Look at these girls, swinging into their next birthdays as the world seems to turn faster and faster each year.
I thought things would slow down, but they still seem to be changing in leaps and bounds. Take this kid, for example:
The grown-up haircut isn’t helping matters, and neither are the HILARIOUS one-liners that come out of her mouth. While her emotions are still wildly age appropriate (in that they vary WILDLY, in any given hour), her insights are so smart and spot on that Marc and I are constantly giving each other “did you hear what she just said” eyes. And… then she turns into a Kindergartener again, doing things like re-learning how to ride a bike (success!), smothering the dog with love, refusing any foods that are mixed together in any way, thinking it’s perfectly reasonable to wear earmuffs to school in 70 degree weather, etc.
There are other aspects to Clem that are so undeniably HER that they were her as a toddler and will undoubtedly be part of her as an adult. First, she has a generous heart. When we talked about selling our used books to Half Price Books, she suggested donating them instead to people who need them, because we really don’t need the money. And on Thanksgiving, while Annabelle opted to get some pre-feast exercise with her dad instead, Clementine was all about scootering over to “Operation Turkey” to make (and decorate) plates of food for the homeless.
Clementine is also incredibly focused when it comes to anything art-related. She can’t seem to sit still in her chair for more than 30 seconds unless she is drawing, coloring, stamping, writing, etc. She does this work incredibly slowly and carefully, almost never scribbling or taking shortcuts. You should have seen the care she took to stick all of our holiday card stamps on perfectly… even if she had the wrong corner!
It’s these moments that give me hope that one day, she’ll make it all the way through dinner without falling off her chair or spilling anything. A girl can dream! But truthfully, it’s a small price to pay for getting to interact with the awesomely beautiful (inside and out) little girl before us!
And then there’s this beauty:
That bright face and even brighter mind is so “big kid” now. She still has her silly, loving, giggling moments, but more and more we are seeing more subdued, older behavior. While we know this is also perfectly age appropriate, it’s a little bittersweet! At the same time, she’s still the creative, always-with-a-plan kid she’s been from the start. Her plans usually extend to what she wants to do/bring/show/share with her friends at recess, which cause her backpack to weigh as much as she does (I remember my mom saying the same thing about mine!). Lately, the most common activity is Pokemon, which Marc and I find mind-numbing – but appreciate that it’s a non-screentime, interact-with-others activity that is generally positive!
Whether studying Pokemon card collections, challenging friends to a drawing contest (she’s been practicing endlessly and has gotten SO MUCH better in the past few months!), or telling us about tests and assignments at school, one change we’ve seen in Annabelle lately is that she’s become incredibly competitive. While of course this can be taken too far, we are happy to see her pushing herself and noticing that whipping through things is not always the answer. We think skipping up a grade caused this change – suddenly there are actually other kids who are sometimes sort of close to her level! She can’t have that 🙂 Thankfully she doesn’t seem to be cut-throat about it with her friends, who still love her beyond words.
We love the new, more grown up Annabelle, even if she is a little harder to read, a little less goofy, and a little more opinionated. She has always been complex, and now we are starting to see how her complexity is unfolding into (gasp) young womanhood. A lot of the energy she used to use up on making fairy houses and stuffed animal schools (though she can still be convinced to jump back in with her sister) is used working on her favorite piano songs (like the theme song to Harry Potter) or rereading her favorite books (mainly Rick Riordan or JK Rowling) to dig deeper.
It’s amazing to watch the little changes, and it’s helpful to reflect on them monthly in the blog. Plus, it’s a good excuse to post photos that show how ridiculously sparkly and amazing they are!