It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Four-year-olds

…are Rule People. I know I’ve talked about that before. And because they are Rule People, they very readily become that second-worst bane of my existence, Tattlers. (The first? Whiners. Hate whining. Hate it, hate it, hate it.)

And when tattling is combined with whining — “Maaaaaaaryyyyy, she won’t shaaay-yerrrrr” — my left eye starts twitching as I contemplate running away to Tahiti. Again.

All of which could make one think that I don’t like four-year-olds. Not true!

Four-year-olds, along with being Rule People, are very often Organizers. Emily has always been an organizer, and Emily is now four.

She is not much of a tattler, either, in part because I squelch it pretty effectively, but mostly because she just dons her big-sister-organizer hat, and sorts them right out herself.

“Tyler, you know you have to share the toys. You can have it for two more minutes, and then it will be my turn, okay?”

It usually works. And when it doesn’t, she approaches me for assistence, radiating competence and the attitude that we’re both in this together. She’s not tattling, she is information-sharing. Really information-sharing.

“Mary, Tyler is not sharing, again. (Here she rolls her eyes and heaves a “can’t-they-be-exasperating?” sigh.) I gave him two minutes, but he’s decided to keep it still. Would you tell him he needs to give it to me, please?”

And during those times when Mary has decided it’s time for a tea-break on the couch and “no I won’t help you with that, I’m having my tea now”, Emily steps into the breach.

She organizes circle times. They sing “Old MacDonald” — because, with Noah in this house NO circle time is complete without four or seven verses of Old MacDonald, and Emily knows this and indulges him. They sing “The Wheels on the Bus” — Tyler’s favourite. They sing “The More We Get Together” — Nissa’s choice.

She organizes games. “We’ll do Ring Around a Rosey. You hold Nissa’s hand, Tyler. Nissa, you have to let him hold your hand. We’re going to play Ring Around a Rosey. GOOD girl!”

If you just want to drown in cute, it’s four toddlers playing Ring Around a Rosey, completely unfettered by adult intervention. My tea-breaks last a lot longer when Emily is in charge, because it’s just so damned adorable. Lordy.

Lots of little girls take on the role of mini-mum. At my place, Emily is a mini-Mary.

Only she’s way cuter. 🙂

January 27, 2010 Posted by | Developmental stuff, Emily, individuality, the cuteness!, whining | , , , | 6 Comments

It’s my Christmas miracle

Nissa, as I’ve said before, is a busy baby.

And four-year-olds (as I know I have mentioned previously but can’t find the posts, dammit) have a fondness for the Rules which can make them a tad officious. Little police-men and tattlers of the daycare. Nigel, who is with us today, is very definitely four. He’s always been a bit anal, with a strong tendency to get anxious when things aren’t done PRECISELY as they have Always! Been! Done!!! Put anxiety-boy plonk in the middle of the RulesRUs stage, and you have a recipe for a day filled with tattling, power struggles, recrimination, finger-pointing, shouting, stomping..

I brace myself. Practice my deep breathing. Dust off my practiced anti-tattling sentences. (“Is anyone bleeding? Is it dangerous? No? Then you don’t need to tell me.”)

However…

“No, Nissa, you can’t do that. Let’s colour.”
“That is too small to put in your mouth. You can have this crayon instead.”
“Nissa, I don’t think you’re allowed to stand on the couch.”
“Hey, Nissa. I can put your bib on for you.”
“If you spit out that playdough, I will make you a snake.”

Once in a while, you get that perfect, near-miraculous combination of the Rule-bound 4-year-old who can express the rules with sensitivity and respect (!!!) and a 19-month-old who has stars in her eyes and will do ANYTHING that Big Boy says.

And then, my friends? THEN you have achieved Nirvana. If only for the moment.

December 7, 2009 Posted by | manners, Nigel, Nissa, socializing | , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Scapegoat, er, doll

dolly“Okay, sweetie. You can get up now.”

At four, Emily does not need a nap every day, but she’s not quite ready to give them up entirely. Our system, then, is a required 20 minutes of lying quietly. And I do mean quiet: no tossing and turning and kicking and singing and whispering and playing with her fingers. Twenty minutes of stillness.

Twenty minutes of utter boredom, too, poor kid, but without the stillness, a child can easily keep themselves awake for 20 minutes, even if genuinely tired.

However, today’s quite obviously an awake day.

“You’ve been nice and quiet, but today you don’t need a nap.”

“No, I couldn’t sleep. Lucy was just being so noisy.”

Lucy? Noisy? Now, call me crazy, but Emily had been lying on the other end of the very couch where I’d just been reading for 20 minutes. Reading and blissing out on the silence. Either she’s been sleeping or I’ve been hallucinating silence. Or something.

“Who’s Lucy?”

“My doll.”

Doll? I don’t recall any dolls.

“Where is she?”

“At my house. But she’s so noisy, I can’t sleep.”

“You can hear her all the way from here?”

“Yes, and at night she’s so noisy she wakes me up, and I have to go sleep in mummy and daddy’s bed for a while to until she behaves herself again.”

“Goodness.”

“Yes, she’s a bad doll, but I love her anyway.”

Well, of course. Bad Lucy gets Emily out of naps and into mummy and daddy’s bed — blamelessly!! What’s not to love?

I love four-year-olds.

Hee.

October 15, 2009 Posted by | Emily, sleep, the cuteness! | , , , , | 2 Comments