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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
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Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it.

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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)

From a person who has done 0 to 23 in what seems a record short amount of time, five is wonderful. I told my number 4 (and last) child that he was not to age beyond five. Of course, he did not listen to me at five and still does not at 16 3/4!
September 24, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterTherese
Fetching. You forgot fetching.
September 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterGray Matter Matters
The conversations thing? It blows my mind EVERY TIME. No matter how many we have (8000 every day since he won't stop talking ever for the love of all that is holy why won't he stop talking ever????), I still pause and think to myself "Holy shit, my son and I? We are having this cool, deep grown-up conversation. Only it's even cooler because he is just so off the wall and hilarious. But he gets this weird concept that even I, the grown-up, can hardly wrap my brain around."

Five is freaking awesome, but so is all-day kindergarten (aka many hours away from five). I agree heartily.
September 28, 2007 | Unregistered Commentersuperblondgirl
Well i don't have a 5 year old but spend alot of time with my just about to turn 5 niece and i think its a great age
October 8, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLaura McIntyre

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