As a teacher I dreamed of the day of when my own children became five. Such an awesome age. Learning so much- right up my alley with starting to read. Away are the terrible twos and trying threes, but fives must be really great. Well, some of that is true.... but there is a lot that no one has told me.
Here's what is awesome about five:
* They go to school- so many fun experiences for them.
* They are learning so much and it is so cool to see that transformation into school aged child.
* They are becoming independent thinkers.
* You can take them to do fun things.... during nap time.
* You can play games, watch movies, and share stories like you would with a grown up... sort of.
These awesome things show up daily! I am thankful for those and hanging onto these blessed moments but there is another side that we also see daily that I wasn't quite expecting at five!
Ivy, the bride, and her groom, Caleb, before the Q and U wedding at school.
But aside from all that great stuff about five there is a lot that I am experiencing that I didn't know about. I feel like Ivy went from toddler to middle schooler over night. For me one of the biggest struggles I have had with five is the attitude. I was expecting that at 10 but it has just hit much earlier than I knew was possible. Her attitude arises about clothes, what we are eating, the way her sister acts, anytime she is told no, and when she is adamantly telling me what I should do! This attitude is that of what I thought I should expect from a near middle schooler.... but here is the kicker..... when I squelch that attitude I am seeing a very toddler like temper tantrum. At five they seem trapped between baby and teenager and that is scary because we have many more in-between years.
During this sweet marriage between the letters Q and U- so that you can form words like quiet, quickly, and quack!
Another part of five that I am seeing is how independent she is becoming..... which can be great when I send her to get dressed, brush her hair, and brush her teeth. But it is also not so lovely when she is already very set in her ways. One example is Ivy's expectation of time. She wants to be early.... very early.... for everything. She has an overwhelming fear of being late. It is the first question she asks when she is woken up for school- are we late???? If we ever do say anything about being late the tears start as if we are going to be ridiculed for being late. She is terrified of this no matter how many times sees that there is no real consequence for being fashionably (haha) late!
Ivy reading to me :)
She is also independent in thinking she can call the shots for what she should wear (she does get a lot of freedom here), when she should go to bed, how Tula should be disciplined, what we name our 3rd child, and what we will be having for dinner. All things that Ivy obviously isn't in charge of! However, I hear daily (with the tone of a 6th grader) her philosophy on the above choices and when I don't buy it, all chaos (cue the temper tantrum) breaks loose.
A little break for shopping for some Orange Leaf.
What I realized.... how I respond to Ivy has had to change at five. First, I have had to get thicker skin. She has told me that I am mean. She has pleaded that parents are supposed to love their kids.... which I clearly do.... but not without some tough love. She gives looks that could kill. And I think she secretly is happy when I make a mistake- which I am quick to admit. Second, I now treat her like a big kid in a way. She looses privileges to fit the crime. You can't play nicely in the play room area, you go to your room and play by yourself. You argue about the one clothing issue you know I am not budging on, you forgo the opportunity to pick out your own outfits. You can't follow the getting ready for bed routine, you go to bed with no book. You aren't following after school rules in my classroom, you are not longer able to get anything out of my cabinets. You can't use good manners at dinner, you will eat in your room [saddest moment ever]. This is DRAINING and I go to bed some nights and think between sitting Tula in time out and "grounding" Ivy I should just throw in the discipline towel. I am tired but I am seeing a change in Ivy and more than anything she seems to know that I will follow through- something that is important to establish early.
I am thankful that Ivy is five and seems to be a pretty typical five year old at that. I am thankful that Ivy is healthy and growing and smart. I am thankful that she seems to be getting it.... saying sorry without prompting, going to her room silently when she needs some alone time, and understanding that it hurts us when she makes a mistake. I am thankful for this journey called parenting. Ivy is the guinea pig and she is teaching me so much. I realize my flaws and issues more than ever and I am trying to clean those up in my heart as I have the responsibility of shaping her's. Let's hope I can mold Ivy into a Godly young woman and not royally screw up along the way.