The Unmumsy Mum writes candidly about motherhood like it really is: the messy, maddening, hilarious reality, how there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach and how it is sometimes absolutely fine to not know what you are doing. We asked her for her six truths about six-year-olds.
- Six is a lot older than five
If you thought it was only a year older then I’m afraid you were gravely mistaken. Any self-respecting six-year-old will tell you that five was practically a baby. Six is big boy and girl territory. Six means they can stop doing and liking certain things overnight, like watching Paw Patrol and eating Dairylea, which they used to like in the olden days (when they were five).
- Milestones become harder to assess
Right from the test-says-you’re-pregnant word go, there are a whole host of online guides and apps telling you the rate at which your unborn child is developing i.e. she is now the size of a pomegranate and no longer has webbed toes. With babies, toddlers and even pre-schoolers, you’re permanently on the lookout for signs that certain developmental goals are being reached. Are they still following the same line on their growth chart? Have you mastered potty training yet? Can they hold a pencil properly? By six, they’re at least a full year into the school adventure and any observations surrounding developmental milestones become more subjective, allowing for a greater variation (‘they might lose teeth at some point this year, then again, they might not’). Thankfully, by this stage it’s quite unlikely that anyone will still be referring to your child’s age in weeks and obsessing over their weight (‘Yes he’s 321 weeks old now and 49lb – it’s getting tricky balancing him naked on the scales!’)
- School friends become The Oracle
At one stage, Mummy and Daddy’s opinions on music, food and fashion would have superseded everything else. By six, things are neither cool nor true unless Toby from 1C said so. So, despite the fact they’ve never played it, Minecraft becomes their favourite game (‘Toby says there are monsters called creepers, how cool is that?!’) and chit-chat on the way home turns to films and footie: ‘OMG! You’ll never believe it but Toby did a football academy with Steven Gerrard and Steven Gerrard said Toby had the best skills he’d ever seen. Better than Ronaldo!’ Don’t even think about raising an eyebrow, for these things are facts. Toby said so.
- They know everything
By six, kids will appear so worldly-wise, you’d be forgiven for thinking they’re ready to leave home and live independently (just as soon as they’ve mastered tying shoelaces and stopped relying on you to remind them to put pants on). If you thought you’d retained any information about history from your own school days, prepare to stand corrected, as your kid has watched one episode of Mr Benn on YouTube (the one where he tries on a Gladiator’s outfit) and is now an expert on the Roman Empire.
- Self-awareness creeps in
Despite your best efforts to stop them growing up too quickly, the first real signs of being desperate to be accepted among their peers start to show. All too often this means girls will declare that boys smell and boys will declare that girls are rubbish, though an exchange of glances and blushing cheeks suggests they might be starting to think otherwise. Just don’t use the F word when talking about a classmate of the opposite sex – no, not that one – fancy, as in, ‘Rupert fancies Millie!’ as this will prompt mass hysteria and giggling. It’s also the age at which a certain amount of sass creeps in, best demonstrated at the school disco with jewellery from Claire’s Accessories, hair gel stolen from Dad’s drawer and an awful lot of ‘dabbing.’
- They’re good company
Admittedly, their choice of conversation topic can get a little tiresome, particularly when you find yourself 45 minutes into a scene-by-scene rundown of their favourite episode of Henry Danger, or an in-depth discussion about which member of Little Mix they want to be when they grow up (at which point you’ll feel the need to explain calmly that they won’t be allowed to wear thigh-high boots and suspenders until they’re at least twenty-five). However, at six, they start to really get things. When they laugh at things on the telly, you’ll realise they’re laughing because they finally understand the joke and not just because somebody mentioned poo. They’ll start to develop an attention span of longer than twenty seconds which means you might actually finish a game of Junior Monopoly (providing you let them win, obviously). They’ll even give you their considered opinion on certain things, such as whether the curry you made was nice, how your dress looks and what they think you should do about the tiles in the bathroom. Just remember that at six, they’re yet to cultivate tact and will therefore think nothing of remarking how incredible it is that you still look pregnant, even though the baby came out twelve months ago. Such a special age.