“I like cows because they go ‘moo’ and they can grow as big as a very big cow.” Moses, age 4.
Moses is FIVE. Five feels OLD and MILESTONEY. Five was the age that sounded so far away for so long, and now it’s here, and where did all that time go?! I can’t say I was a huge fan of age three-and-a-half to four-and-a-half, so for a lot of that year the idea of Mo starting school soon was accompanied by thoughts like, “THANK GOD” and “How wonderful will that be!” But lately he’s become (mostly) delightful and interesting and gorgeous again, and realising that school’s now a matter of months away has me instead thinking thoughts like, “My babyyyyyyyyyyyyy!” and “Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!”
I’ve realised that a few of the important things I need to cover in this post to remember Moses as he is on his fifth birthday are the same points I made about him on his fourth birthday. (I’m not sure when personality traits get locked in; it’s possible every birthday post from now on will have the same key points, just with different examples.) He’s still an entertainer; he loves making others laugh (he thinks farts are funny, though, so mostly the people who find him hilarious are aged four or under). He’s sensitive to everything: touch (he has a pain threshold of approximately 0.01. He shrieks as if being stabbed whenever he has the great misfortune of being touched by something that’s COLD), smells (if our mechanic leaves an air freshener in our car post-service, Mo gags for days after we’ve thrown it away), and textures (he hates eating mushrooms because of their rubberiness), to name just a few. He sometimes wails at me, “I’m just feeling a bit fragile today!” (I love this.)
|(The photo of Alan and Mo was taken by Nanna Parsons)|
He’s still fascinated by how the world works. Recent questions include, “How does the music get through the earphones?” and “How does the printer know what to print out?” Despite the fact that I’m rarely able to answer questions like these without the help of others (Google, mostly), Mo still thinks that I know pretty much everything there is to know about everything, except for maybe reverse parking (“Keep going, keep going, keep going – STOP! STOP! You got WAY too close to that car, Mum!”). It’s quite a cool feeling having someone think you’re an expert at all things, but sometimes this belief doesn’t work in my favour; Mo’s biggest tantrum in the last six months was caused by the fact that I informed him of my inability to understand or produce musical notation. He was firstly flabbergasted and then profoundly disappointed that I wasn’t able to transcribe the song he was composing on his xylophone; “BUT YOU’RE AN ADULT!!!” he screamed at me. A defective one, apparently. The end of the story: When he calmed down, I suggested we could possibly get around my embarrassing ineptitude if we drew the colour of the notes he was hitting on the multi-coloured instrument, so we could remember the order in which he’d played them, and, therefore, the tune. The resulting song went like this:
In case you missed it, the tune is ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb,’ and therefore did not require me to be able to write music so much as a simple note above the lyrics: “To be sung to the tune of…” I did not mention this. This is the prequel to that video:
He’s lovely. (He was not lovely in the prequel to this video, which is why it doesn’t exist.)
Mo loves riding his bike or his scooter, and zooms around like a pro on both. He loves playing soccer and cricket in our driveway, and he enjoys diving underwater at the pool and headbutting me in the bottom (this time last year he couldn’t stand the idea of getting his ears wet; he’s come a long way since starting lessons in October). His favourite meal is pies (we’ll therefore be eating pies for dinner tonight); first he cuts the lid off and places it onto a separate plate which sits next to his main plate, then he draws a smiley face on the lid with tomato sauce, then he cuts his pie up into small pieces, eats them, and then he eats the top. He loves sweet foods – particularly chocolate – and will eat anything placed in front of him for dinners if bribed with dessert. We can tell how ill he is by using the biscuit test (WELL = Eagerly eats biscuit. Asks for second biscuit; BORDERLINE = Takes biscuit, eats half, won’t finish it; UNWELL = Says no to biscuit).
Mo’s a critical thinker and a nifty problem-solver. He enjoys doing puzzles. His ability to steer any conversation towards the subject of bottoms (farts, poo, stinky, etc.) borders on genius. He’s still getting his head around both time (“I’m pretty good on my bike, because I’ve been riding it for 11 years now”) and language (after presenting me with another drawing to be stuck to the wall, he said, “When I grow up, I think I’d like to be an art gallery.” Later I put a singlet on him and he looked at himself in the mirror and told me, “I like this top! It makes me look like a football stadium!”). He still says some words wrong, often telling me he’s incited about things he’s actually excited about. He still says, “It’s not there!” instead of “It’s not fair!” (most recently about the fact that Hazel’s birthday was three weeks before his). The following sentence is not an actual quote from Moses (you may be surprised to learn), but it’s a compilation of a few of his most common over-generalisations of past tense verbs: “I goed downstairs and throwed a putting [pudding] at Hazel and she catched it and then bited me!”
Alan: “Mo! You’re doing a science experiment!”
Mo: “That’s because I’m a science.”
