Behold Miss V, resplendent in her sock-monkey finery.
In this photo she is giving her dear uncle a faked-up crusty glance, ostensibly because she doesn't want to be photographed, but in reality she is delighted because it is the LAST DAY of SCHOOL.
Her grades this year have improved tremendously, by the way. At the end of fourth grade last year she had actually regressed a grade level, and now at the end of fifth grade she is operating at or above grade level in all categories except math. (I shall abstain from using this forum as a soapbox to curse the TERC Investigations series and the utter nincompoopery of our school district in adopting it as the mandatory standard, but it's a strain.) None of this improvement can be attributed to us, other than the occasional poking at her to finish and review her homework; I credit a fantastic fifth-grade teacher and a great, supportive school.
Miss V is definitely different from her auntie at this age -- she does her homework with very little stalling or procrastination, but she still has to be nudged into independent reading (unless it's shoujo manga -- then she tears through it at superhuman speed) and her reading comprehension, though improved, still isn't what it should be. The school has been encouraging her and the other kids to adopt and practice good study habits, which has helped a good deal. I also think that knowing she can get help if she needs it has made some difference in her willingness to finish assignments.
More to the point, I've noticed that Miss V is a sensitive and compassionate person. She is kind to her friends, gives hugs at the drop of a hat, does her best to be fair with others, and regularly tells family members "I love you with all my heart" (and, after several times of hearing my silly response, has added "and with all my spleen!") Although she can be judgmental -- which is typical of this age -- she prefers to focus on the good in people even when they make bad choices. This week she finally got around to watching the original Star Wars trilogy, and at the end of Return of the Jedi I asked her what she thought of it. When she turned to me, there were big tears standing in her eyes. "It's so sad! Why did Darth Vader have to die?" she asked. She re-watched that scene several times, vocally prompting Luke to hug his father before it was too late.
I'm tremendously proud of her.