When Emmi's father came into the house after arriving home, he found his wife stirring a large pot of stew and his daughter busily polishing silverware at the kitchen table.
"Emmi," said Mrs. Carlo, kissing her husband on the cheek, "Tell Daddy what you did today."
Emmi turned to her father and gently set the fork she had been holding down on the checkered tablecloth. With a bored expression, she replied, "I memorized a Beetoven concerto and built a scaled model of the Sydney Opera House out of lego blocks."
Smiling nonchalantly, Mr. Carlo dropped a kiss on his daughter's head. "Good job, Em. Maybe they'll have a place for you in Juliard yet. Mmm, that soup smells good."
"It's stew," Mrs. Carlo replied with a hint of annoyance. "Sage beef. My grandmother's recipe."
"Mother didn't have the four ounces of grated parmesan the recipe called for, but I calculated that, according to the sharpness of taste, a half cup of mozzerella could be substituted," Emmi added, without looking up.
Mr. Carlo raised an eyebrow, and then smiled. "Well," he said. "Let's all...sit down. Shall we?"
At the table, after his wife had carefully ladled exactly twelve ounces of stew into each bowl, Mr. Carlo stood up and looked expectantly at Mrs. Carlo. "I believe we have something to celebrate tonight, don't we, hon?"
Emmi carefully broke and buttered a whole-wheat role. "Did you get another promotion? That's great, Dad."
Her father smiled. "Not quite. Emily..." Mrs. Carlo looked up expectantly, turning slightly pink as her husband rested his hand on her stomach. "We...your Mother and I...are going to have a baby. You'll be a big sister."