Valeri Oswald of Hannon, Ontario, Canada

Valeri Oswald of Hannon, Ontario, Canada

Valeri Oswald’s favorite subject in school is gym “because we play basketball and all that sort of stuff.” It’s easy to see why she likes gym when you know that Valeri played T-ball for three years and started taking figure-skating lessons recently. Her skating group put on a performance with a circus theme, and she skated the part of a little brown pony, complete with ears and a tail! Valeri thinks that she might want to teach figure skating when she grows up. And if she doesn’t do that, she might be a pediatrician—“because I like babies,” she said.

Valeri (9) lives in the country near Hannon, Ontario, Canada, twenty minutes from Hamilton and an hour from Niagara Falls. Behind her house are wildflowers and a small woods. Squirrels run up and down the trees and sometimes watch while Valeri and two of her brothers, Chris (11) and Kyle (3), ride their bikes in the driveway. Chris and Valeri gathered a pile of woodchips there, then placed a board on top of it, making a ramp to ride their bikes over.

When it’s too cold to play outside, Valeri likes to watch TV or play computer games. Sometimes some of the younger kids on her street come over to her house to play school. Since Valeri is the oldest, she gets to be the teacher.

In the summertime, Valeri’s mom, Olivia (Libby) Oswald, works in the Little League Park. Chris, Valeri, and Kyle go with her. When Valeri isn’t playing baseball or watching Chris play baseball, she plays with the other children at the park and baby-sits Kyle. Kyle says that she is a good baby-sitter.

Valeri also has two older brothers, Dave (25) and Malcolm (24), and a sister, Marni (21). It’s fun to have older brothers and sisters because sometimes they take her to movies and to eat at a drive-in. And when Dave got married, she got to be a flower girl!

Some of the other things that Valeri gets to do she isn’t as excited about—like vacuuming her room and emptying the dishwasher. But when she’s done, she might get to make cookies, play hide-and-seek, or even ask one of her friends to come and stay all night for a miniature slumber party.

[photos] Photos by Beverly Webecke and Julie Wardell

[photo] 1. Valeri likes to pick wildflowers in their backyard for her mom.

[photo] 2. Chris and Valeri are skilled at computer games.

[photo] 3. Chris, Kyle, and Valeri have a large backyard and even some woods to explore and play in.

[photo] 4. Kyle likes to ride his bike with his big sister.

[photo] 5. Valeri shows off the flowers that she picked.

[photo] 6. Valeri likes to play with her dolls.

[photo] 7. Riding her bike is one of Valeri’s favorite pastimes.