I have been a mother now for six years and four months and I am now a mom of a six year old and a four year old. In that time I have learnt many, many hard lessons. One of those lessons is to pick your battles and to just give in sometimes. We are at the stage of ‘whatever you want sweetheart’, because really … anything but a fight with the four year old.
This approach of appearing to give in and back down drives my husband, an authoritarian, absolutely insane, It also physically hurts the control freak in me.
So Why Do It?
Quite simply, it is the last weapon I have left in my fight to retain some semblance of sanity, and I make no excuses for that. In fact, I’m waiting for my medal!
This is especially true on days like today, when my four year old decides she wants to challenge me, all day! She has clearly decided this from the moment she opens her eyes in the morning and this will continue until the moment they close tonight.
After years of fighting my eldest over seasonally appropriate clothing, as well as many other sensory issues she has, I am now landed with this child: the four-year old! Just to be clear she is the last four year-old of my womb because I am NOT doing all this again! I repeat … I Am Not!
Thing were going so well a few years ago compared to the daily fights with my eldest … and then she turned three. You can read about my My Surprise Threenager if you think you can handle it, or you can just carry on reading here.
What’s the problem?
This morning the four year old went to school wearing one of those homemade tassel skirts. This particular one is missing half the tassels. And why am I so bothered, she’s only four years old, so what? Because she wore it on her head like a headband, that’s why!! I kid you not! She then insisted on walking her big sister to her class first even though her big sister cried the whole way because she didn’t want her embarrassing little four year old sister to come with her – I really can’t blame her. It was embarrassing! Or it would have been a year ago … before I gave up the fight.
You see, I would rather deal with my eldest being upset over her little sister embarrassing her, than deal with my youngest’s epic tantrum and defiant cuteness! If you think I’m kidding read this one: Heartbreak and Mom Guilt
When we got to my eldest’s classroom and the teacher saw this whole scene she just smiled and raised her eyebrows at me in question and I just explained that I had given up, that I now realise that I wasted all those years of fighting and heartbreak on my eldest, when in actual fact I should have just let it go and saved my fight for the youngest! She completely empathised and we swapped stories of the tough time living with four-year olds!
Just in case you think I am exaggerating, or weak or however else you may be judging me, here are a few more of her ‘finer’ qualities of late, this is what I have to deal with all day, every day, every day with a fournado:
- She has begun talking with the strongest Afrikaans accent I have ever heard, and she doesn’t even speak Afrikaans. Her dad is the only one who can speak it in our family and even though we live deep in the Free State, they go to an English school and we only speak English at home so where she get’s this accent from I have no idea. She now insists on putting a rolling rrrr in every single word! How does the phrase “what do you want?” become one word with multiple double rolling rrs in it? How? This really pains the English lover in me. I’m not exaggerating, it physically hurts me! I don’t think I would mind so much if we were completely immersed in the Afrikaner world and culture, but we aren’t – I just don’t get it. HOW?
- This child would rather spend five minutes sneakily hiding her sweet wrapper between the sofa cushions than walking 10 steps to the dustbin to throw it away. WHY?
- She will wait for her sister to get dressed first and then go and choose the exact same outfit to put on, knowing her sister will cry and have a melt-down and go and change because she doesn’t want to ‘look the same’, whilst she then smuggly takes her sister’s favourite spot on the sofa and will even go as far as to change the channel her sister was watching, all done with a ruthless calculated cunning that any mob boss would be proud of! It all results in another epic melt-down from my eldest that I also have to repair.
- She will wait for her sister to get in the bath, knowing her sister doesn’t want to share the bath with her, and then strip and get in just to irritate her, and this causes my emotionally fragile eldest to have another epic melt-down, barely wash herself and just about slip and crack her head on her haste to get out the water lest her sister’s germs infect her – or whatever.
- When I let them choose two sweets from the sweetie jar, she will expertly (well, as expertly as a four-year old can) pocket one and then go back in for the allowed two sweets, completely under the impression that I have no idea what she has done!
- She will not have a biscuit until I have made my coffee so that she can dunk them in my coffee. Every. Day.
- And last but not least, I am thick. As in I have very little intellect, especially when compared with her, who knows everything and even if she realises she is wrong, she will never back down! Never!
So here we are, the day of the end of year school concert. This will be my six year old’s last pre-school concert so I am already a little emotional. It will also be my four year old’s first pre-school concert so I am a little apprehensive as to what this might bring for us. Whatever happens, I think it’s best I have a nerve settling glass of wine before we leave.
Wish me luck. I’m packing the tissues. And a whisky filled hip flask.
If you have a fournager, share this with other moms of four year olds so we can create a supportive community where we can repeat the mantra to each other over wine: “nothing lasts forever, you’ll be okay”.