Readers, Artists, Athletes, and More

Dear Children,

Just a few days ago the two of you secretly worked together to set up a Story Nest as a surprise for me. I was tired, so I let you do all the reading. It was wonderful to just relax in the Nest and listen to you read the books that I used to read to you. All those years of bedtime reading really paid off.

As for your individual reading, Livia has been working her way through huge quantities of books from both the public library and my personal library. But, for all that she’s a voracious reader who stays up far too late reading, she’s choosy about what she reads, and understandably so (though it’s hard on me, since I have so many favorite books that I’d like to share!). She likes my Roald Dahl and Edward Eager books, but she will not read any books about things she does not like, so no princesses (The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye), dolls (Magic Elizabeth by Norma Kassirer), ghosts (The Children of Green Knowe by L.M. Boston), or mysteries (Nancy Drew), and it nearly broke my heart when she said she didn’t want to read Dodie Smith’s The One Hundred and One Dalmatians simply because she doesn’t like dogs. I don’t particularly like dogs either, but it’s an adorable book, so I made a bet with her. Our bet is that if she reads it and absolutely hates it, I’ll give her two bucks to pay for her time. If she likes it, I’ll get the satisfaction of having convinced her to read another great book.

Marshall has also been reading a lot, but at a slower, appropriately Marshallesque pace. He recently finished Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and now he’s reading the sequel. Yesterday he was the one who was still awake and reading late into the night. Tsk, tsk. You might both do well to read a little less and sleep a little more! I have never stayed up too late reading, so I can say that ๐Ÿ˜‰

Last week was the school’s art show. This year Marshall was the one with art on display, and I got a great picture of him next to the snowman he had created. Both of you were thrilled again by the large assortment of cookies. But in addition to the free cookies, we seem to have picked up a free virus. We all came down with a cold a few days later, and your father, in particular, has been miserable since. Poor Daddy.

Your fencing lessons have been a big success. You graduated from the Beginner level yesterday (and you got special pins to mark the occasion). The classes have been so good for you, and you enjoy them so much, that we’ve signed you up for the Intermediate level.

You also started music lessons a few weeks ago. Livia practices nearly every day without being told to. She doesn’t always practice the pieces assigned to her, because she would rather play things such as “Baby Shark” and the theme from “Godzilla,” but she enjoys playing, and that’s important. Her musical ability is obvious, and she has such enthusiasm. It is a pleasure to watch her learn. Marshall usually has to be strong-armed into practicing, and he hardly does enough, yet somehow by the time his next lesson rolls around he has miraculously improved. I am convinced that he has a vast reservoir of musical talent that he only displays when he feels like it. After all, who already knew how to read written music, and who taught his sister how to play recorder, and who figured out how to play the “Godzilla” theme on the keyboard? Marshall did! So you’re both making excellent progress, each in your own way.

And I should not fail to mention that both of you showed improvement on your latest report cards.

You are growing as readers, artists, athletes, musicians, and scholars, and I am so proud of you both.


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