“It’s hard being five.”
That was C’s opening line to me at breakfast this morning. He turned five years old last week, and apparently was finding it a bit tougher than he’d expected.
“Oh yeah?” I asked, “Why?”
“Yellow stickers and green stickers and red stickers… Oh yeah. It’s hard being five.”
His kindergarten readiness class has the strangest thing in the world: a giant trafffic light made out of construction paper is pinned to the wall that the kids face all day long. Their pictures are clipped to the green light via clothespins. If a child misbehaves enough, the teacher moves his or her picture up to the yellow light and the child is given a yellow sticker. This, of course, is a bad thing. If the child continues his or her miscreant ways, the picture moves to the red light. Presumably, that is the point at which the roof falls in and they’re all crushed like bugs in the rubble.
The stoplight image is the perfect one to use for such a task. It has three clearly defined levels of “goodness” and is easily understood by all the kids. And, of course, I’d imagine that pre-K school supply stores don’t typically stock giant Orwellian eye photographs…
“Don’t worry,” I said. “It’ll get better.”
His mom took a different approach. “As you get older,” she said. “you have more and more responsibilities, don’t you?”
“But it gets better,” I countered, smling at him. “Once you get to be as old as the hills, you don’t get in trouble nearly as much.” For those that are confused, that’s how old I am – “old as the hills.” At least as far as the kids are concerned, at any rate.
“That’s because you know what to do and what not to do.” Momma said.
“True,” I said, “and because you’re as old as the hills.”
The big guy pondered this for a moment and then declared “I’m as old as a Mountain!”
I smiled. “Oh yeah?”
“Old as Stone Mountain.”
“That’s pretty old,” I said.