I write this with mixed feelings. Part of me is sad that he’s getting so big, so independent and gradually moving towards the inevitable leaving of the nest. Yes, I know, we still have 13 more years with him at home, but for those with kids, you probably understand my feelings.
I just received an email from Netmums.com – an online mums community in the UK. It it entitled Your Child Is Five Years – a lot of it is spot on!
Your five year old will now be going to big school, leaving you wiping away a tear as you leave the playground. He will be taller, slimmer and have so much energy you wonder if it’s all those pre-cooked meals he’s been eating. He may need an earlier bedtime, so he won’t be around so much in the evening. You see it does go quickly doesn’t it? Blink and he’ll be leaving home.
HOW HE THINKS:
He feels more independent and has a wider range and control over his emotions – but still not much. He will be able to put himself in your shoes – just for a little while – and may show sympathy when you are violently sick or openly weeping (he won’t necessarily pick up more subtle clues).
While his arguments with you may be less frequent and he will probably have stopped having tantrums, he has other people to argue with – typically children his age or his siblings. This is the hardest part for my by far – he has a terrible little year 1 girl who called him “rubbish” recently and he cannot understand why and talks about it. Should she do it again, I’m taking it to the headmaster, for now he is to ignore her and avoid her. Let’s just say, I have to hold back every time I see her, not to tell her what I feel 🙂 He will compare himself to other children, sometimes heart-breakingly so, if he feels less attractive or popular than his friends. More likely though he will describe their packed lunches as being superior to his (how dare parents manage to produce things like home-made bread with freshly churned cheese and fruit trifle every day) and their bedtimes as being later than his (this is almost always a fib).
He may still have some big fears that are not so much of ghosts but of being separated and lost from you. He may also be scared of the dark, of thunder and lightning, insects and snakes. He’ll grow out of many, if not all of these. But being stung by a wasp guarantees hysterics on hearing a buzz for years afterwards (from both you and him).
He realizes he’s a boy, understands what happens when boys grow up and that he isn’t, without hormonal manipulation or surgery, going to grow up a woman.
His memory has expanded – he can now recall events of about a year ago, especially Christmas and birthdays.
HOW HE BEHAVES:
He likes to do proper grown up things, such as hand over the money for shopping and choose his clothes. But he’ll have an unerring knack for picking the most overpriced thing in the shop and will be entirely resistant to what’s on the sale rail. He takes pride in what he wears and it’s sweet to see him develop his own style.
He will be able to understand humor such as slapstick on television and get verbal jokes, after they’ve been explained in mind-numbing detail. He may then repeat them and expect you to laugh like a drain. And then tell it again. He will also make jokes up himself although he has no idea what makes a joke so it won’t even be close to being funny. Still, you’re his mum, so you have to smile.
The desire for responsibility looms large; with “I can do it” being a constant refrain. “It” can be cooking the supper or doing the ironing – it’s usually a huge amount more he can manage just yet. But he may surprise you by how grown up he is sometimes, the way he sits looking through books or playing on his own without calling “mummy” for some serious amount of time (over 20 minutes). When this first happens and you have a moment to yourself, you wonder what on earth you used to do all day before you had kids.
His physical achievements: To some extent these will vary depending on what he’s like, some children are more physical than others are. But he is likely to run around a lot and play games in which he swings, dodges, stops and twirls round suddenly. He may enjoy skipping and cycling (still may not be able to do two wheels) and gymnastics, such as the dreaded hanging upside down from bars in the playground, which is terrifying.
He is now highly competent at construction, using blocks to make 3 dimensional buildings. He will also proudly announce beforehand what he will draw and it may even be recognizable. If he draws a human it will have details now like buttons and hair. He can also now draw a triangle – why this is harder than a circle, which he could do last year, I have no idea.
HOW HE SPEAKS:
He now knows 2000 words and can repeat sentences of 10 syllables. He can make up a story and tell it although it may not be a story, as you would normally know it, as it is missing a plot. He can read his own name and will ask what words mean. Sometimes these words will be rude.
He may know his alphabet, particularly if you have kept repeating it to him. He will be able to count to between 10 and 15. In Soren’s case much more! 🙂
WHAT HE LIKES TO PLAY:He is keen on playing real life games such as mummy and daddy or teachers, using his teddies or dollies as pupils. You may be reassured to see he is much harsher on his children than you are. He will love playing with sand, digging, making tunnels and making models out of playdoh. He can master a simple board game, where you take turns and observe rules, and have the patience to play it for a while but will be in despair if he loses. He will also want to change the rules to suit him. But then who doesn’t?
He will have about five close friends. This is the age of the sunny disposition, where he is keen to enjoy life and see the best in people. Borrow or buy a video camera. This is the stuff you’ll want to be playing back when he’s left home.