Things have been so busy here lately (so much for a summer break!) that I let late June – and July! – come and go without acknowledging a milestone. Avery is six now, and an update is in order… (Note that I’ll probably stop doing this eventually. But since I did one for Zoe when she was six, and – well, fair’s fair.)
I’ve been thinking a lot about how to sum up Avery these days. The truth is that I can use similar words - sweet, silly, funny, happy - to describe her as I did last year. But what makes her a bit complex these days is that she has pretty different public and private personas. At home and at camp, and certainly in new settings, she comes across as a little reserved and serious. (I’ve heard the word “shy” and the term “slow to warm up” in regards to her more times than I can count.) At home, though, she is larger than life: bouncing up and down the halls, singing, dancing, acting completely silly. (I often tell people that she’s our wild child, while Zoe is our more laid-back, serious one.) She loves hamming it up, so much so that Q and I call her our little diva. And though she may be hesitant to, say, raise her hand in school, at home she comes across as a natural-born performer.
Speaking of school, she wrapped up a successful year of kindergarten just says before her birthday. She loved her teacher - a grandmotherly type who has been teaching kindergarten for more than 30 years and has an amazing way with kids – and she developed strong friendships, especially with two little girls. She seemed to like the work she did in class, with her teachers reporting that she has “a strong desire to do well in her work” and that “her confidence and ability to work independently have grown tremendously throughout the year.” We have noticed at home that she tends to get frustrated if she doesn’t “get it” (be it a math concept or a new word while reading) right away – so we always try to do a little confidence boosting. (And in regards to reading, she is interestingly at about the same spot as Zoe was when she turned six: perfecting “sight words” and getting through easy-reader books.)
In terms of her likes, they’re similar to things I’ve reported here in the past: She likes doing “dramatic play” (school, camp, doctor’s office – you name it, she and her sister have acted it out), playing with her (many) stuffies, and drawing. She also recently got into Barbie dolls (something her sister has always been lukewarm about), and she has also taken a recent interest in two things Zoe really does like: LEGOS and Harry Potter. (Avery has now watched all of the movies; despite my initial concern about the material, she loves them and hasn’t gotten scared over any parts. It’s just a matter of time before Zoe starts reading the books to her, or, eventually that Avery reads them herself!) As mentioned above, she has two very close girlfriends (and they’re very silly when they get together), but it seems to me that Zoe is her best playmate. They don’t always get along, but they have a very solid friendship.
I’ve mentioned this here before, too, but Avery has an incredibly soft and sweet side. She is the first person to comfort me if I’m feeling or looking sad (“Can I get you a glass of water? Do you want to lay down?” she asked me when I recently started crying about something I can’t now remember), and she routinely climbs into bed with us in the morning just to snuggle and whisper in my ear, “I love you.” She also often dishes out compliments about my work outfits: “Oh, you look so pretty/fancy!” she’ll say. (I wonder if fashion is in her future, as she always notices if I’m wearing new shoes, or a bracelet she hasn’t seen before, for example.)
One of my hands-down favorite things about Avery remains her ability to (literally) stop and smell the roses. I’ve said it before, but she’s always admiring flowers or leaves or puffy white clouds in the sky; she’s quick to point out how pretty something is. As cliché as it sounds, she inspires me to slow down and take joy in the small, beautiful things in life. I don’t always have success, but she keeps on teaching me!