That was the word that got her.

Her first word was robot, and Short-pants used her most mechanical, robotic voice to pronounce it, spell it out and then say it again for closure. This elicited laughs from the crowd, and that, coupled with the fact that she’d volunteered to tell a joke at the beginning of the contest, put her in good standing as the cheeky-charmer of the group.

Our super speller made it through eleven rounds, successfully spelling out miracle, tariff, begonia, daily, allot, sonata, chalupa, nether, wintergreen and ostentatious. With ten kids still standing, a break was called. When the young spellers returned, they were informed that the they’d be given words that weren’t on the preparation list, or as De-facto put it, “they went off-piste and took out everyone.”

Short-pants finished in third place in the Paris Spelling Bee, along with seven other kids who tied for third with her.

She had a great time. She was so proud. De-facto reports that he was a nervous each time her turn came around, but that she seemed remarkably poised, enunciating clearly, with confidence. Short-pants also appreciated (along with her mother) the encouraging comments from many of you. Thanks for your good words and hopeful intentions.

Condemn is a word she hadn’t encountered before, or at least to spell it out loud. But as all veteran spelling bee contestants know, she’s condemned to spell it correctly for the rest of her life.

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