Six years ago I had a baby girl.
She turned into a pretty cute one year old.
(And don't worry, she has one year old pics with our traditional sign, but she isn't smiling in any of them - or even looking at the camera for that matter - so I went with this one instead.)
I've spent the last week trying to decide if the last six years have been the quickest six years of my life, or the slowest. So much "living" has been condensed in the last six years that it's somehow both.
The above picture made me laugh. I guess 2 year old Anabelle wasn't that interested in posing with her sign.
Okay, so maybe a LOT of her two year old pictures make me laugh. I haven't looked at them in years. Apparently, the faces she makes at the age of 6 are just the more grown up version of the faces she was making at the age of 2.
Anabelle has always seemed older than her actual age, and that was especially true around the age of three. I often catch myself thinking that Georgia seems younger than she is, but it's because I'm always mentally comparing her to how Anabelle was at three - completely unfair, I know. Also not intentional and incredibly hard not to do when your kids are the same gender.
By three we were seeing the super emotional side of our second child. All emotions. She was stubborn, she was sweet, and, wow, could she cry over anything and everything.
She is still ALL of those things.
But at six she is better at controlling her haywire emotions. Or maybe that's just the difference between boys and girls. I don't know. Braden is still probably our most sensitive kid, but Anabelle is the one most likely to cry over any perceived slight.
I'm looking forward to the age of 6 with Anabelle. It was a good year with Braden, so I'm expecting...hoping...for the same with her. All the awesomeness of having a big kid in the house, but without the snarky attitude that we now get out of our first child.
But don't get me wrong, the kid can still be a big ol' bag of grumpiness - as evidenced by the fact that she has gotten very little good sleep over the last week and I'm getting the brunt of that every morning. The problem? She STILL coughs like a 50 year old chain smoker when she gets a cold or ANY drainage in her system. I just keep thinking that surely, one of these days, that cough will get better. But...I can't say that it has. Not really. The other night I listened to her body clenching outbursts, because you know, as her mother, I can't sleep when she's having one of those episodes. Seriously, every twenty seconds for 30 - 45 minutes. Then she stops for half an hour or so, but it always starts back up again despite my efforts to help her out. I guess I still have hope that she'll outgrow the severity of her coughing. In the meantime, it's pretty easy to forgive her grumpiness knowing how exhausting her nights have been lately.
Anabelle is in kindergarten this year. It's full day kinder, so her first year of doing a full school day. Last year in Georgia she was doing gymnastics. We didn't let Braden get involved in extra-curricular activities until the end of first grade. That was intentional. I wanted him to understand that school comes first. You show me that you can handle a full day at school and keep up good grades and a good mood...then we'll talk about adding in more activities. But last year I let that slide a bit with Anabelle. She did fine, but she was definitely tired after working in two nights a week of gymnastics with her pre-k schedule. For that reason, I've held back on letting her start any activities since we moved to Oklahoma. Master kindergarten, my sweet girl, and then we'll talk.
Maybe in the spring I'll let her start something.
As far as kindergarten goes, she's doing incredibly well. Appears to be a little angel in class (you better be). Her teacher had a baby the week before we did her conference, so I don't know much about where she stands academically. Let me rephrase that...I know she's doing fine and isn't struggling with anything. I just don't know details.
I do know that her reading has improved exponentially in the last month, just based on reading with her at home. Right now her reading is probably a semester ahead of where Braden was at this age.
We noticed between the age of 2 and 3 that Anabelle picks up on things really easily. That hasn't changed. I hate to admit it, but her recent reading progress is mainly due to her own tenacity and intelligence...and not because I've been working with her (other than reading nightly). She really spoils us...we don't have to work very hard with her. Well...maybe with her behavior, but definitely not academically.
This year I've learned that Anabelle is really good with a baby. If I need someone to safely hold Lola, I call Braden, but if I need someone to play with and entertain her, I call Anabelle.
She's still very girly. She's been begging me all year to let her pick out a "party" dress for her birthday, so two weeks ago we went shopping. The picture above is what she chose. Pink and tulle and sparkles. And this is what we settled on AFTER I talked her down from the first dress she picked out. (Something involving fake fur and glitter...I just couldn't do it.) Have I ever mentioned that I avoided buying pink things during her pregnancy? Right. So naturally this is the direction she skips down every chance she gets. But of course, on her, I love it.
She still loves My Little Pony, but she balances it out with a mad obsession over Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. When we went school clothes shopping this year, she was super pissed off that they didn't make TMNT underwear for girls.
This year I've noticed that Anabelle is becoming more and more of a rule follower. That comes straight from me. And I've also managed to turn her into a tooth brushing Nazi. The kid will NOT go to bed until the toothbrush has been employed - even if she was dead asleep in the car and you're trying to convince her that just this once, it'll be okay if she goes straight to bed.
She's still our best sleeper (aside from the coughing). It's not unusual for her to put herself to bed if it's past 8pm and she's tired. She has some of her Aunt Brandy in her!
She also like to talk in different voices. Sometimes it's cute. Sometimes it annoys the crap out of me. I get the feeling that she's picked up on this from some of the other girls in her class.
But mostly this year, I've noticed that her sweet side is at the forefront of her demeanor. I keep reminding myself to enjoy it. She actually wants to be with me. She wants to cuddle. And she says I love you because she actually means it and isn't trying to wiggle out of a punishment. I need the reminder because I'm not a very demonstrative person. And after being with an infant all day, I'm pretty "touched out" by the time evening rolls around.
But I know Anabelle won't be this way forever...won't be six forever...so I'm enjoying the cuddles while I have them.
Happy Birthday, Bellie Boo!