so, my 4 year old is such a pain in the you know what. seriously. i mean, not as bad as his three year old self, but way more unpredictable. at three he threw a fit for everything. we knew he’d resist everything from brushing his teeth to getting in the car. big fits followed by tears, and then needs for hugs. but now, now it’s a bit more unsettling. hard to plan extra time for.
it’s not all batshit. four has also brought so much fun. i mean, he’s asking the best questions, and he’s seriously funny. charms all those around him. so how can this smart, entertaining kid turn into such a tyrant in the blink of an eye? it makes no sense. yet here i am, trying to make some sense of it. or at least just complain a little.
and you and i both know why he’s crazy. he’s FOUR. that’s why. we all know our kids are learning to control their emotions. to channel them. to use their words instead of grabbing some legos and chucking them at you. but wow. don’t tell me you don’t look at them like they’ve lost their damn minds when they do that. because you do. you might even raise your voice a little (a whole damn lot). i get it. he literally doesn’t hear me if i speak at a normal volume. doesn’t even slightly hear me. it got to the point that i mentioned to the dr that he might have a hearing issue – but only sometimes. apparently that’s called being a four year old. just wondering if the dr can take him until he’s five then. or some home for four year olds where we can board them for a bit. someone should come up with that.
kidding, of course. because he’s also frigging amazing. when he comes at me with all these song lyrics and dance moves. when he wants to snuggle anywhere and everywhere, quickly followed by some not so gentle wrestling…natch. when he begins every sentence with ‘excuse me mama…’ (i didn’t teach him this, so no credit. at all). i get all soft and there are dreamy rainbows around him.
then i dare to tell him he needs to put his socks and shoes on for school. i’ll help if he needs. nothing. wait, he probably just didn’t hear me. tell him again. he goes about playing with his train set as if it’s a sunday morning. tell him again. he looks at me. completely straight face. nothing. holy mother of mothers, you have got to be a saint to not react to this. or on some really good meds. he then lays down on the floor and says he’s too tired. really? because you haven’t been too tired to play or eat all morning. what has happened to exhaust you to this state you cannot even bring yourself to sit there and put your socks and shoes on? were the 10-12 hours of sleep not quite enough for you? but there i go again, trying to make sense of things. then he storms up to his room (damn, we need to get out the door! wrong way, buddy), and says he doesn’t want to be a part of this family anymore. yep. he’d rather not be part of this family, because of socks and shoes. cool.
i’m not sure i really have any solid advice here, except for patience. i mean, we all know that we have to stick to it, make sure we’re setting a good example and all that. this is just a ‘phase,’ right? we can teach them how to express their opinions in a better way, right? until then:
- tag-team with your spouse, if you’ve got one. when you hit your patience limit, because it will happen, let someone else take over. and then take over for them, because this is not ending in one round.
- make it a point to talk softer. it seriously works for me if i can grab that last shred of patience i was hiding somewhere. once i start, i get this odd sense of control of the situation (which i don’t actually have, obvi). but taking the volume to the opposite place than your gut tells you is actually a great idea. and i think the kid is thrown off a bit too. which is exactly what you want! suckaaa!
- leave the room if you need to. i do this plenty. i just walk away. this distance gives me a moment to take a breath, reevaluate and then go back for more fun.
can’t wait for 5. because clearly all of this will magically end when he’s a year older.