Nine.9

Nine and three quarters and already SO grown up! I mean, she even wore a blazer to school the other day as she wowed the crowd giving her student council election speech. That’s right, this girl apparently won the School Historian position (yes, we didn’t know that was a thing either) by a landslide!

Annabelle continues to blow us away all the time. Of course, this is an important time for her to be blowing EVERYONE away, as these coming months (and applications which are due in Jan/Feb) will determine if she gets into the very competitive magnet middle school programs she’s been gunning for from the start. She has her heart set on either The Ann Richards School (for Future Female Leaders) or Kealing, the most rigorous math & science magnet, and it’s pretty cutthroat but we’re confident she’ll do well.

Annabelle’s sleep hasn’t really improved at home, though she’s gotten much better at other places, having survived several sleepovers in the past month. This week will be the ultimate test as the 5th graders take their long anticipated “senior trip” to Camp Champions – which will include 2 nights away from home with only friends and teachers. She is “slightly terrified” in her words, but excited too. She just needs to channel her inner Katniss Everdeen and she’ll do great!

(adorable Lady Liberty thrown in to show that BOTH our girls were determine to dress as strong women this Halloween – which we loved).

Nothing else is new in Annabelle’s world – still obsessed with her friends, gymnastics, and archery, and reading as always. Still tough and confident on the outside (you should have seen her pitching at the Business fair – she was shockingly good!) while anxious on the inside.  A little happier with her teachers than she was at first, but they won’t be ranking in her Travis Heights favorites list. Still strong and tall, though at a year younger than her friends, we’re starting to see her fall a little behind as the girls tiptoe into puberty (must admit I’m glad we’re a little behind on this one). Still SO messy. And still a phenomenal kid, with a phenomenal way at looking at the world that makes us proud every day.

Six.8 and Nine.8

Here we are – 1st and 5th grade!

The girls have had a pretty good start to the school year. It began with a solar eclipse on the first day of school (does it get better than that?)  but then wasn’t without its bumps and bruises, with Hurricane Harvey throwing us for a loop including 18 hours of no power and a 2-hour-start delay. Of course we certainly can’t complain about that, given what our poor neighbors in Houston and the coast have gone through.  But also, the teacher situation has been a little tough – Annabelle says her teacher (new to the school this year) “has no sense of humor” and Clementine’s teacher’s mother died right before school started, leaving Clem with a substitute for the first 8 days. Still – they are happy to be back in school, happy to be back with their friends (even more friends, now that the Thornburgh boys have joined Travis Heights!), and starting to get back into the swing of things.

#1 Clementine Update: We’ve finally lost that narwhal tooth!

You can see from the tear that it was slightly traumatic, involving Annabelle’s knee and a whole lot of blood… but she was thrilled with the end result (including $5 bucks from a certain fairy) and her big tooth is already on its way down like a giant iceberg in her little mouth full of chiclets!

#1 Annabelle Update:

Despite complaints about teachers and slight regression on the sleep front (poor kid – this is never going to be easy, is it?), Annabelle has already won the first “Super Citizen Award” of the year (“for her wonderful focus in the classroom”) and has already had something like 6 playdates in 10 school days:

But this month, the biggest update of all is not about a Davis Daughter at all – it’s about the Dada they are extra proud of because he has officially launched his new business!

We celebrated properly at hot rod night at the Top Notch, filling ourselves with milkshakes and fried pies and rockabilly music amid throngs of old, smelly gas guzzling cars.

All in all, the girls are doing as well as ever, excited about all of the fun of fall – picking out Halloween costumes (Clem is pretty firm on a wolf, but Annabelle is fluctuating between an eagle and Katniss Everdeen) and getting back into their favorite activities (including adding Hebrew for Annabelle since she has decided she’d like a bat mitzvah). When they have free time, they spend it building legos or magnatile villages for their stuffies, or reading as usual (Clem just finished Mrs. Frisby and the rats of NIMH; the school librarian has found a new stack for Annabelle), They’ve already planned their joint birthday party (a Project Runway theme where Annabelle’s friends are the designers and Clem’s friends are the models), and have already started lobbying for a pet hamster for Christmas. In other words, things are as crazy as ever at the Davis house, which is perfectly fine with us!

