It’d be great to be five.
Not five o’clock when my the maritimely authentic, personally installed barn mounted yardarm dips below the sun, rather a physical age where mental conundrums are verbalised without ever passing through any kind of appropriateness filter.
Let me source you a representative example; to my left Random, five years old and cheerfully unconnected to the workings of the world, to my right a copse of wind blown autumnal leaves latterly connected to their host trees.
“Dad, I know why those leaves are falling off the trees”
“Why’s that Hon?”
“Because it’s Autumn and the tree has to go to sleep for the winter”
“So, these leaves, they all die do they? Doesn’t the tree love them anymore?”
Thinks for a bit, death is a minefield that kids simply navigate whilst you explode on moves they’ve planned three moves ahead
“They’re not dead Hon, they’re just going into the soil to make new trees”
I’m pretty happy with this, most angles covered
“They still die though, they don’t even live a year and even our hamster lasted longer than that”
Bugger, that bloody hamster, it didn’t die of natural courses, it’s genetic drive for an out of cage experience ended fatally during an in a cat experience.
“Well yes I suppose so but the tree goes on for ages, come and have a look at how old it is”
It’s an old oak, stretching arthritically for the sky throwing limbs akimbo around a fat and knarled trunk.
“Wow, that looks really old? changes verbal direction “Is the bark like skin then?”
Prods next sentence with minesweeper. Comes up with a clean tone
“Yeah I guess it is”
“Wow, looks even more wrinkled than Grandma and She’s ANCIENT”
Grandma is in attendance. Now not looking quite so fondly at her previously loved cheeky granddaughter. Change subject rapidly before she gets really personal.
“Anyway, why didn’t you want to walk home from the pub, you’ve only been swimming, you’ve had a huge lunch, you got up late, you’re only five, what’s wrong with you?”
Pensive expression spreads on her face like clouds on a sunny day. Fastens finger to lip and mentally strains for the right words. Clouds turn to rain as she’s clearly upset she can’t express herself properly
“Well Dad, you know, you know, I’m, you know…, you know…..”
“Come on, have a go at the words, what do you mean”
“Dad, I’m bloody knackered”
Grandma de-wills youngest daughter whereas I have to be collected off the pavement due to hysterical convulsions. But this is the kind of thing that happens all the time with Random – she’s just loose change in the vast mint of real life.
A couple more to cement the argument – When asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she responded with a huge smile and “I’d like to be a big house which we could all live in”. And only last week she asked me “Daddy, if I was a baby elephant, would you still be my dad?”
Biologically tricky to answer that one. But I tell you if they grow up any faster, I’m having ‘em down the hospital to check for Genetic Modification.