Annabelle is TEN

We blinked and this happened:

I can hardly believe that Annabelle is a decade old – though she has long been the most responsible person in our house! At 10, she has really come into her own as a leader and loyal friend in her beloved group of 5th grade girls (impressive since she is younger than all of them). She’ll do anything for these kids – and has been less focused on academics lately because of it – but we don’t mind (grades slipping more toward A- than A; she’ll survive). These girls are some of the kindest, brightest and most interesting we’ve met, and shockingly all get along without drama, push each other to achieve (they all want to go to the coveted magnet middle schools together!), and introduce each other to new adventures on a daily basis. It will be so bittersweet when the gang “breaks up” for middle school, though we are hoping at least a handful will end up wherever Annabelle does.

Speaking of middle school, we’re about ready to turn in her applications to Kealing (the most academically rigorous), Ann Richards (a girls’ leadership academy) and Fulmore (continuing Spanish immersion and studying humanities and law). She’ll be thrilled to get into Kealing or Ann Richards. We’ll know in March (she still needs to do testing, interviews, and in-school essays) and once we do, I’ll post her application essay here for posterity.

When Annabelle isn’t at school, doing her two favorite activities of archery and gymnastics, or playing with friends, she is always working on her latest idea. She wants to be an inventor and entrepreneur when she grows up, and is constantly taping / gluing/ sewing/ planning her next product, completely trashing her room in the process. We got her a dress form for her birthday because her favorite show is Project Runway and we couldn’t take another day of recycled pastry container / cardboard box / metal tubing mannequins. Speaking of which, when I asked her what she wanted to work on as a 10yo, she replied, “Neatness.” But when I asked what skill she’d ask for if she could have any, she replied that she’d like to be “the smartest and most cunning person in the world – and also the tallest Olympic gymnast in history.” I love her answers to my questions almost as much as I love the questions she asks me. Since she could talk, she’s hit us with “What’s your 3rd favorite animal” or “Would you rather have no teeth or one arm” or “What is your ideal biome to live in?”

Despite my occasional exasperation over the nonstop talking and gigantic messes, I hope Annabelle never stops asking questions, dreaming up ideas, or making messes full of inventions or projects. I don’t think we need to worry – it’s pretty clear that this first decade was simply a warm-up for what’s to come. And while I don’t want to rush a single second of it, I can’t wait to see what happens next because I have no doubt it will be spectacular!

Happy decade day to the one-of-a-kind, beautiful, bright Annabelle Claire!

 

 

Clementine is Seven

We blinked and this happened:
Seven-year-old Clementine is so fantastic. She is wise beyond her years, with a keen observation just when you think she isn’t listening. She is incredibly aware of those around her and their emotions, often pointing out to us when a friend (or more often, her sister) is feeling something or acting in a way we didn’t realize. She lets friends get the last word (or bigger half of the cookie) because she doesn’t really care and it’s important to them. But she points out things that ARE important to her (and are our fault) so we’ll learn from them – like admonishing me for letting her read in the car after it made her puke last week!

She is also hilariously witty, with a zinger that will get you every time! When Marco (bringer of after-school treats) came over with a bruise on his face, explaining how he’d tripped running an errand, she sized him up and asked, “Well – did it knock the candy out of you?” And when a sales person (on December 30th) presented her with an ornament as a special “gift with purchase,” she replied with a raised eyebrow and a “isn’t it a little late for that?” without missing a beat.

Clementine’s sharpness overflows into her academic work, where she’s somewhere between a 3rd and 4th grade level in math and flies through chapter books every few days (current favorite author: Erin Hunter). Her favorite subject in school is science, and we encourage it whenever we can (her birthday present this year – a rock tumbler). But she isn’t showy about it or “known” for her academics in school (other than her top notch report cards) – instead she’s known in school as being the best hugger around.

When I asked Clementine what she was going to work on as a 7yo, in fact, she told me she was going to try to tone down her hugging. She really has no understanding of personal space, which tends to either instantly endear or annoy anyone she is with. We’re hoping her general social awareness will soon start to work its way into her physical awareness and she’ll get the hang of when NOT to hang on a friend or relative (or relative stranger, for that matter). In general, Clem has a lot of habits that lean toward annoying – like making little animal noises or speaking in crazy voices, constantly hopping and fidgeting and reacting – but we’ve been making her more aware (it’s about acting more like a “big kid”) and they seem to be subsiding. For the most part, she can charm just about anyone she decides to, wrapping them around her little finger before they even see it coming.

Clementine is more of a homebody than an adventurer. Annabelle can get her out exploring, but if you ask what she wants to do, an art/lego/building project, book or board game often beats outdoor play or athletic adventures (though she does enjoy gymnastics and riding her bike), pasta & red peppers always beats out a restaurant, and she opts for a playdate at her house if she can help it (though sleepovers are preferred at Charlie’s because his mom makes better breakfasts). We’re hoping she’ll get a *bit* more adventurous this year – especially in the area of eating (maybe she’ll start to mix foods? Or not rebel against sauces? Or stick her nose up at any fruit of vegetable that doesn’t look perfect?). But since the 12 foods she eats are actually pretty healthy (fruits, raw veggies, eggs, cheeses, yogurts), we aren’t too worried.

Clem still says she’d like to be a marine biologist when she grows up, but I think she says it out of habit (we explained the profession to her a few years ago when she was obsessed with sea creatures). At this point, I have no idea what her future holds. But I know that with her wisdom and wit, awareness and charm (not to mention that face!), she’s going to do¬†just fine.

Happy SEVEN to my “toonts,” Marc’s “pea,” and Annabelle’s Clem – our lovely Clementine Jane!