Six.9

Six and three quarters is looking pretty good on this strong, sweet girl!

Clementine has made it through her first teacher conference and first report card with flying colors – it seems she is really getting the hang of this school thing (aside from being smart as a whip, which we already knew). She spends most of her time giving us this view of her, having devoured another Harry Potter book along with two other series (Dragonsdale and the start of Warriors). Most impressive is her retention – Marc needed a refresher on the LAST Harry Potter book and she gave him the full story! Not bad for a girl who used to tell us she doesn’t have a very good memory.

In general, Clem is really enjoying her academics – especially math. She doesn’t have a lot of patience for her “easy” homework but loves moving ahead on the advanced work she does online. She’s also loving her friends, having formed a pretty tight click with buddies  Stella (the bestie), Micah (who is also in Sunday School) and Poppy (whom she also takes gymnastics with). I’m so curious whether she’ll stay with those girls till the end of her Travis Heights career! Of course, she is eager to follow in Annabelle’s footsteps, which involves also skipping up a year, so that could throw a wrench in the clique.

Clementine especially impressed us this past weekend at the Children’s Business Fair, where she took on all of the booth design and also manned the booth, giving pitches if Annabelle wasn’t available to, and doing a ton of impressive math in her head. And the hard work paid off! The girls made over $300, which means even after paying back supply and booth costs, they are each netting >$70! This is more cash than Clem has ever had, and she is determined to spend it quickly (yes, she is the opposite of her saver sister on this one):

We do love watching how similar (with the reading and the academics) and different (with the spending and the general innate empathy) Clem is from Annabelle. We found it especially funny to listen to their teachers at the recent conferences. While both reviews were glowing, Annabelle’s one area for improvement (other than punctuation) was in trying to be more thorough and not rush through, whereas Clem’s was to try to speed up and get things done instead of focusing on slowly making them PERFECT. Of course, we think everything about this girl is damn near perfect…

 

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!

Six.7

This girl. So delicious. As delicious as a giant ice cream cone on a 106 degree day! (That is no exaggeration. Holy summer, Austin!). But somewhat more manageable:

The heat was pretty rough, but luckily we opted for indoor camps in July – gymnastics camp, Summer Wonders (the camp for gifted kids where Clementine studied textiles and songwriting), and art camp. She liked them all, but art camp was the favorite of the month – she LOVES getting to dig into art projects and take her time carefully coloring and constructing!

One of Clementine’s personal themes, in general, is taking her time. She is not a good hurrier, and really doesn’t like it. Even in school, she does phenomenally on every single test/assignment/etc. except for the one math level-tester where the goal is to complete as many math problems as possible in the time allotted. She gets it all right… but only gets to about half of it. She can get caught up on a drawing, lego project or book for hours on end. In fact, over the past month she decided that E.B. White was her favorite author and devoured Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Webb and Trumpet of the Swan in a matter of days!! I love that she read the old Stuart Little that I read growing up. It fell apart by the end but served its duty 🙂

Clementine came out with so many thoughtful statements this month (both true and untrue), I really need to write them down. She told me that chickens can’t lay eggs unless they’re married, for example. And I love the big words she uses, especially when she uses them wrong (last night she told me what “expires” her to create the runway looks she sketches while watching her new favorite show, Project Runway Junior). And when I was shocked walking into the bathroom after she controlled her own bubble bath, she gave me this matter-of-fact “It’s soap and water, it’s not like you need to clean it up” statement that was, well, good perspective at that moment:

Plus – just – that face! I can’t take it! We truly cannot get enough of this kid.

Six and a Half

Here’s our wise, empathetic, snuggly but fierce little soul, halfway through 6!She is having the time of her life this summer – from our awesome Key West trip (where she bravely snorkeled, kayaked, and sampled many different key lime pies) to Tinkering camp (she loves using power tools!), Nature camp (dinosaurs!), and Adventure Camp (picture daily trips to water parks, natural caves and bouncy houses). I mean, who wouldn’t be happy with that schedule?

