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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
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« What has Alice been doing? | Main | An open letter to five-year-olds. »
Wednesday
Sep192007

Why you should not fear Five.

I do not wish to terrify my friends who live with children under five, or don't have any kids yet. I certainly don't want them to make life-altering changes due to my outbursts. Do not worry, friends! All is not horror and shrieking when the child becomes five! No, the five-year-old, at least the one at our house, often exhibits many charming and lovable behaviors. I would even say that these behaviors cancel out the awfulness, so even if you're exhausted and enraged, Five can turn it all around, sometimes within minutes. That's why we keep them around.

This is a small sampling of the Charms of Five. I'm sure there are more, but then, we're still three weeks away from official Five-dom:

1. He likes to be a helper. (Uh, usually.) Want someone to set the table? Five will do it! Need your surfaces dusted? Hand your five-year-old a damp cloth and he'll get to work! If you're having dinner and Five announces that he wants another glass of milk, guess who can go get it his own damn self? That would be Five! As long as you don't mind poorly folded napkins, dust streaks on most everything, and the occasional milk puddle, this new Helper is a wonderful person to have in the house. Especially if you're incredibly lazy, as I am.

2. He's a deep thinker. Five will ask many questions about, say, hypnosis (he didn't get it from me! I blame children's programming); when you answer them, he'll ask relevant and probing follow-ups. ("You mean it's like your brain is taken over? Can you make someone do whatever you want them to do?") Suddenly you realize you're having a conversation. With your child! It feels sort of miraculous.

3. He's ridiculously fun. One day your child's humor is relegated to poop jokes and puzzling squeaky noises, and the next he's performing uncanny impersonations of friends and family. He's rolling his eyes at you and uttering bon mots that you can't write down fast enough. And he can perform dance moves that leave you weak with laughter. When you walk to school, you don't just walk, you Leap Over Pools of Lava while Running From Double Agents. This, FYI, is an excellent way to get to school on time.

4. You can share cool things with Five. You can read books you remember loving when you were little; you can watch moviesand shows that don't make you want to retch into your cupped hands. No more television shows whose plots revolve around a loose shoelace or a broken cup. (Goodbye, Miffy, and GOOD RIDDANCE.) You can browse the Internet together for funny images. (If you want to make Five crack up, find pictures of hairless cats. You're welcome.)

5. He goes to SCHOOL. And then you can have some time to yourself, and get some work done, and also remember why Five isn't all bad.

Reader Comments (54)

Have you shown him pictures of chinese cresteds?
September 20, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterschmutzie
Have you shown him pictures of chinese cresteds?
September 20, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterschmutzie
Have you shown him pictures of chinese cresteds?
September 20, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterschmutzie
Have you shown him pictures of chinese cresteds?
September 20, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterschmutzie
Have you shown him pictures of chinese cresteds?
September 20, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterschmutzie
Have you shown him pictures of chinese cresteds?
September 20, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterschmutzie
Have you shown him pictures of chinese cresteds?
September 20, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterschmutzie
Have you shown him pictures of chinese cresteds?
September 20, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterschmutzie
Have you shown him pictures of chinese cresteds?
September 20, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterschmutzie
Have you shown him pictures of chinese cresteds?
September 20, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterschmutzie
Have you shown him pictures of chinese cresteds?
September 20, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterschmutzie
YES YES FOR THE LOVE OF GOD YES!!!!



September 20, 2007 | Unregistered Commenteralice
Know what I think? I think you are feeling guilty over that last post! I agree though, that they are at least as charming and wonderful as they are annoying (most of the time).
September 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterEm
and then, like my children, at 2 o'clock then they return home, they've all gone bipolar until bedtime and time to myself when they were in school was long forgotten and unappreciated by me. But all the stuff you said is right on and true for me too...cute!
September 20, 2007 | Unregistered Commentersteppingoverthejunk
Hairless cats and naked mole rats--their name has "naked" in it, which is almost the funniest thing!
September 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterCynthia
Oh my goodness, you've just described my son right down to the lava and the double agents!
September 20, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterliz
I love 5. Much better than 3, which I name the terrible 3s. The sad thing about 5 is that they're just about the right age to be civilized and reasonable -- and you can talk to them as a friend. And that's when they want them for kindergarten. I don't mind having a 5 around -- so why can't they take the 3 when I need the break?
September 21, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSusieJ
I recently asked my Five, "How did you get to be so cute?" (This is a frequent question/game.)

And he answered, "It's all in the bones."

'Nuff said.
September 21, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMichele
Five sounds like a drinker.
September 21, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBOSSY
damn. you did it again.
September 21, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterIsabel Kallman
we are 2 months away from Five, and I can't wait. the beginning of pre-K (at a new school) has led to some regression, which in our house means Maisy. Have i mentioned how much i hate Maisy? Not much Maisy, though, more the alligator and the creepy pedophile narrator.
September 21, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterislaygirl
When Henry was FOUR you posted one of my top ten EVER fave posts ... and a lot of comments suggested you just hunker down and wait for sweet sweet FIVE. I must say, my kid at five is DARLING! Four was hell. I was taken by surprise - thinking that it would all be downhill from three. Four was stubborn and and argumentative. Five ... ah, five. She is helpful and silly and smart and funny ... and away at school from 9-3!
September 21, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLisa O
Eight? Can peel potatoes and remove wallpaper.

Eight can not only read the covers of tabloids at the supermarket check-out, but also ask the question "So, who exactly are Angelina and Brad, why does it say their sex life is bad?" and not be redirected to the candy bars on the other side, nor be content with incomplete or evasive answers. She was like that at 5, but oh boy...what three years will do for an already precocious child.

I hear from friends with older kids that 5 - 12 are the salad days. After that, hormones turn them back into three year olds, except with larger vocabularies and you can't pick them up and force them from the driveway.

Whoo-hoo.
September 22, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterjozet
I just exhaled for the first time in days. Thank you.
September 22, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMom101
Incidentally, Eight finds pictures of hairless cats head-slappingly funny, too. Keep those pics around.
September 22, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

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