Seven.3 and Ten.3

What a month! I’m a little late in posting – my excuse is 2 San Francisco trips, a girls weekend in Dallas, a nasty cough/bug, and most importantly, our first Davis Family international trip! Before I get into the details for each kid, just a note about that trip – what an adventure! I kind of love that the girls’ first passport stamp was not to some resort or English speaking vacation. We hit the experience head on visiting one of the largest cities in the world, full of beauty and danger and confusion and simplicity – Ciudad de Mexico, or CDMX as we now know it. And yes – Clementine survived only on the cheese inside of quesadillas (she didn’t even like real Mexican tortillas or… gasp… churros!), yes – we may have briefly found ourselves in the middle of a playground gang fight (note – some playgrounds are friendlier than others), and yes – Annabelle got an insane nosebleed in the middle of the city that actually shot blood out of her eyeball (did you know how high altitude and polluted CDMX is?). BUT we also climbed the 3rd tallest pyramid in the world, spent the afternoon on a canal “party boat” in Xochimilco, haggled our way through many mercados, ate some ridiculous $1 tacos, and practiced our Spanish to hilarious but generally useful effect.
Now onto these individual wonders:

Clementine, Seven and a Quarter
Keeping with the Mexico City intro, I was really impressed with how Clem handled this trip. She walked and climbed and rarely complained about being tired or subsisting on cheese or not getting certain souvenirs or treats. The Thornbughs joined us, and when those boys had near daily meltdowns about things not going their way, she rolled with it. There was the occasional tear or whine, but for the most part she knew her responsibility to “suck it up” and keep on keeping on.

In other Clementine news, this happened!! It’s a very light prescription, really only needed to watch movies or shows but since it was covered by insurance, we decided to get a pair made. She loves them!

On a more social/emotional front, Clem has been having a little trouble with some friends lately. Two examples – she has one friend who is a classic “mean girl” and queen bee – and calls Clem her best friend. This is EXACTLY what happened to Annabelle in K, 1 and 2 and is one of the reasons we were excited to have her skip a grade. This girl makes Clementine say she likes her best, stops talking to her for no reason, and even secretly causes damage to her things when she comes for playdates! We’ve spoken to the teacher and to other parents who have had trouble with her, but it really weighs on Clementine because when things are good, they get along great! We’re hoping the situation will diffuse and we can make sure not to be in the same class for 2nd grade, but the complex social conversations coming out of it have shown a real struggle, especially because Clementine is such an empath.

Another example is that some boys she was playing with stuck a penny in an electrical outlet, causing flames and scorching! The boys’ parents scolded them, but Clementine was horrified and told me it brought up “gramma feelings” of how worried and scared she was that her buddy could’ve gotten really hurt. She was so scarred by the experience that she asked if she could draw a picture of what happened to get out her feelings. How new age is that?

I don’t remember 7 being so complicated. But I’m so proud of our wise girl for navigating the emotions and intricacies as they come!

Annabelle, Ten and a Quarter

I know I’m late on the post, but if I hadn’t waited I wouldn’t be able to announce that Annabelle just lost her LAST BABY TOOTH. Everyone celebrates the first one, but the last one definitely brings mixed emotions! I guess our baby really is growing up. She even fit into grown-up glasses at Warby Parker!

Speaking of growing up, the most anticipated decision of the year has been made – Annabelle is headed to Kealing Magnet Middle School in the fall! Kealing is the most academically rigorous school, focusing on all subjects but known for their math and science opportunities. Marc and I are sure this is the right school for Annabelle, but it has been a tough process because most of her best girl friends are going to different schools (a lot of them going to the same one). FOMO is TOUGH at this age, but she is handling it well.

In other growing up news, Annabelle just had the “puberty talk” with her friends (it’s not taught in Texas public schools so one of the moms organized it on the weekend). YIKES! Granted, most of these girls are a little older since she skipped a grade, but still… it’s on the horizon. She has even started wearing athletic bras under her clothes! Ack!

All that said, she’s still mostly the quirky kid we know so well. For example, she’s currently on a mission to get a pet rat, and you should see the work she is putting in (stepping up chores, giving use presentations, trying to train Eddie). Our current party line is “no more living things till the fish die.” After that, we’ll move to “no more living things till we see whether you actually have time to care for them in middle school.” I’m not sure where we’ll go from there. I hate to say it, but her lobbying has started to convince me! That should show you what a great negotiator she is:

We’ll see where that goes. In the meantime, we are busy wrapping up the school year (girls), working our tails off (parents), and looking forward to all of the chaos and fun the summer will bring!