The only bad part? Required sunscreen. Here’s hoping that by 7 she’ll master both standing still during application, and self-re-application halfway through camp (her poor little under-eyes are so red!):

Clementine is loving a less academic summer, but is still occasionally practicing her math, and of course reading nonstop. She’s on Book 5 of Harry Potter, but taking occasional breaks for other, shorter books (loving Island of the Blue Dolphins right now) and to read to her stuffies (this is how I found her the other morning):

She has also gotten even more into Hamilton (if that’s possible) so I’ve been teaching her a bit about that time in the country’s history between songs (“What DID happen in the room where it happened?”). If Hamilton isn’t available, she’ll readily sing, dance and jump around to any music that is – she is SUCH a music kid! We’ve stopped piano due to our crazy summer schedule but she is excited to get back into it – we weren’t sure if she would be since Annabelle has decided to quit, but we’re so glad she is!

As for the summer activities we have been continuing (and she still loves), swimming and gymnastics have been great for her, especially to build up strength in that little body of hers. Her dream is to be able to bike to school in the fall, so we’ve been practicing a lot. Her only challenge at this point is getting up hills, so we are working on building up those leggies!

That smile pretty much sums up the joy in this girl that has us all so smitten. She remains deeply empathetic, forgiving (because parents screw up things like forgetting snack in camp bags, or bringing a gymnastics leotard to swim lessons on occasion) and thoughtful, while also being full of energy and actively engaged in every experience and conversation. She still occasionally digs her heels in and gets frustrated with the world, but she’s remarkably reasonable these days – a trait that has come with maturity. After all, she is six and a HALF.

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.

Six.4

The number of people who come up to me to just to tell me they can’t get enough of this child. About half the time I offer her to them, free of charge, because her charm is nearly equalled by her ability to get on your every nerve… but then she squeezes me tight, sings me a song with feeling or best yet, pinky promises me that she’s going to try to behave. Or she just slays me with the wisest, most insightful comments… that I fall for her all over again.

Last weekend in the midst of what can only be called a disastrous trip to the Texas coast (picture vomiting, sand fleas, loud rednecks speeding through the sand in pick-ups…), at one point we had retreated to the pool and Clementine had to go potty. I went with her, standing by her bathroom door while still watching Annabelle play in the pool only 30 feet away. Clem declared instantly that she “could tell this one was gonna take a while” and decided she could hold it because she didn’t want Annabelle to feel “unprotected” at the pool. I assured her that Annabelle was in full view AND is a great swimmer and Clem replied that while she knew Annabelle was safe, she might not *feel* safe, and since Annabelle gets nervous sometimes she didn’t want to be the cause of that. My sweet empath.

With only a month left in school, Clementine has become very close with another smart, sassy force of a 6-year-old, Stella. Their nonstop plotting and giggling has led to a few disciplinary actions, and has also led to some challenges with other kids. Clem told me recently that she loves Stella and Micah and they love her but Micah and Stella don’t love each other – she told me it’s tough to be in the middle of a “love triangle.” 

It’s the stuff of a pop song, and Clem would know, because she plays music CONSTANTLY. She has built a 35 song playlist that she puts on nonstop unless we forbid it, and while I”m sick of every single song on there I’m impressed with its variety – everything from Taylor Swift and Katy Perry to Florence and the Machine, the Hamilton soundtrack, Hedwig’s theme (classical), reggae, and some terrible kids’ songs she learned for the school concert. Speaking of which, I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re watching Clem on stage regularly once she gets to middle & high school. While Annabelle prefers to be behind the curtain, Clementine’s artistic talent, passable singing voice and general charm seem perfect for school theater – and I cannot wait to watch her shine.

Six.3

Look at this six-and-a-quarter-year-old. While some of her behavior reflects her mother as well as these shades do, so much of Clementine is so uniquely Clementine. Mostly, the conversations. Tonight she was trying to work out how she could have a baby that’s “made from her” while still marrying her friend Emilia. I dodged the details, but this is what she thinks about before bed (when not going over every little detail of the latest Harry Potter chapter)! At dinner she talked about wanting to visit the Great Wall of China (but flying around the earth to get there, not digging through its core because that’d kill her), and at breakfast we discussed the differences between coincidence, correlation and causality. In other words, every conversation with this child is delightful. Which is not to say that SHE is always delightful – she still whines and blames and refuses to answer you when she wants to (after Spring Break she yelled at me, “WHY did you make us have such an adventurous trip, didn’t you KNOW that we were going to be EXHAUSTED when we got back?”).

