I had been having some behavioural problems with my 4year old daughter, most notably during an audiology appointment when she refused to co-operate and shouted at the poor audiologist that she smelt of socks and poo.
Since then, my naughty daughter celebrated her 5th birthday. She decided quite matter of factly that she was a big girl now and that meant she would be good.
The first test of this came when she had a check up at the dentist. Before she was 5, she flatly refused to open her mouth for the dentist and no amount of cajoling or the promise of reward stickers could make her change her mind. Five year old Addy sat nicely on the dentist's chair and opened wide when instructed.
Next was the opticians. Previously, this had gone well up until the point that eye drops needed to be administered to dilate the pupils. Three attempts on three different occasions all ended in the same screaming and refusal to co-operate. We were referred to the hospital to have the procedure as they would be better equipped to deal with the situation. I waited several weeks for an appointment before coming to the conclusion that we must have been lost somewhere in the system. I went back to the optician and persuaded them to have another go. I don't think the staff there really believed me that my daughter had turned over a new leaf and was no longer the child that would cause an unmanageable commotion. However, they were having a quiet afternoon and gave us the benefit of the doubt. My daughter flinched when the eyedrops were applied to her big blue eyes but was otherwise unfazed and behaved beautifully.
She also drew a little picture for the optician of herself choosing her glasses which said in her emergent handwriting 'I am sorry'.
Finally, the audiologist. It was with some trepidation that I entered the room. Would she kick off again? Would her venomous outburst be even more insulting than the poo and socks insult? It was actually my little boy who was a bit of a pain. He was in a chatty mood and could not keep quiet for the all important hearing test. My only option was to take him out and leave my little girl to the mercy of the audiologist (or possibly the other way round). My daughter informed me that it was fine, she didn't need me and I left. I sat outside in the corridor (trying not to be upset by being told I wasn't needed!) listening intently for the sound of abusive outbursts. Nothing. The door opened and the smiling faces of the audiologist and my daughter greeted me. Unbelievable.
I am not quite sure why turning 5 years old precipitated such a change in my daughter but I am grateful for it. I no longer feel a sense of dread when we have to do something outside her comfort zone. Don't get me wrong, she can still be naughty - sometimes very naughty - but the naughtiness never lasts long and she is usually repentant. In her very grown up way she will ask Can we just forget about that? Gladly!
Incidentally, her teeth are perfect, her hearing is perfect. She does need glasses to correct her vision. She looks very cute in them.