Nine.7

This girl! Fun, Fearless* (*except at night), and Flexible! Case in point – this is her getting comfortable on the couch:

In fact, this girl is so flexible… and strong… and hard working, that we just got word that she passed another level of gymnastics! The instructors at the gym are pretty blown away – most kids spend at least a year in each level and Annabelle has blown through two in half that time. And the skills are legit – like front and back handsprings, big moves on the bars, etc! I don’t know where this is going (especially when she really starts growing) but for now, it’s really great for her body, her mind, her confidence… just maybe not her hair (always tangled) or our living room (constantly strewn with mats and makeshift bars and beams). One direction I’m excited for her to take it (she is very interested) is yoga! While her sleep has much improved – she doesn’t need us upstairs to fall asleep, has survived a couple babysitter experiences and even a nearby sleepover – her therapist thinks yoga could be a great way to calm her mind before bed. In the meantime, Eddie continues to take his job as “bed therapy dog” very seriously. (I know, it’s not an Annabelle pic but I couldn’t resist! Poor Eddie never gets posts)

Along with advancements in sleep/anxiety (though we’ve still definitely got room for improvement) and gymnastics have come some pretty great strides in archery – her other favorite activity! The beginner bow she got as a gift (that started all this) no longer works at her level (since you can’t attach a sight or stabilizer to it) and she has advanced to 13.5 meters, from 9. I’ve advanced along with her, and we have been having a really fun time making this our special Mama-Annabelle activity:

In other words, sometimes it seems like there’s nothing this kid can’t do. With her anxiety (and still some room for improvement on the empathy scale – she is still SO in her own head!) as her only Achilles Heel, she seems to be leaping through life, narrowing her interests in the most interesting ways. For example, now she wants to be a military and spy fashion designer as her future career – designing non-obvious armor and weaponry. She thinks it’s the perfect combination of her warrior nature and her love of inventing/designing/building. In some ways I can’t believe that our little warrior will be starting her final year of elementary school in less than a month, but in others I feel like she is moving so fast, her actual age barely has time to catch up! All I know for sure is we love every bubbly bit of her!

Nine and a Half

At 9.5 years old, this kid has it all….

… but what’s it all about? After a month of working with an awesome therapist on what we thought was just sleep issues, it’s been confirmed that she is having a bit of an existential crisis. Her anxious mind races at night thinking about the fact that at some point, everybody dies, etc. In good news, this seems to be improving… and in better news, she is happy as a lark by day!

Annabelle has had the most fantastic first month of summer. Each week, each camp has been her favorite, and she’s been loving them all! She moved up to the more advanced riding group at her Rio Vista Farm camp and even secured a 1st place medal in the end-of-week show:

And her experience at the camp she’d been begging to go to for years (it starts at age 9)- Camp Halfblood, a literally camp based on the Percy Jackson series of books – was beyond her wildest dreams!

When not at camp, she is totally thrilled as long as she is concocting some scientific slime, coming up with a wild plan, practicing strength training (for gymnastics or to get on her favorite TV show – American Ninja Warrior, tied with Cupcake Wars), or building her latest version of a fort (this was how she watched a movie the other night):

She is also as committed to her friends as ever, and her ability to hang with kids of any age has maybe only grown stronger! While she will forever choose her 9 and 10 year old buds, she jumps at the chance to play with two of her biggest neighbor fans, Travis (age 5) and William (4). She was in heaven (as was he) when William asked to come to her horse show, cheered her on like crazy and even brought flowers:

