Oh I remember the ‘terrible twos’ at 18 months, the ‘threenager’ by her second birthday and the ‘f*!@ing fours’ at about the right time. But nobody warns you about five year olds.
See, by five their tempers are a little more under control. The time out mat is only used in times of emergency. Five means you have a world of peril at your fingertips, and by heck, you’re going to make the most of it.
You thought putting cotton buds up your nose was a younger thing? Think again! She hasn’t done it since, what with me carefully sticking tweezers up her nose to get the stray cotton out.
A particular favourite at the moment seems to be tying anything around her neck. Anything. Fortunately she doesn’t do it too tight, but you can guarantee when you calmly take off what is around there and remind her why it isn’t a good thing, you’ll get the rolleyes, and “oh. Yeah. Whatever” in response like it’s the least important thing in her life, ever. Like I said, it hasn’t been really bad (and I did something much worse as a teenager, so I know we’re not out of the woods yet), but despite repeated reminders it doesn’t really seem to have sunk in.
Another more recent progression is putting your fingers in doorways, right in the part the door is about to close in. Any door will do. A big heavy one is a particular temptation. Fortunately she has only trapped her fingers the once as I’m on helicopter parent reminder alert every time she’s anywhere near anything like that (she seems to like standing in car door spaces when they’re open), having to repeat it at least three times before she’s out of her daydream and listening to me.
I think it was about this age that I set fire to the carpet at my mum and dad’s, so I’m on fire hazard alert. Fortunately we don’t have gas fires in this house, so I’ll have a bit of time off that one and it only really comes into effect when we’re somewhere that does. Mums have to have a bit of time out too you know.
There’s also the ‘when did you grow that tall?!” moment. On heading into the downstairs toilet to make a little Dettol pool for H to soak her hands in, she’d already taken the bottle down from the window ledge and taken off the lid. ZOINKS! I didn’t even think about child safety caps. “Shall I just put some in the sink?” she offered while I tried not to panic. We don’t have a step stool in the toilet, she’s now tall enough to reach the higher storage places. Arse.
One of her friends (age 6) cut the front of her hair a week or so ago as she was bored of her long fringe (which had only just grown out), so the scissors have been hidden. Just in case, you know? At this rate I’ll need a big chest with a lock and key on it to keep things away from her, though then she’ll probably just use it as a giant dice in one of her role play games instead. So maybe not.
Oh, and there’s The Scream. It appeared recently and is what has replaced frustration – now it’s an angry scream when she doesn’t get her way, the loudest scream I’ve ever heard which probably summons all the dogs in the neighbourhood as well as drowning out my tinnitus. I’ve taken to just letting her get on with it, pretending I can’t hear anything which seems to be working. Once she has calmed down we sit and talk about it, and I ask her if screaming like she did helped the situation. She’s still in the very sorrowful shaking of head stage, fortunately. I fully expect the attitude to come in fairly soon, with a stomp off to her bedroom where she’ll “want to be alone” for a while.
Tomorrow she’s five and a half. We’re just another step closer to those magical teenage years….