Caleb turns five! In a blink of an eye, my baby ran into boyhood.
If I can characterize what 4 years old had been in the past year, it’s been all been super-related stuff:
- Super-big Emotions
As authors of children’s picture books, we often give our characters big emotions and big voices that grab the reader. Being stay-home mum to Caleb has given me the front row seat that reality is truer than fiction.
I’ve witnessed my highly expressive kid switch from angry to happy to sad, all in the space of a few page turns of a picture book.
A super-bookish friend, Suzanne, recommended an excellent series on emotions written by Cornelia Maude Spelman (publisher Albert Whitman) which I have read to Caleb numerous times -mostly toggling between the two titles When I Feel Angry and When I Feel Sad.
When I had read them to Caleb till ad nauseam end of last year, Caleb looked at me and said, “Now read When I Feel Superheroey!”
“They haven’t written that book,” I mused.
“Then just write it!” He told me.
“Right,” I said, making a mental note that Caleb will also benefit from seeing himself in the book When I Feel Dictatory.
2. Super-glue: extra strength, extra sticky
When Caleb was three, I saw how he “fought” for independence in many things with his “I will do it” pronouncements.
But as he started approaching five, he seemed to change his mind to “You do for me”.
Although I keep hearing from his teachers about how independent he is, I’ve been getting quite the opposite from him.
He’s become super-sticky and glued himself to me lots, as though he is suddenly afraid to grow up.
I may have over-prepared him for all the “big boy” things he gets to do for himself when he turns five. He’s been excitedly counting down the months and days to his birthday. Then two weeks before his birthday, he suddenly said,” I’m not ready (to be five).”
It was a reminder to me to slow the pace and allow him time to grow in independence from me at less super-speed.
3. Superheroes & Light Sabers
At 3 years old, it was about puzzles, blocks and board games. 4 years old can be summed up in Superheroes and Star Wars pretend play.
Caleb sped through 4 years old as Spidey, The Flash, Ironman and then in the last four months as Luke Skywalker.
“Mummy, see I run so fast, like Flash. Can you see me?” He sped off from one end of our home to the next and then back in a flash.
“Wow, what was that? I only saw a flash…you’re too fast for my eyes,” I would say.
“Look mummy, I show you.” He does Drama Demo take 52.
“Pretend this is Superman running.” He does a slow-mo jog on the spot.
“I’m faster than Superman. Now, watch me.” He speeds off, faster than a speeding bullet.
“Wow, you are faster than Superman,” I exclaim.
“I told you so,” he said smugly.
Shortly after I took Caleb for a haircut, he stood in front of his room mirror and exclaimed,” I look fantastic!”
“Er…yes, you look very good with your new haircut,” I said, wondering why the sudden vain streak that was so unlike him.
“No, I mean I look like Mr Fantastic!”
Ahh…a superhero…that’s more like it.
Since encountering Stars Wars mid last year, Caleb has now turned into Luke Skywalker, crossing lightsabers with my dad, whom he pronounced as Darth Vader.
Then recently, he had a change of perspective. As we walked into the house, he ran up to my dad and said, “Kong Kong, you are not Darth Vader anymore. You are Yoda!”
Clearly amused at being upgraded, my dad said, “Oh, I’m now the good guy. How come I am Yoda now?”
Without a moment’s pause, Caleb quipped, “You are old. You are good. And you have brains!”
I like to think Caleb has inherited my love for wordplay and a loving use of them.
When I was little (and Caleb did not know my backstories…so it has to be genetic), I used to tell my dad my own bedtime story when he put me to sleep. “Once upon a time, a very very very long time ago, a million zillion years ago, very very very long ago…”
I never finished the beginning of my story because I would be asleep by then.
I was thus very amused to discover that Caleb has an innate love for repeating words too.
During the few times I tried to catch snatches of time to type an email or update some story I was writing, he would take over my laptop to type his favourite sentence, umpteen times over.
If my laptop wasn’t available to him, he would write it on my printer paper (and he uses nothing less than my autograph pen). If not, he would text me the same love messages.
When I was away in Australia for a writer’s festival last year and at the Littworld residential conference, he inundated me with repeated love text messages.
As if his “really really” wasn’t close enough to my “very very”, he also showed a fondness for big numbers like me when I was young. If I thought zillion was the biggest number when I was little, I realize now I am sorely wrong when he made his biggest pronouncement to me.
“Mummy, I love you mer-billion, ker-zillion, ber-thrillion times!”
I think that really really really goes further than a certain book I used to read to him where Big Nutbrown Hare tells Little Nutbrown hare that he “loves him to the moon and back” :).