Why you should not fear Five.

I do not wish to terrify my friends who live with children under five, or don't have any kids yet. I certainly don't want them to make life-altering changes due to my outbursts. Do not worry, friends! All is not horror and shrieking when the child becomes five! No, the five-year-old, at least the one at our house, often exhibits many charming and lovable behaviors. I would even say that these behaviors cancel out the awfulness, so even if you're exhausted and enraged, Five can turn it all around, sometimes within minutes. That's why we keep them around.

This is a small sampling of the Charms of Five. I'm sure there are more, but then, we're still three weeks away from official Five-dom:

1. He likes to be a helper. (Uh, usually.) Want someone to set the table? Five will do it! Need your surfaces dusted? Hand your five-year-old a damp cloth and he'll get to work! If you're having dinner and Five announces that he wants another glass of milk, guess who can go get it his own damn self? That would be Five! As long as you don't mind poorly folded napkins, dust streaks on most everything, and the occasional milk puddle, this new Helper is a wonderful person to have in the house. Especially if you're incredibly lazy, as I am.

2. He's a deep thinker. Five will ask many questions about, say, hypnosis (he didn't get it from me! I blame children's programming); when you answer them, he'll ask relevant and probing follow-ups. ("You mean it's like your brain is taken over? Can you make someone do whatever you want them to do?") Suddenly you realize you're having a conversation. With your child! It feels sort of miraculous.

3. He's ridiculously fun. One day your child's humor is relegated to poop jokes and puzzling squeaky noises, and the next he's performing uncanny impersonations of friends and family. He's rolling his eyes at you and uttering bon mots that you can't write down fast enough. And he can perform dance moves that leave you weak with laughter. When you walk to school, you don't just walk, you Leap Over Pools of Lava while Running From Double Agents. This, FYI, is an excellent way to get to school on time.

4. You can share cool things with Five. You can read books you remember loving when you were little; you can watch moviesand shows that don't make you want to retch into your cupped hands. No more television shows whose plots revolve around a loose shoelace or a broken cup. (Goodbye, Miffy, and GOOD RIDDANCE.) You can browse the Internet together for funny images. (If you want to make Five crack up, find pictures of hairless cats. You're welcome.)

5. He goes to SCHOOL. And then you can have some time to yourself, and get some work done, and also remember why Five isn't all bad.