My boys recently turned five and a half. And I think I can now say without a doubt that five is my favorite age so far. (Followed closely by nine to eleven months, but that might just be in the haze of memories. I am obviously forgetting the thousands of ear infections we battled during those two short months and the drool puddles that nearly drowned us.)
Let me tell you why I love five. Well, first of all, because it’s not three. Oh, three was awful. Terrible twos? HA! What a lie. You get past two, thinking you’re home free, and then your kids turn three and into the kind of creatures that would terrify Stephen King.
Four was great, I’ll give it that. I l-o-v-e-d four. They started preschool, and just spending a few minutes with 17 other four-year-olds during morning drop-off made me fall in love with that age every day. They were so sweet and curious and funny at four. Their speech became more intelligible, and communication-related tantrums generally faded away. But then five came, and it’s like four with extra fun bonuses. Last summer, it took my boys weeks to get comfortable enough in the neighborhood pool to even venture off the steps (wearing their floaties, mind you.) And even then, I could typically be seen around the pool with three little boys hanging off me, threatening wardrobe malfunctions as they tugged on my bathing suit top.
This summer? With barely a glance, they were off the steps and enjoying the pool within minutes. Leaving me free to float and relax (relatively speaking, of course). They’re also becoming ever-so-slightly less picky with their eating. A year ago, the thought of them eating homemade fried fish would have seemed as possible as snow in July. But just a week ago, they showed me! Not only did they all taste it, but they all gobbled up their portions.
This week, they sat through an entire movie without once whining at me that it was time to leave (which used to occur thirty minutes into the show). They’re old enough for team sports like t-ball, which, even for a non-sports-lover like myself, is the cutest sight on earth. They don’t cry when I drop them off at school. Separation anxiety be gone! We can finally ease up on The Schedule a bit. Not all the time, mind you, but since their t-ball games don’t start until 6:15, bedtime at 7:30 is pretty much an impossibility. Just the other night, I took them to a movie that started at 7:00! I live life on the edge now, for sure.
Don’t get me wrong, though. Five isn’t perfect. There are more arguments. There’s more sass. And their stubbornness only seems to increase with age. Pretty soon they’ll be losing teeth and reading, and I won’t be able to skip half the sentences on their bed-time stories (who made these books so long?) But right now, I’m enjoying the sweetness and funny moments of five.