My dear Miles,
As always, the summer is going fast. You’ve been doing a good job in your summer classes: Math Wizards, Amazing Animals, Clay Creations, and Ratta-tat-tat. Next week you start your final class, a three-week affair called Math and Reading Challenge.
You still claim not to like reading, but I’ve noticed that whenever you see a sign or other opportunity to decipher words, you go for it. You’re working toward earning a new Wii U game by reading books above and beyond the library’s summer reading program requirements, and I have no doubt you’ll succeed.
You’ve recently declared that your future profession is an artist. I think that’s because we’ve been reading a really cool series of books lately. They’re Laurence Anholt’s artist series, and each one is a reasonably accurate view of a famous artist told through the lens of his/her friendship with a child. We’ve learned some interesting things: da Vinci was not only an artist and scientist but also a musician, and you had fun reading some backward writing like da Vinci did in his journals. Matisse was jolly and lively, even when age and infirmity confined him to his bed. Van Gogh was clearly mentally ill. Degas was kind of a jerk.
You’ve been drawing portraits of everyone in the family lately. You’ve come a long way from the stick figures you used to draw. Now people have nostrils and fingers and multi-layered ears. Tobin has nice curly hair.
Your other current obsession is Minecraft. You play on my phone sometimes, but you also learned that you can check out iPads at the library, and you love playing on the bigger screen. I don’t think your dad wants you to know that he has Minecraft on his iPad.
I was a little nervous about telling you that I was pregnant with your future brother-to-be, but you have been nothing but excited. We were eating dinner in a restaurant when we told you kids, and you just got into the best mood. “These are the best French fries ever!” you said. When you were on a break from summer school, you sometimes watched Sesame Street with Tobin in the morning, and whenever a baby was on the screen you got a huge smile on your face. I know you’re going to be a great brother this time around too.
Your only complaint was when we found out it’s a boy. You’ve come around to the idea now, I think, on the condition that we name the baby Fred. I personally like the name, but I don’t think your dad does. Maybe he’d let you name his iPad Fred.
With an eye toward the future, we just got bunk beds for you and Tobin. You guys were so excited to pick them out at the store, and to choose new sheets, and to get them all set up. When the delivery truck came today and the workers got the beds assembled, I thought you guys were both going to explode with the thrill of it all. You have reserved the top bunk (with red sheets, your current favorite color) and Tobin seems happy to take the bottom, but you’ve both decided you’d probably like to visit the other for some cuddles.
You two torture each other a fair amount, but you’re wonderful to each other a lot of the time too. We went to Tot Time a week or two ago, and I was so impressed by how caring and concerned you were about Tobin. You helped him find a trike to ride, and you made sure he got into the bouncy house safely, and you watched out for him around all the other kids. Tobin honestly doesn’t need much protection, but nonetheless, I’m glad you’re the kind of guy who keeps an eye out for your little brother. Tobin and Little Potato are both lucky to have you.
You visited a pet store with your Amazing Animals class, and you got the idea that you want to buy a piranha. That surprised me, since when the store employee asked who was brave enough to feed the piranha, you kept your hands glued to your sides and looked around nervously. But I guess you got braver in absentia, because you’ve been talking about it a lot. Unfortunately, it costs $150, not including tank and other accessories. You suggested you could use your tooth fairy money, and I said it cost a lot more than the $1.25 you found under your pillow. You followed up with Plan B, which involved me chipping in some. I mostly am just hoping you lose interest.
We’re on a hiatus from choir right now, after a big finish to our season at the Englert theater. You did superbly, especially on your “Mama Don’t Allow” vocal and maraca solo. I’m so proud of you, and I love that we have Family Folk Machine as a special activity to do together. You’ve gotten much more brave and are having fun with your choir friends, too.
We’ve got exciting times coming up, with trips and family events and theatrical productions to see. I know you’ll do a great job despite the stresses, and it will be fun to have some school-free time before first grade starts. You’ve lost two teeth now, and you have at least two more wigglers. One of them is one of your top front teeth, and I hope you lose that before school pictures. There’s nothing like that classic first grade picture with a big gappy smile.
You’re good at other facial expressions too, though.