I have been thinking recently of starting a series of posts about my daughter, in true mommy blog fashion. She changes so much, and is growing up in front of my eyes. So, what is she up to right now? What’s it like living with my 5 year old?
Well. Five is a strange mixture of independence and clinging to the last vestiges of babyhood. For example, she still wants to be carried a lot, and she still sucks her thumb (I admit it–I think the thumb sucking is adorable–I should probably work on stopping her, though). She loves to be snuggled on my lap, especially when she’s tired. She still asks for her favorite stuffed lamb, though she has moments where she will leave him behind, and be totally fine with it. The other day she told me firmly that he was going to stay at preschool for the night, and he did. She asked for him at bedtime, and then remembered where he was, and went to sleep with two other stuffed animal friends. Since then he has come home with us, every night.
At the same time, she is starting to be interested in big girl things. She asked to have her toenails painted a few weeks ago. We did buy some nail polish, and I painted them for her, and she loved it. A few days ago she asked me for some high heels, because one of her little preschool friends has a pair that she wears to school. I laughed and told her we can get her some for dress-up but high heels are not everyday wear. How would she play on the playground and climb things in heels?
She remains her independent, strong-willed self. I put her hair up everyday, and everyday she takes it out, and comes home with it down and hanging in her face. She chews on the ends of her hair which drives me nuts–the ends of her hair are wet, and when they dry, they are sticky and clumpy. Ew. When I see her chewing on her hair, I tell her to take it out of her mouth, and she does. 30 seconds later it’s back in her mouth. She still prefers to eat with her fingers despite my every effort to get her to eat with utensils. She even eats ice cream with her fingers–even when I give her an ice cream cone, she digs the ice cream out and sucks it off her fingers. She takes apart her food into components and eats each ingredient separately if possible. She still does not like to go to sleep, and often will still be awake an hour after we put her to bed. She reads books in bed and generally stays quiet. I wonder how she can survive, going to sleep at 10 pm and getting up at 7, but somehow it doesn’t seem to bother her.
She has moments of explosive anger. When she doesn’t get her way, she threatens to hurt herself or destroy things. This is something we are working on and it’s a slow process. She has a lot of strong emotions for a little person. She likes to be in control (ahem, like her mother) and has a hard time when she can’t always be calling the shots. At such moments she still resorts to kicking and tantruming and yelling threats at us. We try to be calm and patient with her, and encourage her to talk about how she feels rather than making threats. We do use time-outs when needed.
She has moments of deep thoughts and asks great questions. A few weeks ago we were playing Uno together and she randomly said, “Mama, when I’m grown up, will you be dead?” It caught me by surprise and I had to think for a second before responding. Nothing like your children reminding you of your mortality.
We have started reading the Little House books together. We just finished the first one, Little House in the Big Woods, and today we went to the library and got Little House on the Prairie. I love the family reading time we have together at bedtime, all piled together on our bed. She is genuinely interested in Laura and Mary and their adventures with their family. She became very upset when they made cheese and had to kill a calf to get the rennet in the calf’s stomach. She said tearfully, “why do they have to kill the baby? Why can’t they let it grow up into a big cow first?”
She has developed a paralyzing fear of spiders. Our old house is full of them, and she looks for them in every room. She keeps track of the locations of them. For awhile she was refusing to go into any room that had a spider unless she was accompanied by an adult. So I embarked on a PR effort to educate her on the good things spiders do–eat bugs! And they generally don’t bite or bother humans. I’m working on this, with limited success. She still won’t go in the basement without one of us with her. That place is full of spiders.
She also picked out three other books at the library today–two about dinosaurs and one about fossils! I love that she’s starting to have interests of her own and seek out subject material she wants to learn more about. She paged through one of the books, and pointed at a picture and said, “Look, Mom! It’s a parasaurolophus!” I have never in my life heard of that dinosaur, and it just rolls off her tongue! She is doing a great job at becoming an independent reader. I love watching the world of books open up to her.
Her play is so imaginative. When she has friends over, they play princesses (usually Anna and Elsa from Frozen). They instruct each other on the dialogue and action and pretend to be all the characters. Mostly she can play independently with a friend but her social skills need a little help now and then–she’s not great at navigating disagreements. She always wants to be in charge.
I just came downstairs from putting her to bed. Recently she’s been wanting lots of hugs and kisses, and she has invented something she calls “tickle kiss.” It is exactly as it sounds–you tickle the person as you are giving them a kiss. She loves it, and asks for it every day now. I love her silly sense of humor. Five is fun age. She is very much a little girl now, someone you can have a conversation with. Mostly we are past the struggles of toddlerhood and she can do the activities of daily living on her own, which makes our relationship so much more fun. It frees me up to parent in a new way. We can talk about ideas. She asks a lot about the baby in my belly, and we talk about how the baby is growing, and that I can feel the baby kick. We watch videos online about fetal development and she is fascinated by them. It’s fun to watch her learn and grow.
Martha, I am curious to see how Miriam and Archer will play when we see you soon! I loved the little glimpse of him we got on the last video chat. So glad we will be all together soon.