My beautiful five year old boy often challenges me. He is teeming with ideas and questions and opinions. His energy is apparently boundless and his determination to get his own way often stronger than my will to enforce boundaries. I find myself counting down from 10, and the rage barely simmering by the time I get to 1. I love him and adore him, but at times I find him extremely difficult to parent. It is in those moments, I need to remember what is to be five.
If he had eloquence and insight, this is what my five year old might say to me:
Mumma, I am five. In my veins course fire and imagination, energy and creativity. My legs were not made to sit still. My arms were not made to rest. I am busy, busy, busy. I need to run and to jump and to play. Sometimes the enormity of my energy overwhelms me – and I need to get it out. Out. OUT.
Mumma, I am five. When I see boundaries, both figurative and literal, I want to push against them. I need to climb them and test them and see where I stand. This is my job and it is your job to guide me, to limit me, to expand my world and to keep me safe.
Mumma, I am five. I don’t just play Batman and Star-wars and Octonauts. I AM Batman. I AM Luke. I AM Kwazzi. When I am saving the world or the galaxy or the oceans, it is much more important to me than cleaning my room or eating my breakfast. Give me time to break away from the places that consume me. I will listen. Eventually.
Mumma, I am five. I know you don’t like guns and we aren’t allowed them in the house. But I will continue to bite my sandwiches into a pistol shape and wield the plastic cricket wickets. I am playing a game that boys have played since little boys begun.
Mumma, I am five. I am very grown up and I am still very small. I am negotiating a whole new set of rules and people and things at school. I am learning new things and trying new things and figuring out who I am. I am your grown-up boy. I am still your baby. I might push away a hug and want kisses a moment later. I am figuring a lot out right now – I need you to help me.
Mumma, I am five. I love you so much and I do want to please you. I want to do the right thing. Sometimes, it can take me a little while to figure out what that is. Please do not think that your parenting up until this point has been for naught. That I am a stranger adopting behaviour you never modelled. This is all a process. I will come back to what I have learned.
Mumma, I am only five. There are a lot of expectations on me.
Mumma, I am such a big boy of five. I like to be grown-up.
Mumma, I am such a little boy of five. I will always be your baby.
Mumma, you are doing a good job