Recently Mo announced, “I think I might be a puzzle champion when I grow up!” and then later that day he changed it to (or added) “Lego champion.” Moses is loopy for Lego. This post would not be an accurate representation of Mo at five if I failed to mention Lego. He sometimes cries over the fact that other people in the world have more Lego than he does. A couple of months ago, Alan surprised a sick Mo with a box of Lego and produced the happiest smile I think we’ve ever seen on him. His Lego lives on the lounge room floor (“Move it out of the walkway, please!” is a constant refrain in our household), and the first thing he does every morning is park himself at the Lego and build his little heart out. He then moves his creations up to the table so that he can continue to play while eating breakfast. He used to like making whatever we had instructions for, but lately he’s been looking at the ads on the back of the instructions which show the Lego he doesn’t have, and using those pictures as inspiration for new things to build.
Mo loves it when either Alan or I play Lego with him (“playing” generally means “finding the pieces he needs so he can just focus on building”), but he also happily plays on his own when Hazel goes to sleep on non-preschool afternoons. He regularly sings or talks to himself as he builds, or I’ll hear him doing voices for his Lego characters, hatching some clever plan to catch whatever “baddies” are lurking near the police station.
As well as Lego, he loves building cubby houses and sand castles. When asked what he wants to do with his life when he grows up (assuming that he can be a puzzle and/or Lego champion in his spare time), he usually mentions driving a digger or being somehow involved in the building of things. He also loves drawing and is a neat colour-in-er. He comes home from preschool with his pockets stuffed with folded pictures he’s drawn, and he takes me through each one: “This is Joseph and Henry and me fishing, and that’s a fish, and that’s the sun,” “This is Hazel and a giraffe, and that’s a cradle hanging from the tree,” and “There’s too much happening in this one to explain it all.” In the last couple of months he’s started drawing fingers on his people, and giving them rows (often three or more) of teeth.
Mo’s particularly enjoyed being read to this year. We’ve read The Wind in the Willows and Winnie the Pooh, but his favourites by far have been The Magic Faraway Tree and The Folk of the Faraway Tree, which we finished last night. (He tells us, “I LOVE the Faraway Tree! I’m so incited to find out what happens tonight!”) Alan recently went out to try to find us a better cooking pot than any we owned, and when Mo found out what he was looking for he suggested we ask the Saucepan Man for one of his. *pauses to allow time for the reader to recover from this level of cuteness*
Two more very important mentions: Henry and Hazel. Mo’s known Henry for half of his life so far; they went to Kerry’s and now go to preschool together, and Henry is Mo’s best friend in the whole wide world. We regularly head to a park around the corner from preschool after I pick Mo up. Often I arrive at preschool at the same time as Henry’s parents, and we all walk to the park together, but other days we’ll head to the park first and Henry will come after a bit, or Hen will already be there when we arrive. On those days, Mo and Henry race towards each other, arms outstretched, crying, “HENRY!” “MOSES!” “HENRY!” “MOSES!” as if they’re long-lost friends reuniting after a 10-year separation rather than not-at-all-lost friends reuniting after a 10-minute separation. Mo will be starting school without Hen next year, a fact I’m not sure he’s fully grasped yet. There will certainly be tears when he leaves preschool in December. (Mo will probably be pretty upset too.)
As for Hazel: Mo’s always preferred company to being on his own, and has this year realised how awesome little sisters can be for providing said company.
Mo: Hazel! You want to come find branches with me?
Mo: Hazel! You want to come watch me go to the toilet?
|Moses reflects on a recent Hazel attack.|
Mo very patiently endures Hazel tackling him, scratching him, and stealing his Lego pieces just for fun. He looks after her, interprets for her (“No, she’s saying doctor”), and diligently teaches her about the world (“Put your top lip inside the bottle, Hazel. Inside! Inside! No, Hazel, your top lip goes inside the bottle! Mum, Hazel’s not drinking out of the bottle properly!”). Mo’s a beautiful big brother, and Hazel thinks he’s the absolute bee’s knees/cat’s whiskers/other animal’s random body parts.
Earlier in the year Mo had an imaginary friend, who lived on the moon and would regularly turn up for sleepovers. His name was Erico. As time went by, Erico was given a twin brother, Jericho, and then, last time I checked, a few more siblings:
We haven’t heard much about any of them recently, though.
Mo’s growing up; he loves being responsible, and has started taking brave steps towards independence. Last month he wanted to go by himself to ask for a cup of water from McDonalds (we were in a food court, sans drink bottle); he came running back to me, bawling, because he was too small and no one was noticing him there, but I walked back with him, made it clear to others in the line that he was waiting, and then backed away so he’d have another chance. Remembering the look of pride on his face as he returned to our table, cup of water in hand, still makes me teary. He loves it when I can’t find parking in our street and it’s pouring with rain and I give him the apartment keys and send him upstairs with Hazel while I find a car spot and run back to them. He takes this job very seriously, and is always sitting and playing with something he’s picked out especially for Hazel by the time I return.
Moses: you make us think, drive us mad, crack us up and warm our hearts. We love you times a million bazillion squillion (if you’d seen us painting eyeballs onto cupcakes for you at at 10pm last night, there could be no doubt whatsoever about this). Happy birthday, gorgeous little dude.