By Kelly Hines

Five year olds might be the most ridiculous people on the planet. Two year olds try, three year olds give it a go, four year olds come very, very close – but five year olds? Five year olds ROCK ridiculousness. They are just smart enough and independent enough to get the concept, but not quite old enough to shut up about it. They have an opinion and four hundred questions about everything. Here are some of my favorite ways a five year old will make you want to punch yourself in the face:

Mealtime: Five year olds like to eat. Except when they don’t. Five year olds love mashed potatoes. Except when they don’t. Five year olds like ham and cheese sandwiches, until the time when the cheese is ‘weird’ after spending the morning in his lunchbox and he throws it up in the cafeteria. Then the school will call you because they think your child has a stomach bug, but you know he’s just being ridiculous.

Crossing the Street: Five year olds don’t want to hold you hand, because they are entirely too old for that nonsense. Five year olds will lock their arms straight to the sides of their body and clench their fists at the suggestion. They will insist that walking ‘very very close’ to you is sufficient, and will demonstrate its efficacy by pressing their bodies so tightly to yours that you stumble through the parking lot like you’re coming off a three day drunk.

Brushing Teeth: “I can’t brush my teeth by myself!”, he cries, and then spends the longest two minutes in history making damned sure you can’t do it either. “Ooh, wah ooh wah ooh wah”, brushing teeth becomes time to practice his enunciation, he’s foaming at the mouth like a mad cow, and I’m yelling “Show me your teeth! Monkey face! MONKEY FACE!” By the time I’m finished brushing my five year old’s teeth, I am a sweaty mess and wondering if dentures might be an option.

Spelling: “MOM, how do you spell Skylanders?”, he asks, fingers poised over the iPad. “S-K-”
“What does K look like?” “Kicking King, buddy.” “Kicking King?” “Kicking King, K-” “Wait, S-K? Are there two Ks?” “No, just one K. Then Y-L” “Lucy Lamplight? Then the K?” “No, just L. A-” “What came after the S?” “Just give it to me and I will type it in!”

I Will Do It Myself: I will pour my own milk and spill it. I will wash my face and miss all the dirt. I will tie my shoes in a series of impenetrable knots. I will clean my room by shoving everything I own into one drawer. I will insist I can do my math homework by myself, even when I am not entirely sure what ‘math’ is.

Why?: “Mom, could you explain, in terms my five year old brain will understand and not prompt a thousand other questions, the exact meaning of life, the symbiotic relationship of man and nature, why bad things happen to good people, and how babies are made?”

Creepiness: Five year olds are a special kind of creepy. “If I were a grown up, I’d never let you go,” my five year old says to me one night. It was so sweet, until he looked at me in the next moment and said, “But you will die.” Five year olds are good for reminding us of our own humanity, and also of our floppy bodies, skin imperfections, bad breath, drinking habits, and lies we may have told.

Lovies: Five year olds give a ridiculous amount of love. They will crawl up in your lap (because they still can), and kiss your cheeks and give you big, grubby hugs. They will flat love your face off, because you are still the best thing in their world. And suddenly, you don’t mind how ridiculous they are.