What a cool age this is. Annabelle is still happy doing little kid stuff, but with such big thoughts. She has one more year in elementary school, but she is also chomping at the bit to attend her first place middle school, Kealing (crossing fingers and toes she gets in – that process starts in 6 months). She has narrowed down her zillion top interests to archery and gymnastics, where she told me her goal is “to graduate from the recreational level to the competitive level one day” (challenging but realistic). She is a shrewd savor and money maker, but she saves up for things like magnetic dart boards, not makeup (and first tries to build one herself). Her fashion sense is a combination of “warrior” and “comfortable” – and has NOTHING to do with brands or labels. And she’s lost all but 3 of her baby teeth… but isn’t quite ready to sport the middle school braces look. Her months as a kid (and not a tween & beyond) are numbered… and we’re savoring every minute of them.

Six.5 and Nine.5

On the cusp of their half-birthdays, these girls have finished up two excellent school years! They are so bright, talented, sociable and fun, we just can’t get enough:

Clementine:

This girl lives in the moment, and her instantaneous ideas and reactions are SO SPOT ON! Her first year at Travis Heights was fantastic in every way. She got top academic marks the whole way, but her behavior went from pretty mediocre (“age appropriate” according to her teacher) to exemplary, improving every quarter. At the very end she started getting in trouble a bit for shenanigans with her bestie Stella, until we had a chat about it, she wrote down on her “to do” list “Be good at school” – and rocked the final weeks of the semester. And then celebrated with Stella and her other favorite new buddies (left to right – Rose, Poppy, Stella and Micah)!

By the end of the year she KNEW she rocked it. Before walking into her awards ceremony, she told us in a matter-of-fact but non-braggy way, “You know, I’m so good at every subject that I hope they just give me the Star Student Award – since I’m running out of bulletin board space.” Sure enough, she got it. She also, after NOT receiving a perfect attendance medal, turned to us and exclaimed, “I think they should do away with those medals. I mean, if you miss school you are already feeling bad because you are sick – why do they need to remind you about it?” And I have to agree with her!

At the end of Kindergarten here’s what we know about Clementine:

  • She loves doing well in class. She tends to get everything right but does NOT like to rush, so the only tests she falls short on are timed speed-tests.
  • She loves music. She plays it constantly, still loves piano (unlike her sister), turns on music the second she gets home from school, and sings along without a hint of embarrassment.
  • She is terrible at saving money. I think right now there’s nobody in this house she DOESN’T owe money to. She loves getting “stuff,” although she isn’t very sentimental about giving or throwing it away when she is done.
  • Speaking of “stuff,” she begs to bring something along with her everywhere – to school, in the car, on an errand, etc. Usually it’s a little stuffy or mini figure of some sort but she’s not discriminating. When we were late to school one day and she BEGGED to grab something I gave her a tiny bottle of Purell that was lying around and she played with it like it was a story character on the playground! She always wants to be able to play some sort of make-believe game, and needs something to direct.
  • Her “meltdown” phase has really completely subsided. She can still huff a little, but is generally quite reasonable and accommodating to others.
  • Still so snuggly!!
Annabelle:
She finished up her first full year with the higher grade and I think it was the best year for her yet. She rocked it at school (A Honor Roll – the big kid version of Star Student), has worked her tail off in gymnastics (passed the “Blue Frog” level in record time due to nonstop home practice!) and archery (has managed to break 200 points with 30 arrows), is obsessed with the Hamilton Soundtrack (as is her sister – they can perform some songs from it, which are hilarious), and is as in love with her friends as always (pictured here are her two besties, Charlotte left and Roisin center):
Despite the soccer pic, Annabelle has decided to hang up her cleats AND her piano books in favor of her new beloved hobbies, as well as a new one that I wasn’t sure she would go for – learning Hebrew! She has decided she’d like to be bat mitzvah’ed, so it’s time to start learning her letters. I think in general Annabelle has “come into her own” quite a bit this year, which seems to be age appropriate. She is putting her foot down on certain subjects (like stopping piano and explaining to people that ask for a hug that she does not like to hug) and also showing a tiny bit of pre-teen attitude here and there (barely noticeable to the outside world, but I’m trying to prepare myself because I know it’ll grow over time!). At the end of 4th grade, here’s more about Annabelle:
  • She is a leader. She doesn’t like to be “on stage” but DOES like running the show and telling people what to do. And most feel very comfortable listening to her.
  • She is still *mostly* a goody two-shoes but not quite as much as before. At the end of the school year, she hid a boy’s toy to punish him from tormenting her and her friends. She got in trouble from the teacher and it left a (barely noticeable) mark on her otherwise perfect report card. She was in pieces, upset that this one act would stop her from getting into her chosen middle school, high school and college (which she chose in 2nd grade), so the good news is that she doesn’t really require any outside discipline!
  • Her fierceness by day has grown stronger, but so has her weakness at night. She now has a fairly severe phobia about being by herself in her room at night, which we’ve just started to tackle with an awesome therapist who is very confident she can help. Some nights she’ll spend up to 4 hours trying to fall asleep – luckily she doesn’t seem to need as much as others her age and handles herself just fine the next day.
  • She is still such a creator. Whether it’s a stop-motion animation of the musical Hamilton but with hamsters instead of people (Hamsterton) or cardboard swords and shields, she is constantly making something (and always making a mess).
  • Not so snuggly. But still so loving and still every bit our little girl.

