Saturday, August 08, 2009

The Pain of Four

Normally, I write about the joy and beauty of life with the beasties. I realize that at times it may seem like we live an overly idyllic life. Today, I thought, after an entire day of dealing with Piper,it would be nice to reminisce on the unsavory aspects of raising the beasties. I mean, I call them the beasties for a reason.

Right now we're in the midst of four. Four is the age that I think might be the hardest for me to deal with as a parent. I know it's supposed to be two but I've always found two to be fine. Yes, they're needy but they're babies! They're supposed to be needy. And I can understand how it's tough to be two. You're starting to be independent but you still can't full you express yourself. You want to do big kid things but you're not quite able to yet. It' frustrating.

But four...well four is what makes me feel like having a few stiff drinks to just start the day. Four is the age where you are already a big kid so you can reason, you can do almost everything you imagined, but still you're miserable. I'm not sure why. I've thought a lot about it. Perhaps it's because you are a big kid but you're starting to realize you've still got to go through these big people, aka your parents, to do anything. And really that is part of what the problem is...the misery that is. Whenever people talk about how happy children are, I always snicker. Four is not a happy time. Here's a day in our life with Piper (and the other two were the same way).

Piper gets up late because she refused to go to sleep at a decent time (this involved tons of misery and whining as well..."I cannnn'tttt slllleeeepppp!") She was well-rested. Ten hours of sleep should do a girl fine. But she immediately started whining "I'm huuunnnggggrrrry." I, still patient at this point, say "I don't understand whine. Can you tell me in your big voice?" "I wannnnttt waaafffflees." She whined back. We were out of waffles. This lead to a ten minute breakdown which was only relieved when we offered peanut butter and jelly for breakfast.

She played okay for awhile, and then decided she needed to do her workbook, right now. She didn't care that H and I were both in the middle of preparing food for the other two. No now was the time to do this worksheet. I suggested she start on it herself but that lead to another ten minutes of sobbing. We finished the other kids' breakfast, and I set up her worksheets. She was fine until my mom showed up to get Umberto. This lead to a 15 minute breakdown while she sobbed for Umberto. This was happening when we were trying to get everyone out the door to go help work on the garden.

We finally got Camille and her in the van, headed out, everyone happy. Then Piper realized she had forgotten her stuffed cats (she carries no less than three). She sobbed broken heatedly (interspersed with yelling "GEEETTT MMMYYYY CAAATTTSSS NOOOWWWWW!"). We finally get to the school, where she was overjoyed at seeing the garden, the school. Life was so fresh and interesting now! She forgot about the cats. About five minutes after rediscovering the joy of life, she began to sob some more because it was hot. H took the girls to the coffee shop while I weeded. It was actually a pleasure to weed. At least it was quiet.

I get home. I shower. H and I decide that we would like some alone time. Piper abhors this. She bursts into the bedroom, we beg her to leave, we bribe her to leave. She leaves but sobs about a foot away from our door. And there were a hundred other such incidents throughout the rest of the day.

This is the life of a four year old. All my kids at four have just been miserable little beings. They seem to hate the world. They often look for things to throw a fit about. Nothing is quite good enough for them. They're like those people who realize that 90% of the time life just really sucks, and they're going to drag everyone else down with them. There is very little joy at this time of life. When there is it is a beautiful thing, don't get me wrong. They still maintain that sense of wonder and newness but it definitely comes out less than it did when they were younger.

My mantra is "Five is just around the corner."

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