"Can I drive when I'm five?"
My daughter is like the Queen. She has two birthdays. One real one during the Summer vacation from school, and one fake one next week. I've been making ridiculous suggestions about all the different things you can do when you're five. First up I made it clear that a five year old isn't just another kind of child. No - a five year old is officially a Big Kid. It's a big deal. You go to school all day long for starters. And considering my daughter believes school to be the greatest thing in the entire world, that's amazing. Then I started listing things that Big Kids often do that would be good for me. They can shower by themselves sometimes. They can do things like clean in their ears and go to the bathroom without ever needing The Wipe Wizard (a shocking name my daughter bestowed upon me a few days back) to magically appear. They can wash dishes if asked to. They can stay at Grandma and Grandpas for ages giving Daddy an easy time with one child around who naps when his big sister isn't arond to poke him awake. They can do an oil change and put the winter snow tires on the mini-van. Simple stuff.
She was slightly more cautious than impressed so I went in for positives. I told her that Big Kids wear a watch because five year old kids can tell time. They have to so that they can see if it's time to catch the bus to school, or how long lunch ism or if it's almost time to come home from school. She liked that a lot. Which I think means that's her birthday present decided. I mentioned going to swimming club in the summer without a parent being there - because it's basically Swim School. Then I went in with the big guns. I told her she can be a Cloverbud at 4 H. Which she was excited about (after I reminded her what it is) - but nowhere near as excited as her mother will be when she remembers that is coming up fast. The only thing that would make my wife more excited than her kids joining 4 H is if they magically turned into meat rabbits or a farm filled with livestock when they hit five years of age. According to modern advertising women are supposed to want diamonds, shirtless men with daiquiris and chocolates, or feminine hygiene products that allow you to sail a catamaran without blood and discharge gushing all over your legs (I may have generalized women's desires somewhat there...). But no - ask my wife and she'll say self-subsistence farming in the middle of Montana or some other such innocent pursuits. Anyhoo - I also mentioned Girl Guides and joining sports teams as well. My daughter enthusiastically mentioned that she'd like to play baseball. Which I'm told is exciting in spite of all the evidence that proves that it isn't.
Fifteen minutes later she came to me looking sheepish. It was a look that suggested she might be in trouble - either from doing something wrong that she knew was wrong - or that something happened that she isn't sure about. After her Day of Despair yesterday I comforted her and asked what was up. Then she held up her hands as if there was something in the palm of one hand, and between the thumb and index finger of the other. I told her to show me what it was. At which point she then dropped a chunk of earwax on my hand. While I was trying to figure out what it was - because it couldn't possibly be earwax based on the large quantity involved - she smiled and smeared another globule of it into my outstretched hand. Obviously I was about to throw them away when she asked if she could keep them. I quickly processed that and figured I had to explain what it was and that she can clean her ears if she likes. So I took her and showed her cotton buds and how to use them - and not to monkey about while she's doing it. "You might accidentally stab your brain..." I alarmingly warned her - as if I was one of those ridiculous scare-you-shitless stories on The Today show that they make up once a week. She then had a quick go at it with minor success and went back into the living room to try the toy drill in her ear.
Another fifteen minutes past and she showed up with a boastful expression and another chunk of earwax. Which she then pooled with her prior achievements. Seeing me give the raised-eyebrow she asked again if she could keep them upstairs in her room. I asked her why and she just said she just wanted to. I've never faced the dilemma of my daughter asking if she can keep some of her own waste before. I know what my wife would say - she'd say yes. She would tell her daughter that bodily waste isn't a suitable thing to decorate a bedroom with - and then they'd investigate the earwax. There would likely be a cross-section involved. So - and I'm prepared for a scowling judgment from some of you - for some reason I told her she could keep it until she goes to school in ninety minutes and then it's going in the garbage.
Hopefully she won't be branching out into other areas. Because frankly I can imagine some sort of horrifying cabinet of curiosities that she would create. One with little drawers and boxes filled with insects she's also asking if she can collect at the moment - all feasting on bodily waste a la Iain Banks' The Wasp Factory. Fortunately for me her attention was completely destroyed by her brother launching an impromptu pillow fight. They ran around the living room battering the shit out each other for ten minutes before I went off to make salami sandwiches for them for lunch.
During which time the appalling happened. Firstly - my son stole my apple. Which he now is aware is at least cheeky - so he stands behind furniture and calls me - taunting me by showing me he's nicked it. Then I ham-act that I'm astonished by it all and loudly proclaim, "oh how rude!!!" When I came back in to finish writing this up the kids were sat with glossy-salami fingers and faces and my apple was back next to the laptop. Except not on the left hand side where I hide my food. No - it was on the other side - right on top of my daughter's earwax collection. I broke the news to her and she took it well enough. Didn't get upset (which would have been weird) and just stated she'll get some more later.
You don't think she means she's going to ask the other kids at school for some do you?