Seven.2 and Ten.2

The Davis Daughters (and their parents) have been busy as ever this past month! Here’s the update:

No major surprises from this love bug, but she is growing into her older self so beautifully. Her teacher conference was adorable this month. Ms. Nuncio basically started laughing about how wonderful she is. She’s about 3 grades ahead of the next-nearest 1st grader in Math, and is even doing really well in her Spanish reading and writing. When we mentioned that Clementine was a little bummed she hasn’t yet won a “super citizen” award, the teacher laughed – the problem is that Ms. Nuncio tends to award that prize to a kid who is uncharacteristically great one week and Clementine is ALWAYS great. When we asked Clem if she wanted us to discuss anything specific at her conference, she told us that her worksheets are way too easy and she’d like harder ones, but she understands “Ms. Nuncio has a LOT of kids to work with so I don’t want to make extra work for her – you can tell her not to worry about it.” Ms. Nuncio laughed even harder at this – she’s just so aware of and empathetic toward those around her. And ethical! The other day she told me, “Mama, Diane told me not to tell you something but I just CAN’T keep it from you – we always get hot cocoa while Annabelle’s at her Hebrew lesson.” Not the best secret keeper, but an A for honesty!

Of course, Clementine isn’t ALL roses. She still gets bored and impatient when we’re doing something she isn’t keen on (like staying at a restaurant when she’s done eating), especially if she’s tired. There is only one brand of socks and shoes that doesn’t drive her crazy, and lots of clothes are too scratchy for her to wear. And she still is terrible about trying new foods (or any foods mixed with other foods, or involving a condiment of any kind), which gets annoying. And she still gets distracted SO easily when you ask her to complete a task. If I didn’t call up “Almost ready?” 3+ times while she’s getting ready for bed, she would spent an hour doing everything BUT get ready, forgetting that this was the task at hand.

But all in all… she’s the best 🙂

And then there’s this one:

Annabelle’s teacher conference was equally, comically wonderful. Same thing – Mr. Bustillos laughing, saying there’s really nothing negative he can say about her. Other parents telling me they spent a long time talking about Annabelle at THEIR conference, as a role model for their children. At school she is a leader, a participator, a great friend, a top student, and just FUN. She’s still not the empath that her sister is (she is SO stuck in her own head), but she gets better at this each year.

Annabelle always dives deep into her interests, and lately the top two (while gymnastics and reading are still up there) are fashion design and archery. She finally took a 2-part tunic-making class at JoAnn fabrics and learned everything that actually goes into garment making. It was humbling (I think she had to create and scrap her collar piece 4 times and needed a LOT of instructor help), but it did not discourage her – she’s sewing more than ever now!

In Archery, being “in her own head” has definitely been a great thing, as she advanced into the 18 meter class last week – indoor tournament distance. This is actually a really big deal according to others at the club. She is one of the youngest ever to make it to this distance (you’re not allowed to even start archery till age 8), and the coaches are very excited about her progress and potential. They think if she’s really serious, she could work toward a national ranking, want us to get her a good bow, want her to start coming 3-4 days/week, and want her to enter her first tournament in November! Of course, this is all exciting, but also expensive and logistically challenging. So we’ve been talking with her about it – does she like it more than all of her other activities? Does she really WANT to put in that time? Is she ready to be as patient as you need to be at this level? We’re giving her a few months to figure this out before we start investing too much time and money…. so stay tuned!

 

This next month should be a big one Chez Davis. On Saturday we’ll take the kids to Mexico City for spring break – their first international trip. And by the time we get back, Annabelle will have heard from the middle schools she applied to! Stay tuned…

Seven.1 and Ten.1

I’m a day late and a dollar short (or at least, only offering a short blog post since last month’s were big) but at long last, here is a monthly for both of our astounding children! In good news, the wait means you get actual DATA about these girls, since today was their Well Child Checkup. As per usual, Annabelle is off the charts for height (~98th percentile) and Clementine is at the 80th percentile, and they both are at a healthy weight.

Clementine:

The things that come out of this girl’s mouth. I’m going to just copy/paste a couple that Marc recently put on Facebook, but there are dozens more to choose from:

Clem (after hearing Siri completely botch adding dish detergent to my shopping list): “I bet we’ll be dead by the time robots destroy the world.”

Clem: “I never thought I’d say this, but I don’t like these French fries.”
Me (not really thinking): “OK, eat 3 more and you can be done.”
Clem: “and I never thought YOU would ever say that!”

The quick wittedness was born in her, but it has to be helped by the reading. We now have to force Clem to go to bed ~3 hours after we tuck her in because she cannot stop devouring books. Getting her an online subscription to the Austin Library (the girls’ favorite place) means she can download books at any hour, and she does. We’re hoping soon she’ll learn how to gauge when she is tired, because there have been some ZOMBIE mornings after reading marathons (that we only discover the next morning because WE’VE gone to bed).