In fact, this girl is reluctant to go to school any morning, but that’s just because she isn’t a morning person. It turns out that she’s quite the academic! This last report card was pretty awesome – all 4s (like A’s) in academics and all 4s except for a 3 on the behavior front! She got the 3 in “Respects self and others.” I’m just going to guess that it’s the “others” part that was lacking here, because Clementine has plenty of self-respect! Here she is learning to be a badass from an awesome book called, “Bedtime Stories for Rebel Girls”

Clementine continues to be more academic and artistic than she is athletic, although she continues to improve in swimming and is really enjoying the new little after school gymnastics program she and her sister have started going to. Her best moves are more theater than coordination, but it’s worth it to ask her to demonstrate her “flying butt slap” for you. Mostly, she’s active when it interests her. For example, she wept when we told her we had a steep mile hike out of Carlsbad Caverns (but then did great), but couldn’t get enough of running up and down the sand dunes at White Sands National Monument!

In general, Clementine is an absolute joy to be around… when things are the way she wants them. We’ve given up on forcing meat at dinner, for example, alternating between a cheese quesadilla and scrambled eggs (and lots of veggies) for her in the interest of a more peaceful evening. I even ordered special socks without seams so we could stop our daily 10 minute morning “my socks don’t feel right” ritual. We spent years trying to get her to bend to our will and improve her ability to “deal,” but frankly, life is a lot more fun and interesting now that we’ve started picking our battles more. She doesn’t get away with rudeness or leaving messes, but we’ve come to accept her quirks. The truth is, this kid is a natural born leader. And I look forward to the day when she is running the show and has actual hired help to scramble her eggs and remove all lumps and seams from her socks!

Six.2

I don’t think I’ve known a six year old that was a bigger combination of sweet, smart and sass as our girl.

SWEET
All you need is a Clementine hug to know what I mean by this. But, for example, she also ALWAYS says “I’ll take the smaller half” when she splits things, even her favorite treats (chocolate, cookies, candy – a note that she still doesn’t like anything donut-related, not even Café du Monde beignets!). And when we told her a sitter was going to take care of her during the school day while she had the flu, her response was, “Yay I love Emily!” and then a second later, “But I’m really worried that I’m going to get her sick!”

SMART
Clementine is really starting to blow us away both in her math abilities (mental math that comes up in conversation as well as the Dreambox online math she does) and especially in her reading. Over the past couple months, she has become OBSESSED with Harry Potter. We read it together before bed, but she reads extra chapters after we tuck her in and has even started bringing it to school (her kinder teacher told us she has never had to say to a kindergartener during recess, “Put the book down and go play!”). We were skeptical that she was comprehending everything when she read on her own but she has proven it by telling us what happened in the parts we weren’t there for. Oh – she also got first place in her first science fair – her analysis of cat, dog and human hair of all ages was fantastic!

SASS
Let’s just say that the first couple weeks of January were… rough. That girl had more tantrums and meltdowns in a couple weeks than she’d had in the past 6 months! Luckily this appears to have been a short-lived phase (the bummer of getting back into the school year after too much winter vacation fun? She also shot up an inch or two in that time, so it could’ve been growth-spurt related). Now, to see her sass you just need to watch her walk. I don’t know where she got her little waggle, but I do know that neither Annabelle nor I (nor any of my sisters or my mom) have ever managed to pull it off!

To focus on one more “S” word, man is this kid special. It was so nice to hear her kindergarten teacher talking about her at our teacher conference a few weeks back. Ms. Dunbar kept using the word, “Amazing” to describe both her academics and the insightful participation she brings to class. She also said Clementine’s behavior & listening has improved considerably since the beginning of the year, which we were a little nervous about (we’re assured it is “age appropriate”)! She mentioned that once Clem matures a bit (like in the next year or two) she could ABSOLUTELY handle skipping up a grade like her sister, which is something we won’t push but will keep an eye out for in the future.

SIX

Here she is, all 6 years of her. Amazing.

