How strange it seems to be here starting to write this post, just before Mr D turns five.
Such a big number. A number that means we are well and truly out of those toddler and pre-school years. A number that, to the majority of the people we meet, means he is now at school. A number that means he has been here with us for five whole years. Half a decade, 1827 days.
Five means I can barey remember that time of pre-children, it’s an age where I once thought parents of five year olds knew what they were doing by the time their children were five, I mean five years is a long time, right? Surely you know how this parenthood thing works by now.
Well, I can confirm that five years on, I am none the wiser. I find myself questioning and worrying most days. Did we do things right, how could we have avoided something. What if we have made incorrect choices. Surely, by now, I should have this mum-life stuff down and sorted and be much more together?
Let me tell you, the so called terrible twos and threenage years have nothing on the 4.5 – 5 year stage. Believe me. We have had battles upon battles over silly things. Days and weeks where it has felt endless, and at times joyless. Being ‘almost five’ has been tough for Mr D I think. If I’m honest it’s been tough on us all and being almost five has made me question myself so much.
But being almost five isn’t all bad – it means that I get to have those fantastic conversations, those chats where I see a little insight into the boy he has become and the clear individual he is. Those pure conversations that you can only have with a child. A child unburdened by the knowledge of what the world is like, a conversation that is pure, truthful and innocent. The sort of conversations where he is so excited to share that he has learnt something new. The conversations are about the big important things like the name of diggers and trucks. The detail of the book he is engrossed in.
I know what makes him tick even more; those things that really intrigue him. He never tires of reading the same facts about the same trains over and over and over again. He pours over maps, pointing out the places he knows and his memory is remarkable. He is often able to repeat verbatim something he was told a day or two ago. I know the learning styles that suit him, and I know the situations he doesn’t enjoy. It can be frustrating for me at times, and I don’t always handle it well, but I know him so well now that I am getting better at identifying triggers.
He can be an absolute joy one moment and challenging another. We keep reminding oursleves that it’s a phase, things will change and the challenges will pass. I hope they do. I am lucky to have a couple of wise friends who have trod this path already. They keep me sane and remind me that it is all developmentally appropriate (and normal!) behaviour. Somehow the developmentally appropriate behaviours of that little baby throwing food from his high chair was so much easier to accept than the strong willed, loud and exuberant almost five year old.
He is a worrier, and Damian and I need to work hard to help him manage these worries. He often gets himself upset and it can take a while to unpick the trigger for that concern. We need to work harder at easing those worries. He is ever more physical; increasingly agile and quick – enjoying clambering up trees and hills and throwing himself along the gymnastics equipment when we go to our class. He enjoys being out and running or cycling and I’m pleased that he has more or less cracked his cycling now.
Things seem to have clicked for him with his pen control and I often find him just writing out numbers or words or, more recently, drawing and colouring. It’s lovely to hear him imparting some wisdom to his younger siblings as he explains to Miss E what number is next, or as he reads to Mr H.
I have to stop and check myself sometimes as I see him walk down the stairs. Where did that oh so tiny baby go? That tiny baby I could scoop up in one hand, that tiny baby who was little longer than the remote control for the TV? That tiny baby I spent snoozing away the afternoons with. He is now full of limbs and life, bounding around with endless energy and an endless appetite to match (I’m dreading our food bill in the next few years!).
He is a boy. It may sound silly but he so very clearly is a young boy now.
I realised last weekend that he is no longer able to sit comfortably on my knee and It’s getting harder and harder to lift and carry him. I know that, all too soon, he won’t crave that afternoon of sofa snuggles whilst we read and won’t need me to help hold of his bike whilst he gets his balance. He won’t need me to help him to read. He’ll be off; his world expanding ahead of him. I hope we have begun to equip him well.
At five, his interests are all things diggers and trains. He enjoys pouring over large non-fiction books where he can devour details. He enjoys learning Spanish and has really taken to his geography group – something I was going to cut back on as I think we do too much, but he is adamant he wants to continue so we will for now. He is gentle when he needs to be and delights in the simplest of things. He loves Paw Patrol and monkeys – monks goes to bed each night with him, snuggled up together.
Today, as this post publishes my first born turns five.
Five years once seemed like such a long time. I know now how fleeting five years really are.
Have a wonderful fifth birthday Mr D.
Previous birthday updates can be found: