Five and a half is a fantastic age. When you’re five and a half, you’re on the cusp of true big-kid childhood, as wrist rings fully disappear along with training wheels and baby teeth. When you’re five and a half, the world is your oyster.
When you’re five and a half, you’re halfway between new person and eleven. You are little and big on the kid continuum. You’re magical and you know it.
Five and a half is the sweet spot of sweetness, yet it’s a non-milestone. There is no smash cake or set of keys. There is simply this . . .
1. The willingness to wear a t-shirt with a jar of peanut butter wielding a butter knife fighting a jar of jelly brandishing a spoon, with no sense of irony at all.
2. Skinny bruised little legs that look like someone drew them with a pencil.
3. The utter fascination with the first kid in the class to get glasses.
4. The even more extreme pride for being the first kid to lose a tooth.
5. The shark-toothed grin with that missing tooth.
6. An unshakable belief in the hilarity of butts in any and all situations. Farts too.
7. An inclination to participate in absentminded hand-holding with anyone: friends, parents, grandparents, and siblings.
8. The confidence to declare an understanding of what Santa looks like since glimpsing his picture on the million-dollar bill.
9. The continued use of the word mommy.
10. A preference for walking around with a sunscreen-caked face rather than let an adult rub it in all the way.
11. The enjoyment derived from stacking coins into piles and calculating net worth.
12. Finding even more joy from running around like a wild man at the park with other little five-and-a-half-year-olds.
13. Eager participation in pizza nights with movies even when the movie is way too long.
14. The importance of having a jar, box or container for everything.
15. The opinion that plastic jewels are treasures and keeping them as such.
16. The ability to build a better Lego city than they have displayed at the Lego store—blindfolded.
17. The belief that a bath is either a colossal waste of time or an afternoon activity complete with a full textbook’s worth of soap-based scientific experiments and discoveries.
18. The understanding that only Life cereal for breakfast will do and the insistence on preparing the cereal without help.
19. Being cool with Velcro.
20. Not knowing that there are only a few short years until the innocence of this charming age is gone and carrying happily along in ignorance.
Five and a half is all of the adorable things you meant to write down that your child said and did, but never got around to doing in the blur of having small kids. It’s the memory flash of past cute when your teenager tells you to fuck off.
So before it’s gone, let’s crack open a juice box and have a moment for five and a half.