I love 5.
When I look back on this period of parenting little ones, I have a feeling that 5 will be the age that I’ll wish we could have made last a little longer. The enjoyment factor now definitely outweighs the slog factor, which is a huge relief.
At 5, mum/dad are still at the centre of everything (and they’re AMAZING!), but you’re big enough to get yourself dressed and take yourself to the toilet. My 5 year old still wants me to stay at birthday parties, still wants 5 cuddles when I drop him off at school (apparently this will continue until he’s 16, when it will be 16 cuddles, obviously), and still counts how many kisses I give him when we say goodnight. I know these things will change, but I’m not ready for them to yet.
At 5, not only is everything exciting but everything is possible. My 5 year old is apparently going to be a teacher. Specifically, he is going to teach children about countries and animals. He’s going to live with his brothers, who will both be doctors. In his lovely 5 year old’s world, there is no reason why life would get in the way of this plan.
At 5, you can be left unsupervised and trusted not to destroy your room. This is a blessing if you have two three year olds who can’t be trusted for two minutes.
At 5, no-one has any real reason not to be your friend. My boy is, compared to his peers, a slightly eccentric little soul; but at 5 that doesn’t matter does it? No-one cares if he spends all his time pouring over maps and reading about the Eurasian lynx and snowshoe hare. And part of me just wants to keep him in that lovely 5 year old bubble in which everyone is his friend. He doesn’t really like football and that’s ok, because at playtime he can just go and play with the hoops instead. There might be little friendship groups, but it’s the age before proper cliques have emerged. I watched my boy at a recent birthday party as he launched into a lengthy speech about where jelly would sit on his league table of desserts. It wasn’t particularly interesting to anyone apart from him. His friends on either side switched off and started new conversations, but it didn’t bother him…..he just continued, undeterred. Totally happy to be himself – what a lovely way to be.
5 is loving learning and having a head full of questions. School, despite all the targets, is fun; and at 5, they suddenly seem to have the stamina to deal with it.
5 is being big enough to appreciate the special treats, but small enough to still take pleasure in the little things.
5 is being brilliant company (most of the time, at least). Sometimes my 5 year old gets a bit swallowed up in the general chaos of life with two little siblings – I seem to spend 3/4 of my time cleaning up spills, taking boys to the toilet and kissing hurt knees better: it often feels like he doesn’t get much of a look in. But when I get him on his own he is wonderful, interesting, enthusiastic company. We can go out and it feels remarkably easy. I don’t need to take whole bags full of equipment with me. He might get tired, he might sometimes get whiney, but he is unlikely to throw a wobbly and lay himself down on the pavement just because he’s fed up.
5 is being able to reason, sometimes even being reasonable, but still coming out with questions, observations and comments that parents never want to forget.
5 year olds are, of course, still demanding; but these are not the intense, non-stop demands of 3 year olds. Meltdowns still happen but, thankfully, they are no longer a daily occurrence. The constant questions, which need to be answered urgently and immediately, can be draining and, when you genuinely don’t know the answers, make you feel just a bit inadequate. My 5 year old has no concept of personal space, and shouts even when he’s standing right next to me. And 5 year olds are definitely not beyond a good bit of whining – in fact, I’d say this is the 5 year old’s special skill.
But generally, 5 is a joy. It’s the age when it feels like everything is starting to come together.
At least it does when I have time to stand back and appreciate it.