Nine.4

This girl. There is nothing she cannot do. Except for sleep. Poor kid was falling back into rough sleep patterns at my last update, and got worse before what *hopefully* seems to be slowly getting better the past few days. She simply cannot turn off her brain, especially the scared part that can’t bare the thought of being the last person awake in the house. We’ve been working our way through a highly recommended sleep workbook, and I’ve even donated Eddie to the cause…

The good news is that the lack of sleep doesn’t seem to be affecting her physically – she is CRUSHING it at gymnastics, and has never been stronger! She can now do beautiful one handed cartwheels, 30+ second handstands (and even handstand-pushups against a wall), front and back handsprings and more. She has decided that this will be her last soccer season so she can focus more on her two favorite activities – gymnastics and archery (plus we’ve asked her to keep going on piano a little longer). I’m a huge fan of archery (since I get to shoot with her) and have even dusted off some very old basic gymnastics skills in support, much to her surprise!

Annabelle’s lack of sleep also hasn’t affected her mentally. In any given day she comes up with so many awesome ideas that I forget 90% of them, but just today she hit me with a really good group-texting app idea, a gum dispenser that comes with its own used-gum receptacle, and milk-cubes to cool off but not water down milk, to name a few. I saw her with a hot glue gun, some velcro, cut off ends of too-small tights, a muffin tin and 5 various-sized balls today, too, but there’s nothing strange about that when you live with Annabelle. I think as part of our continuing education this summer I’m going to have to teach her how to file a provisional patent. Between her ideas and Clementine’s potential for charming the VC community, I’m feeling more and more optimistic about Marc and my future 🙂

Nine.3

We need to slow this girl down. She just got her third-quarter report card (all A’s, as usual) and I realized she only has one more year before heading off to middle school. Too fast! But man, is she growing up into an amazing young woman.

Annabelle’s version of heaven would involve gymnastics, archery, cheeseburgers (with onions), a pile of fantasy or “warrior” books (she snuck her way into the Hunger Games trilogy and is loving it), and her best girl friends. And man, she is putting in her 10,000 hours to be a master in all of those categories (okay maybe not the cheeseburgers). She is most often found upside down working on a new gymnastics move – only because we don’t have an archery range at home. And she lives for playdates – cannot get enough of her school besties Roisin, Charlotte, Indigo, and Adeline but is generally happy in any room with any kid within a couple years of her age. And even the most hard-to-befriend kids warm up to her – because how can you not be won over by Annabelle?

