The Truth of a Five Year Old
I love my sweet boy, I really do. He's funny, bright, likes to do some pretty fun, creative stuff. And he's five and sometimes has a way of spot-on nailing a situation.
This afternoon, Kiddo and I were to meet Joe and so we took a bus downtown. We left a bit earlier than we needed to, for I had an errand to run: I had heard earlier from a friend that an acquaintance's mother had died, and so I wanted to pick up a sympathy card while we were out. That, and my usual short soy latte and an extra snack for Kiddo. That was the plan.
It took us about two minutes of being in the mall, where I was quickly searching for a stationary shop, when Kiddo began to protest. He wanted to go look at toys in a nearby store. "Just to look, Mom, not to buy."
Where is more time when you need it? My clock was ticking down and I really wanted to get the card. It was important to me to reach out-- I'd met the mother in question a few times and really thought she was a special person. And as I wasn't close to her daughter, but had been invited over as a 'friend of a friend' to a few different gatherings, I didn't feel a call was appropriate. A card would be. I had to find a card.
All this ran through my head as I gave a second "no" to Kiddo. "We'll just get the card and go get a snack. I'll try to be quick, and then we have to meet Daddy."
And then, the truth was spoken: "But MOM! It's supposed to be all about ME."
Of course it is! Of course it is, sweetheart! You are five! Of course it IS all about you!
I didn't jump to 'culture of narcissism' or anything like that. Really, I just thought "poor kid, you have to get dragged through the mall for a card for a person you don't even know and all you can think about is how stinking unfair it is that your mom won't let you look at toys.'
I just wanted to hug him. I was, instead, making this moment all about me and what I needed to do. Sometimes, there's really a time and place for this being very appropriate. This was one of those times, but I wished in that moment that we had come down about 15 minutes earlier.
But then, earlier, it had been all about him wanting a bit of extra time to climb the tree in the backyard in the cold January sunshine and to chat for a minute with our friends who are rebuilding our garage.
I almost-- almost--forget that their sense of time is so ethereal. He's so present in this moment. I didn't bring up the tree-climbing time and it wouldn't have mattered. I gave him a squeeze instead. Apologized for things being no fun and then said "Baby, let's hot-foot it over to the coffee shop and get you something yummy."
"Does 'hot foot' mean go fast?"
"That's right, it does. Hot foot!"
Five minutes later he couldn't complain-- his mouth was stuffed with a vanilla scone. Happy again, we went up to Joe's office and finished out the day pretty well.
Don't you know, for a five year old, it IS all about them? I didn't find a card today-- I'll get it tomorrow, but I love getting a glimpse of my kid's perspective about things, even if it's a little inconvenient. Just makes me want to love him more. Little boy-- let me tell you, sweetie, it is all about you. Really, truly.