I just did a very small amount of research to learn what milestones the average five year old child should be closing in on. Now, we all know there is no average child, and that these things should be fluid to allow for individual quirks and development, and so on and so forth. But hang in there with me. This is the site I went off, if you’re keen.
The milestones are in four categories: social, communication, cognition and physical. At five years old, kids should be:
- wanting to please their friends, and be like their friends
- showing concern and sympathy for others
- speaking clearly and telling stories
- counting to ten
- copying shapes
- using the toilet independently
- balancing on one foot
… as well as several other key things.
Now look. I don’t know how much I agree with this list. I’ve met adults who struggle with some of them, and childhood seems to be such a small window, doesn’t it.
If I had to write a list for what I’d want five year olds to be able to do, it would look kind of like this:
- know who you are, and what you like and what you don’t like – but be open to trying new things
- know that even though some things might seem scary, with people you trust helping you they might not be so scary after a while
- be able to be as independent as you need to be in given situations
- be able to play on your own happily
- be able to play in a group happily
- treat people, and yourself, nicely
- be excitable and silly and roll on the grass at every opportunity
Beloved and I are celebrating five years together today.
When she left for work this morning, I told her our jobs today were to come up with a list of five highlights. Here are mine.
1. Beloved is able to grow her love for other people. She never seems to have an empty love bucket, and she shares that stuff widely. When we meet new people, she welcomes them openly. When we make new friends, they are friends for life. She’s like the Magic Pudding, but with love.
2. When she laughs she laughs loudly and it cannot be contained. It’s frigging awesome. The people around her start laughing and then she laughs more and it carries on and on. It’s just the best.
3. When I broke my leg on the cruise she tried to not get off at the different ports, because she didn’t want to leave me. I made her get off, but to think she’d prefer to shove me around in a wheelchair instead of seeing some beautiful islands blew me away. And she didn’t bitch about it, didn’t complain – the broken leg didn’t bother her one iota. Not because she didn’t care, but because for her, it was more about the being – not about the doing.
4. I have a collection of photos of my beloved bending over. She might be looking for a DVD, or weeding a garden, or putting shoes on – any time her bum is up in the air, I take a photo. And every single time, she looks at me with the same expression on her face. Shock, and a kind of bewildered “Again?” look. I tell her I am going to make a Beloved Bum Calendar but I haven’t (yet). But this is the thing. She seems to enjoy my quirks, my humour, my strange little heart. And she’s made me see that maybe, just maybe, I’m not as bad as I used to think I was. So I will continue to photograph her arse. Because it makes me laugh, but not as much as the expression on her face when she hears the camera snap.
5. Finally. Beloved has been through so much with me. Surgeries. The Aspergers diagnosis. My stubbornness. My lack of flexibility when it comes to achieving something. My over-parenting of the fur babies. My frustration with her technology skills. But she keeps on loving and she keeps on adapting and she keeps on telling me it’s OK. And with her next to me, it usually is.
My list of milestones for a five year old are pretty much a summation of our relationship.
And I wouldn’t change a thing.