I have mentioned in past columns that I have just loved every age of my child so far. And I have. I’ve just loved certain ages more than others.
Four is an interesting and the most challenging age so far. I’m so sorry to break that to you readers who have children younger than that. Yes, terrible twos have nothing on fours.
Mind you, four is not all about unpredictable tantruming like the terrible twos. I found two not really that terrible actually. Yes, she would throw a fit when she was tired or hungry. But that was pretty easily preventable.
At three she was much more communicative and verbal and mini arguments might ensue when she was tired or hungry or not getting her way.
Four, however, is a totally different ball game. At four she has started counting down the months to her birthday and when someone asks her how old she is, the monkey proudly declares that she is four-and-a-half, not just four.
Some days I think she’s four going on 14.
The better half and I are amazed and astounded some days by how her brilliant little mind is working. The monkey is a completely absorbent sponge. To reference what I said earlier about the age of four being difficult, this is the part that can be difficult.
The better half and I like to employ the use of spell-talk when we are talking about something we don't want our cute little sponge to absorb. You know, when you want to say something, but you spell it, like "Well, why don't we think about going to S-E-E a M-O-V-I-E?" Or "Do you think we should G-E-T that B-A-R-B-I-E S-E-T with the H-O-R-S-E for C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S?"
We don't do it all the time, but we work mostly opposite schedules so often dinner time is the only time we can talk about these things.
My parents did it all the time until I learned how to spell. In fact I remember them quite clearly doing this and it would drive me nuts. However, I did learn to spell much faster that way.
And thus is the monkey. She can make out, among other things, movie, show, birthday, Christmas and present by hearing us spell the words.
The sponge in her also picks up other things she hears when we have no idea she's listening.
She has recently come up with a number of ideas to "increase traffic." I wonder who I was talking to and hatching out that with when she overheard it. I most likely thought she was playing with her dolls and not paying attention. For all the times I might have accused her of not listening to me, I know she does.
Four can also be difficult because absolutely everything has to be negotiated with her. How many bites of dinner does she need to finish before she can get down, or does her whole room need to be clean or just the floor, or what can she get if she does this or that?
If she's having an "I'm tired and not getting what I want" type of meltdown, there's more negotiating: "If you calm down, we can do this"; "OK, well, maybe we can do that at this time instead or perhaps this will work for you." Negotiating is a regular part of my day.
If any government agency is looking for a person qualified in negotiating in stressful situations or with potentially hostile suspects — terrorists even — or if you are a large institution with unionized employees, I can get the job done for you.
I have a four-year-old.
Kyla Henderson is a local freelance journalist, business owner and mommy. Her column runs every week in the Community News.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 18, 2012