Being Five

When I was almost five, I came to school crying because I thought my teacher would be the man with a heavy beard and glasses. This was rather a spooky look to me. Finally, it was found out that I was in the wrong class. My real teacher was a chubby smiley lady that changed my world forever.

Being a little younger than five, I asked several students how old they were and realized I was younger. My parents had chosen to send me forward though I had a late October birthday. I did have one other friend in my class whose birthday was the same day as mine and that made me feel a little better.

When I did turn five, we celebrated with some about six of my friends. We colored pumpkins – mine was rather scribbly and Suzie’s was perfect. We put candles on my pancake. We had a big surprise of a hot air balloon. I was convinced that this was arranged just for me. This balloon looks all too familiar now as the D and W hot air balloon that also now frequently appears in the sky.

During the month I turned five, Mrs. Skilling my kindergarten teacher practically waved her magic wand and turned our room into Halloween. A witch and ghost were too life like. The lights were turned out. We sang songs. I cried. Mrs. Skilling let me sit with her on the piano bench.

When I was five we did the play Cinderella. I was a blue bird with my neighborhood friend and one of my best play mates Heidi. We both stood flapping our wings singing “Oh sing sweet nightingale” and I wiggled a little too much because… I needed to use the little girls room. I was one wet bluebird.

I remember being embarrassed that I could read the boys and girls signs above the entrances to the bathrooms. I believe it was Heidi who giggled but helped me out. I couldn’t even figure out why the toilets were different.

When I was five, everyone had a dog at their house but us. They were so slobbery and jumped all over you. I got bit once by a real ferocious one. That ruined it forever for me.

Five was full of memories and also a lot of learning experiences. Despite the wet pants, crying, being slightly different from the rest, I have fond memories of being five.

Yesterday I greeted many of my  new Young Fivers of this coming new year. If there was a class like this way back in 1973 then this might have been an opportunity for me. I met the first half -some I had to pry off their moms. Some cried. Some were giving me five and smiling. I met the second half it was more of the same. Oh to be five.

Oh to be a parent of a five year old. My daughter turned five last week. She celebrated with a ballroom dance from Cinderella -who happens to live across the street. She had a lovely tea party with her fairy godmother- who happens to me a personal friend of mine. She had a pink princess cake. She danced with her new ballet slippers. She opened and closed her brand new music box so many times a day. She ran around trying to imitate her cousin’s skill at catching frogs. She grew tired at about 4 pm. She cried and screamed at the sight or sound of a nearby dog. She at only plain pasta with cheese on it even though I made my really good tomato sauce. One week and counting on being five.

Several parents at the meet and greet at school yesterday questioned if this was the right decision for their child. Five is a tricky age. I considered my daughter and myself. I thought about Heidi my friend since kindergarten who was a little older than most classmates. She probably could have  gone on ahead. She did in fact. She is now a Vet. I went on ahead too – to be a teacher now in her third year out of 22 years of teaching as a young fives teacher. Ironic I think. I would dictate with certainty that the parents in question should follow suit with Young Fives. So many pluses- the gift to time, the chance to develop so many skills, build confidence, enjoy learning under less stress, etc. These are five year olds- handle them with care. In the meantime, they are celebrating and going about their business of being five.

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