Annabelle is still forever dreaming up ideas and projects. On Sunday morning she woke us up by coming into our room and asking if I could help her sew a button because she was designing a wrist guard to wear while holding a shield in case someone’s shot (arrow? nerf bullet?) got around the shield and hit your arm.  And the number of times I’ll be in the middle of something and she’ll ask for twine, or a large adult sock, or a stiff piece of cardboard… it’s endless (and always entertaining). Very few of the ideas are “marketable” (“I want to make hand shoes for people who want to walk down rough terrain on their hands”), so Marc in particular is curious when the ideas will take a more… practical shape. But I figure practicality is easier to learn than creativity!

Speaking of creativity, Annabelle’s mile-a-minute mind is still causing some sleep problems. The other night, after having a funny conversation about data points that look similar but have nothing to do with each other (correlation vs. causality) that included extreme love of cheese with dying by being tangled in your bedsheets, AbCD got so worried about her cheese-loving sister Clementine that she was terrified she’d die that very night. We had to go together into Clem’s room and see her sleeping peacefully (and have another conversation about correlation vs. causality) to calm her anxious brain! Even she thinks her brain is funny sometimes (we can laugh together about the tricks it pulls on her) – even when she can’t control it – which to me is just so completely Annabelle and so completely Awesome. I wouldn’t change a thing (except how quick this childhood is whizzing by). Happy 9.25, sweet fantastic girl.

Nine.2

This kid blows me away nearly every day.

From her deep questions (in the car the other day, “Do you think humans will evolve into a more advanced species? How, and when?”) and thoughts (at breakfast, “I’m never going to be younger than I am right now. Or now. Or now! It’s amazing!”) to her surprise presentations (this week she sent Marc and me a powerpoint – which I didn’t even know she knew how to do – about why we should get her a dwarf hamster), I never know what she’ll come up with next. And I love it.

Annabelle had some big accomplishments the past couple months, like being one of only a few kids accepted into the Duke TIPS program for gifted children, to winning 4th grade gold at the school science fair (and going to her first regional fair), to making great strides with backbends and walkovers in gymnastics (both kids started gymnastics in January), to getting a couple of bullseyes in archery (her new favorite activity). That last piece is especially impressive since we recently took her to the eye doctor and found out her eyesight has deteriorated significantly since we got her new glasses in August. We can’t wait to see how she does with her new glasses at this weekend’s lesson!

Annabelle’s teacher conference a few weeks back was hilarious. We walked in and they immediately started laughing, “BOY do we have a lot to talk about,” they joked – and then went on to say that Annabelle is an absolute joy. She is clearly at a level of intelligence far beyond others, constantly participates (they often say, “does anyone other than Annabelle want to answer this?”) but never calls out the answer or is rude about her proficiency. She always helps others in class, and they generally just worry about how to challenge her. She rushes through work too quickly sometimes and could write with more detail, but all in all they couldn’t stop gushing. It was a pretty proud day for us parents J

Over the past couple months we’ve seen a little moodiness in Annabelle, especially when it comes to putting up with her sister and even in some instances with Diane (she knows she can get away with more with Diane vs. her parents). We hear this is very normal for tweens, and it is pretty minor in the grand scheme, but it serves as a bittersweet reminder that our little girl really is growing up. I can’t believe that we only have one more elementary school year after this one (and the only reason she’s not going to skip it, she told us, is because 5th grade has the best field trips). Also worth noting – according to her 9 year well check, that “growing up” will likely be all the way up to 6 feet – she is getting SO tall! We’re beyond curious and excited about the adult Annabelle will one day become, but it’s all happening WAY too fast for our liking.

NINE

Here she is, our amazing NINE year old!

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And here is a snapshot of our beautiful Annabelle, on the brink of tweendom.

