, research, design… her combination of creativity and straight-up smarts is plain delightful. Her two favorite things on earth these days are “making” (this weekend she convinced her dad to help her make a birdhouse) and riding horses (we’re still putting off lessons in favor of some concentrated camp weeks, but I’m not sure how much longer that’ll last):
I have absolutely no doubt that Annabelle will rock 4th grade just like she rocked 3rd – actually, probably more since she’ll get a full year of it (hard to believe she did 3rd in only ~3 months!). This year she wants to be on the photojournalism team again, the tech crew, and possibly choir and dance. She wants to take gymnastics on the side (my poor gigantic kids and their desire to be gymnasts!) and is continuing to plow forward in piano. And all of this, unfortunately, is on very little sleep. Poor Annabelle developed some sleep anxiety on the tail end of our summer road trip and has had a rough time falling asleep and staying asleep ever since. We’re working through a sleep workbook and talking to some child psychologist friends, hoping she’ll get back into the groove in the coming weeks.
I’m still wrapping my head around the fact that this stunning little human only has 2 more years left of elementary school. Only 2 years to overlap with her adoring little sis and let her in on all of the secrets of the world. Although, little sis seems to know some secrets of her own…
There’s nothing like a month on the road and tons of time with other families to make parents introspective about their kids. At the end of our big trip, Marc and I were more grateful than ever for the sweet, interesting, curious and fun girls we are lucky enough to parent. Sure, we had our moments (and nothing like a giant lice infestation halfway through the trip to try your patience!), but wow. These little ladies were perfect car companions and pretty remarkable house guests, dealing with no personal space of their own as we flew through 18 states in 30 days – and slept in 10 of them. This is a trip we’ll never forget – and I bet it won’t be our last. But first… time for 9 months of “regularly scheduled programming!”