Let's talk about Carly.
Carly is going to be six in just under a month. She is getting so big. Like, legitimately big kid status. At the park or at the library or community events . . . there she is with the big kids. It is simultaneously thrilling and anxiety-inducing. She is such a good-hearted kid with a big ol' personality. She's funny and too smart. She's learning to balance "bossy" versus being the genuine inborn leader she is. She's a fun big sister, and always has John and Quinn playing in some adventure.
Carly finished up a great year at the Montessori school in June. She was a real leader in her class, which is kind of the aim of mixed-age Montessori classrooms: the older kids lead/teach the younger. One example: they learned all these songs about different kinds of dinosaurs. They learn them every year. Carly took it upon herself to make up some impressive actions/dance moves to go along with every song. She then taught the actions to her classmates, and they went and performed the songs to all the other classes. It became a big deal at the school. I was asked if I helped her come up with the actions at home. Nope. It was 100% her.
Carly's reading and writing has been going really well. She had a journal at school she loved to write in. Every day she came home talking about her journal. She has shown a particular interest in math (I don't know where that is coming from). She loved doing the Montessori math, which is all visual and hands-on, and she's been really into the math worksheets we've been doing together from a workbook my mom got her. She's always been a bright kid, wise beyond her years, and had a real love of learning. So as we watched her progress, I started seriously questioning our decision to give her an extra year before Kindergarten. It turns out, her teacher was thinking the same thing. At our Spring conference, Miss Jane had a pretty strong opinion that Carly was beyond Kindergarten. It became clear (even to papa bear Chris) that Carly was ready for first grade. I think Montessori was the right choice. And I think first grade will be the right choice. I still worry. She'll be the youngest, but you see her with other soon-to-be first graders and she fits right in. I think about long term and how it will be nice for her to have a year to go to college before being old enough for her mission. And less time to date and drive in high school is always good. Anyway, here we go. Full time elementary school. It feels overwhelming and bittersweet, and I worry about her being where she needs to be. But if I've learned anything, its that things work themselves out, and that Carly has a tendency to bloom wherever she is planted.
As the school year came to an end, her school held a little graduation ceremony. Mimi and Grandpa came to town for the weekend, and we cheered on our little graduate. She was presented with a peacock feather, which made us laugh because that just sounds very Montessori. But it was a reminder to always be "proud as a peacock" of all they have learned. And then I cried. Carly really loved her teacher, Miss Jane. We had a hard spring with me being as sick as I was. It was chaotic, and our home life was kind of held together by a thread. I think Miss Jane was her stability in a way, and I'm grateful for that. It takes a village, right? It was hard for Carly to say goodbye, and it was obviously hard for Miss Jane to say goodbye. Luckily, we live in a small town.
They day after graduation was another big day in Carly's life: her first dance recital. Carly had a good year of dance. She had a great teacher, and I liked that it was well-organized and fun without being over-the-top hardcore. It was a good fit for us. Carly had two dances to songs from Annie: a jazz dance to "You're Never Fully Dressed without a Smile" and an adorable tap to "Hard Knock Life." Their costumes were so fun, and fit the spunky group of 5 and 6 year old girls perfectly. It was fun to watch her dances, though I'm not a big recital fan in general. Quinn was completely enchanted the whole time, to no one's surprise. John was struggling after about 3 dances (out of 16). "I'm having a hard time," he kept telling me. Luckily Mimi and Grandpa were there to help him survive. Carly's got a flair for the dramatic, and was complemented by her teacher for being the loudest at singing along (ha!). We'll see what her future holds, but as her dance year came to an end she asked me if she could play soccer next year, instead. (I tried not to act too excited about that one.)
We are so grateful for this girl. I have to admit, my heart already aches thinking of her being in school for the whole day in the Fall. I know she's ready. I know it will be good for her. And I know it will be good for me with a new baby to balance. But I'm going to miss her something fierce, and already know me, John, and Quinn, will be waiting impatiently every afternoon for that bus to pull up. We all love her. We all need her. In so many ways, she's the star of our show.