The speed of five

Last year when my nephew Hank stayed with me, I wrote a post about “the speed of four“. Well, Hank is older so his mum went away for longer and while she’s been cavorting around Spain, I’ve had Hank staying here. I’ve decided that five is absolutely more lucid than four (good news there) and for the first time ever, the Hank-man (a gentleman of extreme passion and conviction) has made it through three days and nights with only loosing his s**t occasionally (instead of constantly) and without biting a single other person. That’s incredible personal growth. There have been challenges and rewards and I’m almost sorry to see him go home today. Almost. I find these years, the “Mr. Dress-up years” the most challenging of all. Five year olds are too young to be entirely reasonable, too young to get themselves a sandwich and pretty much too old to breastfeed…which, to be entirely honest, was largely my solution to the unreasonable, unsandwich making dilemmas of the younger child.

Note: today’s photos were provided by the five year old in question, who asked if he could take pictures of wool too.

Challenge: There are petrified apple slices stuck to the top of my bedroom heating vent. I don’t know how I got to be a mother of three kids this old without knowing that you could petrify apple slices that quickly…but there you go.

Reward: I get to read this book out loud each night. I love this book. I love reading out loud to people with low standards. I love human beings who fit on your lap and have hair that smells like sunshine and playground dirt.


(Note: I believe this is the purple ear flap hat that Meg is knitting. The photographer may have been under-supervised with the camera while I tried to make something for dinner. Joe went to the grocery store but bought only the first half of the stuff on the list, leaving me to make dinner with the strangest assortment of ingredients. I will go to my grave thinking he does this as some sort of despicable creative exercise to challenge me.)

Challenge: You may not be aware of this, but “Bob the Builder” underpants don’t get dirty. I tried to pry them off him last night when he put them on again after his bath but no matter what I said about hygiene, underwear use and the time limits and relationships of same, he looked me dead in the eye like I didn’t understand a thing about the world and said “But they are Bob the Builder underpants”. I left them. Erin’s coming home today. She can try to get them off him.

Reward: One tiny boy swimming around in one huge claw foot tub.


(That’s the Dale of Norway baby sweater from this book. Design “Voss” two sleeves and 1/3 of the body done.)

Challenge: Explaining to Hank that I don’t buy McDonalds, having him barely accept that without a meltdown and realizing that my life was not going to be worth 10 cents for the next twenty minutes as I heard him say “Ok, no McDonalds…Burger King!”

Hank asked me to give him a ball of yarn. “Home-made” yarn. I asked him what he would do with it and he said that he just likes yarn. (My heart skipped a beat.) I told him that I would give him a nice little ball of yarn when he knit. That’s when he said it, the words I’ve been waiting for. The words that will slide him into my world and make him mine forever. The words that mean that wrapping him in woolies for the last five years have meant something more than a parade of good accessories… he said

“So teach me.”


I used good real wool and warm wooden needles that my friend Denny made. (I think you should have the good stuff from the beginning.)


Note the concentration.


First solo stitch!


The reward. One wee ball of handspun.

What is the old Jesuit maxim?

“Give me a boy for six years, and he is mine for life.”