Our six-year-old son attends all-day kindergarten at St. Francis Xavier School here in Medina. He is the first of our children to attend kindergarten all day, and the experience has been a challenge both for him as he adjusts to attending school every day, and for us as parents.
Where we once marveled that our oldest would be (gasp!) reading by the end of her kindergarten year, we now are doing math, counting change, reading before Christmas, and have homework every night.
Part of that is due to the fact that he’s there all day. The teachers simply have more time to instruct the children.
A bigger part, we think, is due to the creativity of his teacher and the “push” she gives them to do more and more of what used to be first- and second-grade work.
But Ethan’s not the only one who gets homework: This week, we parents were instructed to complete a task of our own. As part of the teacher’s religion lesson, we parents were asked to write a letter about our child, describing all the things that make him or her special. She is reading these letters aloud to the class, one each day during Lent. We were encouraged to be creative.
Oh man. It’s one thing for my children to get writing prompts. But, even as professional writers, my husband and I were nervous about how best to approach the task.
We opted to write the letter as if it were a children’s story. Here’s what we wrote:
This is a love story.
Not an icky kind of story, but a story about how a little bit of love can grow and grow and grow.
This is Ethan’s story.
On the day Ethan was born, it was Valentine’s Day. His mommy and daddy said baby Ethan was the best Valentine’s Day present they could ever have.
Ethan was a very happy baby. He loved being around his big sisters Tessa and Teagan. But he especially liked his big brother Ryan. Ryan could always make Ethan laugh. Ethan was the best giggler in the family.
When Ethan was growing up he had an old cat named Taylor and a kitten named Gypsy. He loved to chase the cats around the house. He also had a big dog named Lucy. He especially loved to lay against her and play with her big furry ears.
You could always tell when Ethan was tired because he would pull up his shirt and play with his belly button.
As Ethan grew up, he loved to play with his toy trains. He loved Thomas the best. He could tell you all of the names of all trains on the Thomas show. He even went to visit Thomas when he came to town.
Ethan also loved Spiderman. He watched the Spiderman movies so much he could not only tell you the name of every bad guy, but also their alter-ego names. Ethan can tell you that Sandman is also known as Flint Marco.
But as Ethan continued to grow, so did his love of other things.
One of Ethan’s favorite things is to go to his grandpa’s house, where he helps Peepaw in the garden and picks pumpkins in the fall. He loves to ride in the paddleboat on the pond and go exploring in the woods.
Besides his brothers and sisters, Ethan loves his good friend Chandler Fronk, who is his same age and lives two houses away. They spend most sunny days in the front yard playing soccer or baseball. Ethan is a good hitter and sometimes he can even throw Chandler out at home base.
Ethan loves playing video games and used his DSI XL to take a funny picture of Mrs. Beal during a CYO basketball game last month in the gym. Ethan’s favorite video game is LEGO Star Wars.
Ethan also loves making creations out of LEGOs. He especially loved putting together some Star Wars LEGO sets with his dad. They spent a long time with the LEGOS spread out all over Mom and Dad’s bed, but they made some cool stuff. The trick is to keep little brother Luke away from them!
At night, Ethan loves to say prayers before bed. If Mom forgets, Ethan reminds her. Ethan loves to spend time with Mom. He tells her, “I love you more than God loves you.” “I don’t think that’s possible,” Mom always says. “I do!” Ethan insists. “That’s a lot of love, then,” Mom says and hugs him.
You see, Ethan’s life is full of love. As a Valentine’s Day baby, we call him our little Man of Love.
In the end, we found this exercise — like most any kind — was extremely worthwhile and something we want to repeat with our other children. Having just come through “birthday season” in our house — six birthdays in seven weeks — the time is right to write a letter about each of our children, summing up the year and all the things that make them tick at this age.
This is one assignment I should not turn in late.