Saturday, August 1, 2015

Happy birthday, Zaney!!!

Dear Zane,

You are such an energetic, silly, friendly, hilarious kid, who has thoughts and opinions that you make known. There are days that i think that you're the best kid in the universe and other days that i'm left throwing my hands up because i have no idea what to do with you. You are the most 9-year-old boy who ever was nine.

When people ask what you want to be when you grow up, you usually list off about five things; a scientist, an artist, a zoo-keeper.... You love science and facts, and while i would always rather curl up with a novel, you absolutely adore non-fiction. Your favorite books are things like, "100 Most Dangerous Animals on the Planet," which you will read and re-read and then share all of the information with anyone who will listen. Facts about weird and amazing and disgusting animals are your favorites.

Our neighbors have chickens, and you're the kid who always volunteers to bring our scraps over for them. It took me a few days to realize that the reason you love to do it is because then you get to chat with our neighbor. When we go to the dog park, you invariably find someone sitting alone, and you'll sit down with them and have a long conversation. You know all of the dogs by name, who owns them, and what breed they are, mostly because you've talked to every single owner.

You just adore people. You'll talk on the phone for long, long conversations with your friends, and anyone who watches you can just see the joy you feel from your friendships. All of the neighborhood kids know you and will come by our house yelling, "ZANE!!!" because they all want to play with you. You would love nothing more than for your siblings to spend all day playing with you.

At the same time, you're still learning some of the social skills that your siblings have already learned, and that means that there's a lot of hurt feelings and bickering going on between you fairly often. They complain that you're not listening and you complain that they're not listening, and ultimately, it's just a matter of you being nine and their being older. You pester them and they pester back and they say things they don't mean and you say things you don't mean, and you end up crying that you're the most miserable person ever because nobody likes you. (They do, by the way. Everyone likes you. You're adorable.)

You've discovered Pokemon this year. Not that you actually play it, mind you. You just collect the cards and organize the cards and trade the cards and show off the cards. Sometimes you and Houston play in a way that is totally made up by you guys, which would never be played with anyone who actually knows the rules. You don't care, though. You like making your own rules anyhow. For everything.

You like things to be correct. If i say, "That's a rhinoceros," you'll say, "Well, actually, that's a black rhinoceros." It makes me crazy sometimes, but you know your facts, and i think that you like being the one who knows things sometimes. It's hard being the youngest all the time, and you want your voice to be heard.

You just have opinions about things. You didn't want to take your birthday pictures today. You'd rather do them NOT on your birthday. You would have let me take them today, though. You asked if we could do them on another day, but you were willing, if it was really important to me, to do them today. Because you really do, truly, care deeply about other people's feelings.

So yes. You drive me crazy sometimes, but Zaney, you are amazing. You're smart and incredibly good at conversation, loving and kind and sweet. You let me cuddle you sometimes, even though you don't really like cuddling. And you're just my favorite little nine-year-old in the world.

I love you, Zaney-brainy.

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