15800226_10154689453390605_2881782890318825201_oAnd here is a snapshot of the Amazing 6 Year Old Clementine:

  • She is our empath, and looks out for every living creature. She’s the first to run up to someone who is hurt. She has to put every broken flower in water. And when she got a fish tank from Santa, instead of picking out sparkly fluorescent gravel and accessories (as is her style), she created a very natural looking habitat (so the fish wouldn’t be sad that they weren’t in a lake or river anymore.” She still wants to be a marine biologist when she grows up (I think she’s been saying this for 2+ years now).
  • She is affectionate and loving, to a fault. She can’t resist hugging and snuggling up against friends, family, parents of friends, teachers, etc. She can see a good person from a mile away and “attacks.” It’s who she is at her core and is incredibly sweet and endearing… though in public school, we’re having to work on a little more “ask first” and “keep your hands to yourself.”
  • She is thoughtful and wise. She’s smart too (the best reader and math kid in the class!), but her mind goes beyond that. She’s the first to point out, when other kids are talking about marrying each other, that chances are none of them have met the person they are going to marry yet. She (innocently) pokes holes and finds mistakes in Santa’s delivery of gifts. She gives “sandwich feedback” (good, then bad, then good) when she has feedback for someone, because she understands the importance of delivery.
  • She is self-confident, not self-conscious. She’ll wear a ballgown whenever allowed, no matter how inappropriate it may seem. She notes that while other kids want hair they don’t have (curly kids want straight hair, etc.), she has “the exact perfect hair for her.” She points out her unibrow but has absolutely no problem with it. I wish I had more of this in me! I’ll also note that she’s not a showman – she doesn’t have a desire to be the center of attention at all. But it doesn’t scare her if it happens naturally.
  • She doesn’t stop moving. Her legs, her body, her mouth! Even when others would be silent, she makes funny little sounds – while you’re talking or reading to her, while she’s eating, etc. She stands up from her chair a thousand times at every meal. She takes her time bringing up topic after topic after topic – mostly observations and fairly deep questions. She’s a great conversationalist. And her preferred mode of transportation is a scooter (even from one room to the next) or roller skates. Or on Eddie.
  • She can focus when she wants to. The only time she DOES sit still is on arts and crafts projects. She’ll spend an hour coloring or designing the perfect card. She loves to draw and has some real talent for it! She also has a way with color. Currently, her favorite color is fuchsia. She’ll also sit on the toilet for half an hour, singing songs – usually when we are in a rush.
  • She subsists on air. She does not like meat, or any food where ingredients are mixed together. Aside from snacks like crackers and bites of cheese or nuts, her favorite food by far is red pepper. She also usually likes pizza, chicken nuggets (the only meat she doesn’t make faces at) and plain buttered pasta. She’ll swallow our nightly meals of salmon, shrimp, grilled chicken, pork, steamed veggies, etc. but she’s not a fan of eating in general.
  • She gets afraid and shy when you least expect it. Our budding marine biologist hated putting her face in the water to snorkel and look at the fish in Hawaii. She REALLY doesn’t like talking to Santa. But then she’ll hop on a scary ride or sidle up to strangers at the airport, no problem. It’s hard to tell when she’ll be social and brave and when she just wants my lap.
  • She can be stubborn and fiery, especially when she’s tired. Clementine’s emotions are just below the surface, and she has trouble not whining or crying when she’s offended (she is easily offended) or thinks something is not fair. And yet, she’s a terrible listener, so we find that we do need to get pretty stern to get her to do things like sit at the table, finish her meal, get ready for bed, put on her shoes, etc. I’m sure there’s a better way to “parent” this and that it’s very age appropriate, but it’s frustrating in an otherwise very harmonious house.
  • She charms all in her path. This girl is so special that sometimes I feel like I’m managing her fan club. And the fans come in all ages – from kids younger than she is to a whole slew of adults! A combination of her affectionate nature, engaging conversation style and adorable physical presence, no doubt. And a trait that will clearly come in handy as she grows from the delicious 6 year old she is today to a full grown human. She is a gift to all who know her, and we are so proud to be her parents!

HAPPY SIX, OUR DARLING CLEMENTINE!

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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:

davis_family-16

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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