I’ve been thinking quite a bit about Chloe and Sophie recently. I always think about them, mind you. It’s just that I’ve also been observing them a little more closely than usual.
And I can’t believe how quickly they’re growing. Not only physically, although the scribbled measurements on my office wall constitute all the proof I need that the “kids grow like weeds” cliché is 100% accurate in our household.
I’ve noticed little things about their behavior, their conversation, their demeanor….And the fact that I now have the luxury to sit back and just watch them be themselves on a daily basis is a huge gift that I appreciate more and more with each passing day.
How has Sophie grown this year? Her vocabulary has increased exponentially. She’s made huge progress in math and spelling – she’s now disappointed if she gets anything less than 100% on a quiz. She’s still not reading much on her own, but when she does read, she has no problem deciphering the words, even if they’re multi-syllabic. She’s also working on her homework more independently and with less fuss, and getting it right most of the time.
I’ve also noticed that Sophie is more perceptive when it comes to Chloe’s baiting her. She has no qualms expressing her disappointment when Chloe belittles her or, in Sophie’s words, “makes me feel bad.” She’s just as good at getting Chloe’s goat as she was when she was three.
Sophie is ever the artist. She always has a notebook in hand and sketches all the time. She’s tender, sensitive and loving, and is developing a great sense of humor. She recounts jokes on a regular basis. The most recent one – thanks to “SpongeBob Squarepants”: Why aren’t kids allowed to see pirate movies? Because they’re rated “Arrrrh!”
How has Chloe grown this year? She’s expanded her library exponentially and has continued to branch out into classic literature. She’s almost finished with “The Great Gatsby” and refuses to see the movie until she’s read it. Which sucks for me because she’s my date for that film. She’s become more of a fashionista than I would have expected a few years ago (although she’ll never truly rival her sister in that department). Her interest in pop culture is bordering on obsessive.
Yet despite the inordinate amount of time Chloe spends on nonsense, she continues to work incredibly hard on her schoolwork. Her academic writing has become more focused, opinionated (no surprise there) and witty. She is as determined as ever to solve problems on her own, but is not as reluctant as she used to be to ask for help when she needs it.
Most important and remarkable is Chloe’s evolution into a young adolescent with an incredible amount of empathy for other people. She has an uncanny ability, particularly for a 12-year old, to put herself into other peoples’ shoes. And Chloe’s extremely moral – although she has set ideas about what is right, she is increasingly capable of recognizing that life is replete with a whole lot of gray.
Chloe and Sophie are happy, well-adjusted, caring and fun. The amount of joy I’ve derived from my two little monsters these last couple of months – without the distraction of work – makes me realize that I couldn’t have made my decision to “lean out” at a better time.