Dear Jack, on your sixth birthday...
How did you get so big? We look at you and we think - my goodness, surely we can't have a 6 year old (mainly because that means we must be 6 years older too!). This past year has been a big one for you - you took on the world of Prep and well and truly conquered it. You took in your stride some big changes like moving house and sharing rooms. You have proven to be mature and responsible again and again over the past twelve months, so much so that we forget sometimes that you are only 6.
The transition from 5 to 6 has seen a lot of changes in you. For the first time ever, (well - if we forget about those sleepless newborn months), you presented a challenge. Journeying off into the big wide world of school enabled you to grow so much socially, but it also enabled you to bring home some behaviour that we hadn't encountered in you before. This year you pushed barriers and buttons you had previously not even bothered with. Clearly you've evolved enough to realise - hang on, I can make some choices here and I think I'll choose something different to what I've previously done. Thankfully for us, your choices are usually the right ones to make and, if not, you're quite easily persuaded once a logical explanation has been provided to you.
Prep did not provide any real intellectual challenge for you, which was quite hard for all of us to cope with at times. Towards the end of the year you really had well and truly had enough of learning what sound the letter S made. You remained however a patient, quiet boy at school and your lovely teacher only ever had kind words and praise to offer us about you. Whilst you might not have learnt much academically, Prep did however provide you with a whole new social arena which you embraced wholeheartedly. In fact, if we were to describe the little boy you were at the beginning of the year with the social boy you are now, people would think we were describing two different children. Gone is the child who only stands on the sidelines and watches. In his place is a boy who organises the group together, explains the rules of the game and gets the game started. We absolutely love that you have the confidence and security to do this. Everyone in your Grade was your friend and you were universally popular. Your favourite friend at school this past year has been a little boy named Stephen. Stephen is as small as you are big, so you make quite a pair. What we love about your choice of friends is that Stephen is a fun, funny little boy who brings out your silly side and clearly makes you feel happy. He is kind and generous and makes your days at school more enjoyable.
Prep also opened up a whole other world to you - other peoples lunch boxes!!! Suddenly there was all this food you hadn't realised existed. That coupled with the seemingly endless amount of lollipops, sausage fundraisers and birthday parties meant an end to your pure wholesome diet. Thankfully, you make smart choices the majority of the time and we rarely have to deal with a sugar high. You also discovered the wonderful world of tuckshop and were delighted when each month you could order food in a brown paper bag! You developed a love for sushi and pizza this year but your favourite food is roast chicken. You continue to devour fruit and veg like there's no tomorrow and are almost as devout as we are in trying to convince everyone that organic food & A2 Milk is the only way to go!
Your big interests this past year have been books (of course), dinosaurs, dinosaurs and more dinosaurs. Your favourite books have been from The Magic Treehouse series and you read them faster than we can supply them to you. Your reading has continued to develop, together with your maths skills. You're now doing independent Grade 3 maths work and loving it. It's hard to guess whether your natural abilities lie with language or maths, but we're pretty confident that you'll actually be able to do anything you want at all.
As Sam has grown up your role as a big brother has changed. If you're feeling a bit cheeky, you've become extremely adept at encouraging Sam to do the wrong thing - it's as though you know he won't get in too much trouble but you're keen to see just how much. It's funny to see you egg him on and then rouse on him for doing the wrong thing (though we don't let you see that we think it's funny!). You are incredibly encouraging towards him (and sometimes share a secret smile with us that says "well, the drawing's not actually that good, is it!). You build train tracks for him to play on and will read to him when he asks you. He adores you and imitates your every move. We couldn't ask for a better role model for him.
As always, the time between writing these paragraphs has flown. Friends are still having their first babies and we look at them and our hearts warm at the idea that they have all this to look forward to. You really are a lovely little boy. You are kind and generous, helpful and sensitive. We do our very best to be the best parents we can for you, because you deserve only the very best we can give. You make us better people and we're inspired by you - by the beautiful person you are and by all your future holds. We want you to be proud of us and the job we did parenting you, because we could not be any more proud of you, our lovely little Jackie Boy.