Imperfect Single Parent | The Thirty Things Guaranteed to Cause a Five-Year-Old Melt-Down
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The Thirty Things Guaranteed to Cause a Five-Year-Old Melt-Down

I spotted and re-read The Thirty-Nine Things Guaranteed to Cause a Four-Year-Old Meltdown a few days ago (and by the way, it’s sad how often I do this. Mostly to think “Hey, I was funny!” and occasionally to think, “Ouch. How did I miss the five typos?!” The life of a tortured writer…). Re-reading it made me think about how things have changed now that R is five-going-on-six.

But actually, it partly made me think that things don’t change all that much at all. The triggers have changed, but the meltdowns are still there. Less often (partly because he goes to bed earlier now) and less long-lasting, but just as heartfelt. Because it’s terribly, terribly hard sometimes being a small boy.

So here’s an updated list – the thirty things guaranteed to cause a five-year-old melt-down. Either it’s a shorter list because he’s getting older or I’ve started to zone out when some of them happen.

Any counter-comments from other parents much welcome. Or, you know, if you have boyfriends, girlfriends, friends, etc. who are just as bad, by all means post away.

  1. He accidentally turned off his kindle.
  2. His kindle ran out before his audiobook finished.
  3. He tried to charge his kindle but the charger wouldn’t go in the kindle because it was actually the charger for Mummy’s Macbook and now it’s jammed into the squidgy casing of the kindle.
  4. He put the wrong number on a page in his non-fiction book about traffic lights
  5. He tore out the wrong-numbered page from the non-fiction book about traffic lights he’s writing and then realised he’d written on the other side of the page
  6. He tore out all the pages of his non-fiction book-in-progress about traffic lights and put them in the bin and now he wants them back in his notebook
  7. I came upstairs when he shouted not to in a muffled voice that I couldn’t hear properly.
  8. When I came upstairs I saw him in the middle of getting himself ready for bed all by himself as a surprise and I ruined it.
  9. I wasn’t that impressed with his surprise given it actually meant he had his bottom out and was lying on his bed reading a book about aliens because he’d forgotten what surprise he was doing and started reading
  10. There was no more nutella.*
  11. I had the last of the last nutella, which means it’s my fault that there isn’t any more and I should have known it was gone and got some more from the shop.
  12. It was time to stop playing with the lego.
  13. When tidying away the lego, I told him off for not in fact putting away the lego but driving all the cars up the bookshelf.
  14. He broke one of his cars trying to drive it up the bookshelf.
  15. He didn’t actually choose to play over reading a story at bedtime, he changed his mind and now he wants a book.
  16. I won’t let him read a book when I KNEW he really wanted to read a book and SHOULDN’T have let him play instead and now I’ve made him really upset.
  17. It’s five thirty in the morning and I won’t come downstairs and play lego.
  18. His seatbelt won’t go in.
  19. He told me his seatbelt wouldn’t go in and I asked him to stop fiddling with the string he’d tied to the headrest whilst trying to do the seatbelt, because it might help.
  20. He’s now got the string he tied to the headrest tangled in the seatbelt because I distracted him.
  21. He didn’t want that shape of pasta.
  22. I put the lego piece in the wrong place.
  23. He wasn’t taking the M & Ms, he was counting them and now I ruined it.
  24. He can’t go to bed because he’s still really hungry.
  25. He didn’t want a banana, he wanted something else so he’s still really hungry.
  26. I overtook the Alfa Romeo while he was trying to draw its logo.
  27. The Alfa Romeo logo is too small to see properly and he’s ended up doing a scribble on his page of car logos.
  28. He dropped his biscuit.
  29. He didn’t want another biscuit, he wanted that biscuit.
  30. It’s still bedtime.



* So this one didn’t change.

** I hope the picture is appreciated. My laptop is FULL of these because he opens up photo booth every time I leave it unattended.

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