Saturday, March 5, 2011

My new favorite pen pals are 6 and 4 years old

My new favorite pen pals are 6 and 4 years old

I keep in touch with my best friend from high school. She still lives in the same town where we grew up, and I've moved all over the place. We used to write each other, back in college and shortly thereafter, but now email is her medium. She keeps me up to date with regular email and photos of her awesome daughters.

I recently started writing to her oldest daughter, who is now 6 years old and a really bright kid. (Yes, I'm biased. But her kids are all great, really.) Annalise has become one of my best pen pals - she writes to me almost every week. She is clearly into it, and I've encouraged her with multiple gifts of cards and stationery, and of course I enclose stickers and fun pens and such. I recall that I got into writing at a similar age, urged on by stationery and pen gifts from one of my mom's friends (who is also, coincidentally, child-free).

Annalise is the oldest of three girls; Scarlett just turned 4 and Noelle is a little under 2. Apparently Scarlett was getting jealous of Annalise's mail from me (of course I decorate it and make it pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself), and recently she started crying when one of my letters arrived for Annalise, because she felt left out. So big sister Annalise saved the day, and told Scarlett to pick any of the cards I had sent to use for letter-writing, and Annalise would write down the letter that Scarlett dictated to me.

So now I write to both Annalise and Scarlett. Annalise writes her own letters, and has recently even started addressing the envelopes herself; Scarlett's letters are dictated either to Annalise or to her mom, but she signs her name herself.

Needless to say, their letters make my day; recognizing how long a wait of 5 or 6 days for a letter may be to a tot that wee, I make a point of writing them back immediately. It doesn't take long to write a bite-sized letter to a child, and they always write me back within a week. It just warms my heart to have brought such young letter-writers into the fold, and to have an opportunity to get to know these little girls who I'd otherwise only see once a year or so. And their mom tells me that it's great writing practice for them; certainly I can see the improvement in Annalise's handwriting as she goes along.

Kids' personalized stationery

And of course I have a lot of fun finding cute stationery to encourage them! I've given them the Sukie Animals on Parade notecard set, Masha and Friends: 15 Matryoshka Notecards, and most recently, personalized stationery from Owl and Branch notecard set and Hibiscus personalized notecard set from JoseJeanDesign on etsy (shown in photo above).

My favorite line from a recent letter is from Scarlett, dictated to her mom: "I'm gonna be a grown-up like my mommy someday."