“I have a plan. The plan is to one day throw paper airplanes at the ice cream truck. It’s not going to be easy. But I’m never going to give up on this idea.” -Jafta Howerton
I’ve always had an affinity for five-year-olds. When I was a teenager, I taught Sunday School at my church, and the five-year-olds were my class. I just adored this stage – when they are developing their own little personalities but still have such an innocent curiosity about the world. Jafta’s fifth year feels like a whole new phase in parenting. Finally, there is a kid in this house that can be reasoned with. Who is able to talk about his feelings without a tantrum. Who gets my sarcasm. Who doesn’t need me to dress him or wipe his bottom. (On most occasions). Who loves Tuesdays when we strategize what he can take for show-and-tell that won’t be “too obvious”. Who frequently starts sentences with “the fact is . . .” or “I’m not even kidding.” The other day I let him watch Little Shop of Horrors for the first time. A little inappropriate, yes, but I make major concessions for musicals. He liked it, but he told me it was basically Dreamgirls, only with a plant that eats people. Which, in my book, is just a perfectly awesome observation. He likes showtunes, but he also loved Greenday, The Beatles, and The White Stripes. He is the master of air guitar. It has been a delight seeing him blossom this year as he entered kindergarten. He loves school. He is learning to read. The sight of him sounding out words in a book makes me a little misty. Yesterday he brought home a book from school and read it to Karis. I DIE. The other night we were eating dinner and I was frazzled from a long day. He could tell. As we sat down, he took charge and suggested that we light a candle and put on some music. He also suggested we do some affirmations, and he went around the table giving a thoughtful compliment to each of us. It was such a surreal moment. I do so much caretaking all day. Seeing him step up and lead us into a more connected dinnertime was an awesome glimpse of the young man he is becoming. He lost his first tooth. And then his second. If I could just freeze him at this age, I would. So, to exhausted moms of busy, hyerpactive three-year-old boys everywhere . . . I am here to tell you. It gets better. Five is a magical age.