Anouk is turning 11 on Friday, so I thought I would write about her, especially for friends and family who don't see us very often. I feel like this has been a good year for Anouk. Some of you might know that she went through a tough transition in 3rd grade. She had tragically lost the awesome cat that had been by her side since infancy. We had re-homed the crazy young dog that had killed the beloved cat. Her grandma lost a battle with cancer and the summer had been spent settling the estate. And then she switched to a new school in the Fall. She developed anxiety and those who were close to us saw that she had a very hard time enjoying herself. She always felt left out, even when she wasn't. She hated school, didn't feel like she had friends, and she only wanted to be home with both parents and all of her pets at all times.
So, if you remember that, you might be as surprised as I was to find out that she is now a "class clown." It actually said, "She's a hoot!" on her first report card of the year, and her teacher described her as being very well-liked and hilarious at school. (The down side is that she has a hard time focusing on her work, and can be a distraction for others.)
Anouk loves her tight group of school friends dearly, and tries to spend as much time as possible with them (or on the phone, or chatting online.) She is also still very attached to her Olympia friends, though she only sees them occasionally. She thinks of them as family. Anouk loves little kids, and lucky for her, most of her friends have young siblings. And she adores animals, and is always trying to get us to take on more and more and more. She has 2 ferrets and a ball python in her tiny room, where the cats and dogs also like to cram in.
She still loves pandas and hot pink. She has been dying pink streaks into her hair for many years. Anouk is really good at putting funky outfits together with 80s and anime influences. Speaking of anime, she's been reading and drawing manga for a couple of years now and is trying to teach herself Japanese using Google translate.
Anouk is also trying to learn Spanish from her two closest friends who speak Spanish at home, and she is wholeheartedly claiming her 1/4-Mexican heritage as her identity. She's the palest Mexican-American you'll meet.
Anouk is very stubborn at home, but pleasant and polite with others. If she doesn't want to do or eat something, she will dig her feet in deep. And if she wants something, she's tenacious. When I'm at my most frustrated, I try to remind myself that these will be good, strong qualities when she's an adult. She's a girl who knows what she wants and won't settle for less. Combined with her sense of humor and empathetic nature, she's becoming a pretty awesome person.
Wow. Eleven years. This is the year when some big changes start happening. I won't have a little girl much longer!