Reading is clearly Clem’s superpower (like her sister), but she seems good at just about everything in school. She won the Science Fair (1st grade) by a landslide (“Turbo Taters: How many potatoes would it take to power a car?”), and here she was proudly displaying her mid-year “Star Student” award – given to the top 2 kids in each class:

Annabelle:

I got a call from the principal the other day – Annabelle had invented a game called “Humanback riding” at recess and had dozens of kids participating (even boys!), which her old teacher didn’t mind. Well, her new teacher apparently found the activity dangerous and told the kids they had to stop “because if you get hurt your parents will think it’s my fault.” Annabelle decided to “fix” this problem by creating forms parents could sign saying it wouldn’t be Ms. Salinas’s fault if something happened. Frankly if I’d thought about it, I would have asked more questions before signing the form (there was a lot going on that day – it was also science fair, work was crazy, Grammagarmpacharlie were visiting, etc.) but I just went ahead and signed it and next thing I knew, the principal was asking me to “please respect the teacher’s wishes.” Oops.

Along with Humanback riding, Annabelle has been even more gung ho about fashion design lately.  I helped her rearrange her room to turn her nook into a sewing studio, and she has already made herself some clothes (including a neoprene cape she wore to school). She is very reluctant to use a pattern (much like she usually refuses to bake with a recipe) but we are forcing her to take a class at JoAnn Fabrics in a few weekends, to save her from herself (we try to explain that she needs to know the basics before improvising, but this is not in her personality).

Annabelle also continues to rise to the top of her class (5th grade version of Star Student is A Honor Roll). In about 6 weeks. we’ll know whether all of this excelling gets her into one of her top choice magnet schools. Applications are in, so now we just wait!

Time seems to be flying by as these girls are in such a beautiful age sweet spot. Funny and fun and interesting and loving, and very rarely challenging. It feels like they are growing up fast, though. The other day, they wanted to hold a meeting – because booking one of the state-of-the-art meeting rooms was one of the few things they HADN’T taken advantage of in the new library. So Annabelle booked the room but I had a surprise for them – an actual topic to meet about:

“Where should we go for Spring Break?”

The day before, we’d had a surprise – our house was booked for 4 days of SXSW (which meant we both have the budget to travel and are required to vacate). With March coming up soon, all flights booked or crazy expensive out of Austin, and limited budget/time to do something interesting, Marc and I figured out 3 options that we posed to the girls – see the Texas sites (NASA museum in Houston, Doseum in San Antonio, etc.), visit Uncle Robbie in LA, or take our first international trip to Mexico City (flying out of Houston). Marc projected images as I explained – LA would not include Disney (budget!), and Mexico would have to be a real “big kid” trip – seeing the stuff we ALL wanted to see, not going to trampoline parks and pools and zoos for kids). Texas would include staying at fun hotels with pools.

To our surprise, they dismissed us as they discussed amongst themselves (Gramma & Grampa Charlie got to be flies on the wall). When we returned, they’d written up their own questions on the whiteboard – “What will Clem eat?” for example. The whole process was adorably grown up, and we were thrilled when they decided on Mexico City. And even more, we are thrilled that our kids are at an age where an adventurous trip somewhere only Annabelle speaks the language feels totally manageable! Clementine will probably spend 4 days eating nothing but tortillas, but that’s part of the adventure 🙂

 

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!

 

Six.11 and Nine.11

<WARNING! PHOTOS ARE NOT UPLOADING INTO THE BLOG! YOU’LL HAVE TO JUST PICTURE THEIR ADORABLENESS ON YOUR OWN….>

I can’t believe these girls are on the brink of 7 and 10! It’s been a very busy time to say the least (prepping for the holidays, Marc spending time with Grampa Skip in Ithaca as he recovers from his stroke, me organizing an “adopt a family” program for 50 families at the school, some giant Kinsa projects and new Moment cars to tackle, etc.). So I’m going to keep this one short and save the rest for the big birthday notes J

Clementine at Six.11 is a reading machine! She walks around, up and down stairs and crossing streets (yes we’re working on this) with her nose in a book all the time, and is often found simply sitting on her bed to take on another chapter. This month her favorites were Erin Hunter’s “Warriors” books. Clem also said goodbye (with a little help from us) to two more teeth this month! This is especially good because she was growing “shark teeth” behind them. I was SURE she was going to follow in my footsteps and need all her baby teeth pulled, and am so glad she hasn’t had to yet.

Annabelle at Nine.11 has finally found her groove with her 5th grade teachers and has been killing it academically, often being the only one in class to pull off 100’s on big tests. We think she feels the heat of middle school magnet applications (we’ve now visited all the ones she’s applying to and she’ll complete the applications over winter break) and is really rising to the occasion. She also continues to amaze us with her daily (at least!) projects. Examples: I refused to buy an advent calendar (this Jew has to draw the line somewhere!) so she made an advent totem pole. I dragged her to Clem’s 30 minute swim lesson and she used it to create a lego stop motion animation. She really wanted a Santa hat so she made it herself out of paper, cotton balls, hot glue and a headband between dinner and bedtime.

These girls are on the brink of so much. It’s sort of unfathomable to me how big (and incredible) they are getting, but I’ll leave the sap till next month! For now, happy “almosts” to our two favorite humans on earth!

Six.10

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.