Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Love Letter for My Z-Man

 Dear First Grade Teacher,

This is our fourth child that is going to have you as a first grade teacher. One of my favorite things about having you is that before school even starts, you ask for a love letter about my child.

In a home with five children, it can be a challenge to remember to acknowledge what makes each one of them so unique. I feel guilty at not being able to give all of myself to each one of them. I wonder if I let all five know, individually, personally, how wonderful I think they are. I wonder if I let the world enough how great each one of these kids is for their own reasons and how even though they are often lumped together as siblings, they each shine so brightly in their own right. So when you ask me for a love letter, I am more than happy to oblige.

First of all, let me just warn you: this kid is cute. Heartbreakingly cute. Multiple kindergarten girls lining up to tell me they want to marry him cute. Not only is he physically adorable, he’s incredibly charming.  You’re going to eat him up.

Z is very inquisitive and eager to learn. How are race cars made? Why is popcorn called popcorn? What makes summer end? Can I read “The Hobbit,” too? (“Wow, you’re reading ‘The Hobbit’? What page are you on?” “Twelve. But I’ve only been reading for a few weeks." Oh, and he’s inadvertently hysterical.)

He’s very much like older brother E in that he’s a natural born athlete. He’s fast and strong and loves all sports. If you ever happen to try to pick him up you’ll discover he’s a solid mass of muscle, much heavier than he looks like he’d be (my sister-in-law once convinced we were playing a trick on her by hiding bricks in his pockets or something). We worry about him being labeled “just like his older brother” and being unable to blossom on his own so we’ve encouraged him to pursue his own interests. So he plays team sports with E and rides dirt bikes without him.

Z is our number-one helper. If he sees Daddy getting the toolbox or Mommy getting the mixer, he will say, “Can I help?” I think you’ll see you can rely on him in the classroom to be your right-hand man, too.

He really loves animals. He has a subscription to Ranger Rick, Jr. magazine and reads each issue cover to cover, over and over again. He spends more time than any of the other kids playing with our dog. He likes to walk her but he mostly likes to lie on the floor petting and snuggling her several times a day.

As I’m sure you already know, he needs to go to speech. He didn’t get started until late in the kindergarten year so he still has a lot to learn (or unlearn, really). Most people understand him in spite of his minor impediments and he rarely gets frustrated about it so I hope he can fix them way before the frustration ever gets a chance to set in.

The only problem he has ever had in school is rushing through his work. He’s a very social kid and like most children, really loves playing. It’s hard for him to slow down and finish his work correctly when he’d rather do it as fast as possible in hopes of getting back to playing. He did improve over the last school year but I’m sure after a summer off he’s going to have to relearn this lesson. We will be sure to talk to him about it at home, too.

We were absolutely amazed by how much he learned in his kindergarten year. It’s wonderful to see him reading and sounding words out to write on his own. Over the summer, he has continued adding numbers on to the number roll he started in kindergarten. We’re all excited for him to learn even more in first grade.

It would be easy to get lost in the shuffle as the fourth out of five kids. But this little boy really makes an impression. He is sweet, fun, caring, charming, compassionate, helpful, smart and adorable. I know you’re going to enjoy having him.

I look forward to seeing you again at Back to School Night! Enjoy your last few days of summer.



  1. Hi Gina, I always like reading about Z because he sounds so much like my Lenny. 6 years old, in first grade, strong as a horse, athletic to boot, LOVES race cars! Rode his bike without training wheels at 2 yrs. He is on average 15 lbs heavier than his classmates, and it's all muscle! Definitely not our genes :)

    So nice that Z's teacher invites "love letters" about the new kids in the class. Glad you had a great summer, and hope Lenny and Z can play together some day. My only fear is that my Lenny will want to join your fun-filled family, you guys are so much fun!

    1. So nice to see your name, Jay! I've been thinking about you!
      They do sound a lot alike...Z started riding with no training wheels at age 3 :)