My daughter turned 5 a few months ago. It was a big day for us all! Five is a big milestone, especially in India, where the mortality rate in kids below 5 years is huge. Five also means no more oral Polio drops, as the child is out of danger for contracting the Polio virus.
But my daughter turning 5 came with its own set of issues. Let’s see them one by one:
They understand everything (and believe me, EVERYTHING!) – They can not only speak at least a couple of languages fluently, but also understand your pauses, your sign or eye language that you use to communicate with your spouse, your facial expressions. Nothing goes past them.
They become independent – At 5, your little darling is independent in the ways you cannot imagine. It delights you, and at the same time makes you wonder when did this happen. Your child can finish his morning ablutions without your help, she can dress herself and do various personal chores for which she was dependent on you earlier.
They become more responsible – My daughter was very careless or carefree before. But, now I can see the change in her. She tidies up her room after her play, she remembers her teacher’s instructions and takes care of her personal belongings. Also, when she sees me upset or unwell, she inquires, gets me water and the best of all, she hugs me.
They become more stubborn – I was not sure it was possible till I saw it happening with my daughter. My daughter has become more stubborn. The other day when she didn’t finish her lunch, I warned her that she would not get anything else to eat till her evening milk. She said – It’s OK. I won’t feel hungry!
They behave like teens – Here, I was dreading my daughter’s teenage, but seems it came a little too soon to plague me. At 5, she is already behaving like a teen. I gave her a time out which is usually some quiet time alone in the storeroom. After a while, when I went to check up on her, what did I see! A big notice on the storeroom door.
NO – Mom not allowed in the store room in case you didn’t understand.
Seriously, why wait for the teenage, even a 5 year old is enough to bowl you over.
Their social needs come first – Till a few years ago, she was happy to tag along with me wherever I went, happy in the knowledge that she was with me. Well, times have changed and how! She still likes to tag along with me, but she needs to know first whether she would enjoy there. “What will I do at the grocery market? I get bored there!” “There is no one to play with me at your friend’s house!” So you see, wherever you go, you need to put their social needs first.
They are little politicians – They may be five year olds, but believe me, they are smart. Five year olds know which side their bread is buttered. They behave differently with different people. They might be a monster at home, but when they meet a guest or someone they know who usually gets goodies for them, they are sweet as angels.
They are a (an almost inexhaustible) bundle of energy – My daughter wakes up at 7 in the morning, attends school, goes to different classes and plays in the park in the evening, and goes to bed by 9:30 pm. I mean by the time I put her to bed, I am exhausted, I do not know where she gets her energy from. Sometimes I wonder if she has an auto-recharge button set in her body. There has to be one!
They like to pretend play – They might eat your brains for new toys, but the truth is, at least for the girls, that more than toys and games, they love to assume roles and enact different scenes from their daily life. So I see my daughter and her friends playing mama-papa, mama-baby, teacher-student, doctor-patient, etc. Well, one day, I saw my daughter with a big ball under her t-shirt.
When I asked her – What are you doing with a ball?
Mama, it’s a baby. I have a baby in my tummy!
They are opportunists – They know exactly when to strike, at your weakest moments, of course! My daughter asks for chocolates or other prohibited things usually when I am on an important call with a client or talking to a friend or neighbour. She knows mama is cornered and cannot do anything about it. She keeps on pestering me unless I finally say ‘yes’! Mission accomplished.
They are your little helpers – At 5 years, they are pretty much able and confident to help you with the household chores. My little one helps in the kitchen, sets the dinner table, loads the washing machine and does odd chores. Even though I have to supervise her, it still takes off some of my load.
It’s an interesting mix of good and bad, but I am enjoying every bit of it. Let’s see what the future has in store for me!