Monday, April 28, 2014


Ryan turned five in January. I haven't written about that important event yet so I'm dedicating this week to it.

This year, he gets it. I told him that when his birthday comes, he will be five years old and on his next birthday, he will be six, and so on, and he understood that. It's part of his identity now - when he introduces himself, he will go, "Hello, my name is Ryan and I'm five years old."

He likes to ask random people how old they are too. It's as if he discovered that everyone has something in common - an age - and so there is something that people can talk about. He has no qualms asking strangers - old ladies and young babies are equal targets. He will even follow up by comparing ages. For example, if you tell him your child is two years old, he will tell you, "Oh, my meimei is only one year old." He's quite a good conversationalist, this one.

So he's five. Let me say that again - my little love is FIVE. He's been five for three months now, and I still have to process it everytime I hear it out loud. 

Five. Still baby enough to let me kiss him in public yet mature in so many ways. Baby enough to want to fall asleep in my arms yet big brother enough to comfort his baby sister when she was pining for me (when I was in Bali). Baby enough to refuse to go to school some days, yet old enough to go for drop-off playdates.

At five, Ryan is hard at work figuring out the world. He constantly asks, where did this come from? where did you get this? where do you and daddy go when I'm in school? His question over the weekend was, "What's the difference between Andy and Sid?" Daddy was stumped for a moment until he realised that Ryan was talking about the characters in Toy Story. Ryan told him the answer too.

The other night, he was asking his father for some iPad time and his father said no. He kept on asking and asking, with a little whine in his voice. I let him go on until I had enough. In an attempt to break it up, I said, "What's going on, Ryan?" He explained very logically, "I asked Daddy for the iPad and he said no. So I keep trying." Well, with an answer like that, we couldn't shut him down, could we?

A mummy of one of his classmates likes to tell me the story of the first time she met Ryan. It was on the first day of K1 and she was trying to get her daughter settled into the new class by engaging her in a pretend tea party. Ryan joined them and after some tinkling of tea cups and some pretend eating of pretend biscuits, she said, ok give me a kiss, it's time for me to go. Of course she was talking to her daughter but Ryan stepped right up and kissed her without hesitation. It made such an impression on her - such an openhearted, trusting little soul.

Today, while Ryan and I were having tea, there was a man with a tattoo of a red chilli behind his ear sitting at the next table. I asked Ryan, intending to make a joke out of it, "Why does he have a picture of a red chilli behind his ear?" My wise son shrugged and told me simply without judgment, "Because he wants to be beautiful." He reminds me everyday that it is possible to think the best of others, that there is beauty and goodness everywhere.

So, yes, five. I don't know if he'll remember what it was to be five. But I'll always remember, and if he doesn't remember, I'll tell him how five was like - it was perfect.



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