Dear Jack, on your fifth birthday...
5 years old. 5 seems like it's too old for us to call you our little boy, or even to think of you as being particularly little. You've grown up so much in the last year and, especially now that you've headed off to school, we really feel like you're a proper boy now - there's no babyness left in your face, you think very clearly and articulate your thoughts so maturely. We're very sad that we'll never get to see that little boy again and that that phase of your life really has passed. That said, we're so very proud of the person you're becoming and how absolutely gorgeous you remain.
Some things have not changed in the past year. You still love Thomas, though perhaps not quite as 24-7 as you used to! Whilst you've always been extremely keen on books, you are now absorbed in them. You're favourite breakfast is pancakes with raspberries. You love vanilla milkshakes (though sometimes now can scam icecream in them!) and mini-muffins. You love Cooking Night. You love geography, dinosaurs & space. You think when you grow up you're going to be a train driver, astronaut and astronomer (in that order). Your favourite person in the world is Sam. Your favourite toy is Ty. You don't like it being too noisy. You don't like people who push or yell. You don't like being rushed. You love "Elevation" by U2. Go figure!
When 2008 came to a close we were so sad to see you leave kindy. You've grown there into such a beautiful little boy - Carol & Adelle really helped to bring out all your best qualities and taught you so well. You became friends with such gorgeous little people and your choice of friends reflected the person you've become. You seek out people who need help with activities and try to teach them. You would prefer to teach someone to do something you know rather than to have to go outside your comfort zone and learn something new. Recognising that, we encouraged you to try a new activity each week and you did, which paved the way for you to find your absolute favourite kindy activity - the flags. You can name practically every country, it's capital and find identify it's flag. You love geography and we're constantly amazed at the spongelike ability your brain exhibits!!!
Our last few months with you before you went off to school seemed to pass so quickly. On that first day you seemed so big, and yet so little at the same time. It's been almost 3 weeks of school now and you have not skipped a beat - you've just settled in as though you've been going there for years. You play soccer each day with a couple of boys after lunch - something that has surprised us greatly because 12 months ago you would have just stood on the sidelines watching. You made new friends within days and whislt we're sure they'll change throughout the year we're grateful you've been able to find people you like so quickly. Your teachers love you (you always do the right thing, straight away!!!) and you're enjoying the variety of activities on offer. Prep was a difficult decision to make - it holds little academic challenge for you, but we wanted you to get a chance to socialise and integrate with the other Preppies. We look at how well you've settled in so far and are comforted that we made the right choice.
You are not without tantrums, tears and crankines. To be fair, we don't see them from you very often but there's been a definite increase in your defiance. One of the great things about you though is that you can talked off the ledge so easily - you go to time out, we talk about what happened and then you just pick up and move on. We're conscious that you are very eager to please and that you are usually an incredibly good kid, so those moments of crankiness actually reassure us that there's a fair bit of spunk in you too. No one will walk over you in the playground!
You are an incredibly patient, gentle and kind big brother to Sam. You love him 99.9% of the time and are very good about sharing with him and recognising that he plays differently to you. One of our favourite sights is the two of you reading books on your bed - you read them and pass them on to him. You are helping us instill in him a love of books which is sensational - it just comes so effortlessly to you and we're delighted you can help to pass that on to him. You care for him when he's hurt and you want him near you when you're hurt. He's so lucky to have you, and you him.
The past twelve months have just flown and we somehow know that they're only going to get faster. We are so proud of the boy you've become and hope against all hope that school won't change that. We watch you walk into that classroom every day without a second glance back at us. That's the way it should be, it means you're ready and independent but we also feel a bit lost without you by our sides every day. It's a big wide world out there with lots of people who will influence you now and we just hope you hold true to what's inside you. You're an exceptionally clever, sensitive boy - a delight to spend time with and to have in our lives and hearts. We love you Jackie Long and always, always will - you'll always be our gorgeous little boy, even when you're big and tall like Uncle Timmy.