I can’t get enough of this smile. And I am feeling so optimistic about the smiles ahead, now that she’s gone from such a tough 2nd grade school year to one that should be the complete opposite. To add insult to injury, Clem didn’t quite pass the 3rd grade test this summer, which means no skipping up like her big sis did. But aside from the unfortunate disappointment she felt, we are relieved on a few levels – namely (1) the 3rd grade teachers are FANTASTIC – and most importantly, are warm and encouraging and really like Clem, (2) being at the top of her class should get her self confidence back up where it was before the crappy last school year, (3) her living on ClemenTIME – namely, spending 20 and 30 minutes lost in her thoughts on a daily basis while she should be getting dressed, going to bed, following directions, etc… well, having another year to work on that before entering a less forgiving middle school environment probably won’t hurt! Plus, you know it’s going to be painful when she heads off to college, so another year of this face in our house is okay in my book!
While Clem is starting to get back into the flow of the school year, she is having a fairly hard time coming off the high of such a fantastic summer. The dude ranch was magical, overnight camp was a total blast (she’s already in for next year), our Massachusetts and Canada adventures were fantastic, and the handful of weeks in between were spent in awesome camps, endless playdates, and a lot of late nights, lazy mornings and more sugar and fewer baths than would be advisable. That said, we’re about to start up ice skating again, have applied to the children’s business fair (Whatacorns again) and she has another audition (Willy Wonka!) in a few weeks, so while things won’t be lazy again for a while, they should be fun!
Ice skating, theater, piano, choir, and Whatacorns should keep Clem busy, which is especially good because when she isn’t busy, our sensitive girl tends to get a little depressed (is it called that when you are 8?). The other night, she cried to me about her friends who no longer attend her school, the fact that it’s impossible for her to impress her sister, and a concern that maybe we’re not even actually alive – we’re just characters in a story that an old man has thought up in a daydream… and as soon as he’s done, we’ll disappear. How does one respond to that, exactly? Some nights she tells me she really needs a good cry but can’t think of anything sad enough. It makes for tricky parenting, to say the least! Luckily, with sunrise comes more sweet smiles, like this one:
I’m crossing fingers and toes that this school year will bring a happier and more confident school girl. A stretch goal would perhaps be a kiddo who doesn’t drift off into her own daydreams quite as often. Annabelle might throw in a goal to reduce her car puking tendencies and Marc would vote for faster, less picky eating. But in the end, we’ll take this girl any way she wants to be, because as Mary Poppins would say, we find her to be “practically perfect in every way.”