had a long conversation with Grace on the phone last night, longer than ever before, with her seeming to be completely comfortable with it. Like her sisters, she has been so utterly shy of talking on the phone for so long that this still hits me like a quasi-miracle. But she chattered away about the "rocks, sand, and shells" that she had been studying in school, although she sounded slightly frustrated when I asked her what kind of rock the golden rock was that she was able to take home from the actual experience:
it was as though all of a sudden she realized that there were identification books for rocks like all the ones she had for birds, and that there was now a whole 'nother science she had to set out to master. (But she confessed that she didn't think rocks as interesting as birds.) That got her back on birds and she told me that she had just added the Purple Martin to her collection of species-specific stuffed birds. I wasn't sure if I had ever seen a Purple Martin, so I had her describe it to me, and then I got to talking how I thought perhaps it had been a purple-headed bird, but this was purely a product of my imagination. I told her perhaps I had been thinking of the Common Grackles that had been everywhere when Mommy and I were growing up, with their iridescent blue heads. That sounded like it also frustrated her, because if these were all over the place just a few hours from where she was growing up, why had she
never seen a Grackle? I don't know that I've ever seen a child who was just so drunk on pure knowledge acquisition, and I hope that that stays true.
Her new word seemed to be "crazy." Haley is still acting crazy
, jumping off of things even though her arm is in a cast. Sophie was annoying, running around the house all day like she was crazy
. It was funny to hear her say this with such emphasis: a slightly world-weary eldest child. I had interrupted her while she was writing her very first email, to Daddy, who was away for a few days. She asked me how you spelled "early," confessing that she didn't think
her spelling of "erlay" looked right to her. I told her a little bit of what I was up to, as she could understand it, and just asked questions about what she shared, whether about the schoolwork or Haley's cast, and how painful that could be as Haley would thunk into you with it. I also heard about her basketball games. I hadn't known she was involved in the sport at all, especially with how tiny she is. Leslie told me that she's actually a surprisingly ferocious player, especially defensively, charging the boys and others who were practically twice her size and therefore using her size to advantage in that way. Both of them sounded pleased in describing to me the basket that she scored. Leslie said that the baskets were fixed at about eight feet high, and so most of Grace's shots didn't come near the thing, but this one day – boom! – there it was. Grace sounded like she had been coasting on that particular triumph for a few days, and it was fun to hear the pleasure in her voice.