  • She has never been bored, not once in her life. Annabelle’s mind is so busy, active and imaginative that she always has an idea or plan, book she wants to read, new made-up mythical creature she wants to draw, challenge she sets for herself (like learning to draw anime, or perfecting a cartwheel), activity she wants to involve us all in, or research she needs to do. I absolutely love this about her!
  • She is fierce on the outside, sensitive on the inside. Annabelle loves all things fierce – big cats and wolves, warriors (she loves bows and arrows and nerf guns), mythical titans like the Greek and Roman gods, and tribal gear. She turns her nose up at flowers and dresses and needs to be convinced to dance. But I think she has become this deliberately, because inside she is sensitive. Whenever something doesn’t go her way, she does something seemingly “wrong,” or is nervous about trying something new, you can watch the complex reaction. Her fierce exterior has turned her from a teary little thing to a stoic kid who takes deep breaths so she won’t lose her cool. She has intellectually willed herself into being brave.
  • She loves a challenge. I used to think she’d only ever sign up for challenges she knew she’d win, but she has gotten a lot better at losing and improving – everything from the slide races in Hawaii, to drawing contests she sets up for any willing participant, to fitbit goals, to ensuring she’s the top math kid in the 4th grade.  And to making sure she gets into all of the best schools, camps, programs, clubs and opportunities (she’s currently on the tech crew and photojournalism team at school).
  • She is incredibly social. For a girl who used to have trouble fitting in in preschool, Annabelle is the belle of the 4th grade ball. She has a big group of great friends who love her, look up to her, and are generally game for whatever adventure or activity she creates for them. She’s always happiest when there are other kids around (even younger and older) and didn’t want to do any activities in Hawaii without all of the other kids. But she’s also very content to hide in her room reading books for hours, so our little preschool mouse hasn’t completely left the building.
  • She has it all planned out. She wants to go to Kealing for middle school, LASA for high school (these are both the most challenging magnet public schools in Austin), and Stanford for college – because that’s the biggest challenge she can think of. She wants to be an inventor and an architect. This has taken the place of her past planner-behaviors, where she used to map out Halloween costumes and birthday party themes 2-3 years in advance (and generally stick to them!).
  • She needs the numbers. If you tell her we’re heading out “soon” she’ll ask in how many minutes. If you tell her a handful of people are meeting at the park, she’ll ask how many and exactly who.  If you tell her the boat fits more than a dozen people, she’ll ask if you mean 13, 14, 15 or more. If you can’t give her an exact answer, she’ll ask you for how confident you are, in percentage points. It’s safe to say this girl is metrics driven!
  • She’s surprisingly physical. Annabelle loves a long, challenging bike ride, a swimming race, and as much roller skating as she can get. She is constantly practicing gymnastics, enjoys her YMCA soccer team, and is always trying to stretch to become more flexible. For a kid who always seemed so much more cerebral than physical, it’s nice to see her so active and focused on overall strength and health. And she loves her Fitbit from Santa, which ties the cerebral and physical worlds (and challenges) together!
  • She is so GOOD. Annabelle will occasionally get a little wild and crazy when her friends are around, and she doesn’t always listen. She can also be stubborn (and negotiate), and her room is kind of a mess. But in general, she has always been so unbelievably well behaved and simply GOOD – so far beyond any other kid her age (no matter what age she has been). She totally spoiled us as parents (and it makes me feel bad for Clementine whenever Clem behaves age appropriately and we are appalled!). Every parent always wants Annabelle to come over.
  • She is so special. Anyone who gets to know Annabelle can see how unique and wonderful she is. She doesn’t charm people like her sister, but is such a rare, beautifully complex human – a profoundly gifted brainiac who has taught herself social intelligence and leadership skills that she certainly did not have at a young age. A cerebral, self-conscious kid who steels herself to step up to public and physical challenges. And a logical girl who can convince her whole class of the presence and magic of fairies and mythical creatures. She is a gift.

HAPPY NINETH TO OUR BEAUTIFUL ANNABELLE!

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Five.11 and Eight.11

Look at these girls, swinging into their next birthdays as the world seems to turn faster and faster each year.

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I thought things would slow down, but they still seem to be changing in leaps and bounds. Take this kid, for example:

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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:

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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