All boy, this 7-year-old Jacob Frey is.
Jacob plays pee wee football - a bruiser, he has a front tooth knocked out to show for it.
Like all terrific 7-year-old boys, his hair cannot be tamed, he's able and sometimes willing to get loud, and knows that girls in Karen McDaniel's second-grade class at Crowders Creek Elementary School like kissing and shoes and other kinds of girl stuff that boys rightfully run away from.
And Jacob, all boy, loves his mom and dad.
For the past four and half months, Jacob has been the man of the house. He has taken care of his mother, Janine, and been tough.
His father was gone, to Iraq, where Jacob would tell the kids in Mrs. McDaniel's class that Staff Sgt. Jason Frey of the Air National Guard out of Charlotte, was "protecting our country."
"Jacob told me he missed his dad," said Parker Jones, Jacob Frey's best buddy. Only best friends know the secrets of a 7-year-old best pal.
Jacob ought to know what his dad did during wars - his dad missed kindergarten, too, fighting that same war.
"That was a tough deployment, when Jacob was so little in kindergarten," said Janine Frey. "This one was hard, too. We all missed each other."
Through those last four months, Sgt. Jason Frey - pronounced "Fray" - talked to his wife and son about once a week from his metal hut outside Tikrit, Iraq, using a computer webcam.
But it wasn't the same as going to football practice, or reading at night, or attending first-grade graduation with those little caps.
Or the first day of second grade.
"I missed him more than I can explain," said Staff Sgt. Frey, 36. "You get deployed, you miss what can't be replaced."
But that is what Guardsmen do. Go, fight wars - and miss.
In a unit of more than 200 men based in Charlotte, Frey, a tough vet who before his Guard hitch was active duty Navy, was the last one to come home.
That happened Wednesday afternoon. Frey finished four days of airplane traveling, and the applause troops get in airports. He saw decorated mailboxes in his neighborhood after that first sweet kiss with his wife.
"I was touched by all of it," Sgt. Frey said.
But Jacob was at school. He didn't know his father was coming home, his third deployment in six years finished.
Sgt. Frey and his wife came to Crowders Creek on Wednesday afternoon and checked in at the office.
They walked down the hall with the school staff, who were in on this surprise reunion now, trailed. The hallway was almost silent, except for the echoes created by the disciplined steps of a soldier's boots.
Frey turned right onto the second grade hall, where the American flags had been colored on white paper with red stripes and stars on blue fields - ostensibly for Constitution Day later this week.
His wife knocked on the door.
A teacher across the hall held her breath and put her hand over her mouth, then started crying.
Inside, the kids were gathered on those rugs that elementary teachers have for group reading. They all turned to the knock and the opening door.
The veteran teacher, McDaniel, hugged herself to keep from crying out loud.
The principal, a woman known as the best of the best named Millicent Dickey, cried in the hallway with her staff huddled behind her.
The other kids in the class positively beamed with joy and then started to shout, because that is what joyous kids do.
Out in that hallway, Jason Frey was all sergeant. Once through the door - no more. His face changed and his eyes gleamed with wetness and love.
Because in that electric moment, up like a lightning bolt shot his son, Jacob - dashing, leaping into his father's waiting arms.
And this tough kid Jacob, age 7, front tooth missing, said the word he had waited to blurt out.