Our daughter, Matilda, is special. No, really – I know that every parent says that about their kids. Well, not my parents, who were part of an older, less touchy-feely generation. In fact my father used to refer to me as The Wretch and frequently threatened to give me away to various organizations and circuses. All done with affection … I think. But Matty really is special. She’s like a thirty-year-old in a nine-year-old’s body.

Her room, for example, is pin-neat. Painfully neat. I sometimes want to go in there and scatter random dolls and clothes around just to give it that ‘little kid’ feel, but I know all that would happen is she’d spend an hour calmly tidying up. Her shoes are all lined up in the closet, her clothes hung with care; everything is exactly where she wants it. That’s just how Matty rolls. She’s still a kid – she has her games and her crushes and her friends. It’s just that she likes everything to be the way she likes it, and she’s willing to put in the time and effort.

And she gets upset at things that thwart her sense of order. Like, for example, her pencil case.

Matty loves school, mainly for the clothes. We don’t have a uniform to deal with, but Matty likes the concept of special clothes for special purposes, like school. Shopping for school supplies is the highlight of her year, in fact, and she spends the night before her first day getting organized and arranging everything. She fills her backpack with her books and implements in exactly the way she likes it, does a test-walk to make sure she can get to her mobile and keys without having to take the bookbag off, and tests out multiple sock and shoe configurations. It’s adorable!

Until she gets to the pencil case.

The pencil case represents all the chaos and disorder Matty hates. You fill it with pencils and pens and protractors and erasers and then everything gets all jumbled up and she has to spend precious seconds digging around. It upsets her. She stamps her little foot and sighs like a much older person. While I find it adorable, I figured I can’t really allow my daughter to be unhappy for my own amusement, can I? So, I bought her a pencil case from the Clear Bag Store.

It’s perfect: Tough PVC plastic, sturdy zipper, big enough for the most studious of children. And Matty can arrange her pencils and pens and erasers as she likes, and when she needs something, she glances at it and can pluck it right out without wasting precious seconds rooting around in it. When we gave it to her you would have thought we’d promised her a puppy, the way she jumped around in delight.

So, yes: Matilda is special. And we wouldn’t have her any other way!

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