What makes four so tough, I think, is that they’re really like little teenagers. Some parts of their development haven’t caught up with others. Their little minds seem to go non-stop and they spit out questions with alarming speed. They have overwhelming feelings and opinions that they can’t always articulate. And they’re increasingly conscious of the big, unfair, sometimes scary world they live in.
At four-and-a-half, Bianca is acutely aware of HER own needs, wants, and feelings, but she hasn’t yet learned to appreciate the feelings of others. It’s exhausting—some days, it seems like all we do is discipline, guide, redirect, comfort, reason, explain, answer, and repeat. Over and over again.
On the upside, four-year-olds can be insanely endearing. B makes tents for her sister. She treats the cats like her babies. She can help make dinner and clear her plate from the table afterward. She’s 100 % responsible for dressing herself and she usually does an amazing, if colorful, job. (I’ve been told she’s a “fashion icon.” She doesn’t get it from me!) Her understanding of the physical world is impressive, but still naïve enough to be adorable. Case in point: the other day she said, “Mom, please unbutton my dress. But don’t unbutton my belly button.”
So we’re halfway through the fearsome fours. I’ve heard five is better—is that when empathy arrives? Anyone have tips for dealing with this super-adorable, super-trying age?
Mia: our four-year-old in training.