No one warned me that when my eldest turned four that it would appear that he would undergo a personality transplant on a daily basis. Forget the terrible twos. The threenager stage was a dream. Yes. We’re in the f*%&!g fours. And nobody told me about them.
As with every age there is good, there is not so good and then there is downright bad.
Gone are the newborn sleepless nights, replaced with vivid nightmares that require soothing. Gone are the challenges of weaning and the mess, in it’s place a stubborn refusal to eat food that yesterday was deemed a favourite. Gone are the frustrations of trying to communicate with words that aren’t yet formed, enter hurtful words thrown your way when things don’t go to plan.
Yes, the f*%&!g fours have hit us. Hard.
It wasn’t an overnight switch. He didn’t wake up on his birthday and suddenly think right that’s it now I’m four now it’s time to dial up the attitude, the whining and the spoilt brat syndrome. It’s been a gradual change, one so slight you wouldn’t notice it until BAM it hits you in the form of an epic tantrum. Or a constant whine. Or, as I like to call it, a massive case of the I wants.
Here we are, right in the middle of the f*%&!g fours.
Except we aren’t right in the middle, right now five looks a long way ahead and in the meantime I have a f*%&!g four year old with an attitude to rival mine as a teenager. And I’m telling you now my attitude SUCKED as a teenager.
No one believes me when I tell them about my battle with the f*%&!g fours, as my four year old is a dream on playdates or in the company of others. He is polite, well mannered and plays beautifully (most of the time). Then add in the blonde hair and cherub like smile. Well, who’s going to believe that this little angel is a f*%&!g fours nightmare?!
The problem is the f*%&!g fours come out of left field. They happen when it’s just you and them. At home. In public. It doesn’t matter as long as they aren’t around their friends, those f*%&!g fours just come flying towards you.
Every. Single. Time.
You go about your day, everything is perfect. Everything is wonderful. Watching as my four year old discovers the world around him. Seeing the world through his eyes, a place that is magical and full of potential. Fairies in the sky. A million questions to ask. Always learning. The joy in his face when he sees us, the love that is conveyed through every impromptu cuddle, in every whispered I love you, when he takes you by the hand. Then there is the trigger. The one thing that happens where you are left reeling at the reaction it invokes.
Just yesterday, after a lovely trip to the cinema to watch SING (it’s fab, go watch it), we headed for the shop. I was carrying him as he was tired from a long day at school, I mean the kid starts at 7am so it’s tough, he was tired. I carry him, I get a cuddle. Win-win right?
At this point the f*%&!g fours decided now was the time to rear their ugly head.
He kicked his legs. I put him down. He pushed me to get back up. When that didn’t work he lay on the floor. I walked on. He shouted. He cried. I was told that he wanted a new mummy, a fun mummy, he didn’t want me to be his mummy anymore. Words spoken in anger. Words spoken simply because I had told him that we needed to go and buy yogurts from the shop and that the yogurts were in the fridge, NOT, the biscuit aisle.
After the initial outburst, which I surprisingly managed to ignore, he reverted to sullen teenager mode. Dragging his feet behind him and muttering I don’t like you Mummy. Trailing at a snail pace as I pick up said yogurts and take them to the check out. Grumbling behind me at the till as I pay. The sullen sulky part to balance out the tantrum.
The f*%&!g fours.
The journey home. Attempted reasoning. Calm talking from me (surprisingly). Then the rest of the way silence.
Eventually my little boy returns, the loving one. The one that is kind, that is gentle. The one that protects his little brother. The one that is inquisitive and funny. That asks a million questions. That needs to know how the world works. The one that gives out cuddles without being asked. That kisses. That is affectionate and wonderful. My little bright spot.
He is contrite. He apologies. We talk about it.
For now the f*%&!g fours abated.
Until next time.
And there will be a next time, the f*%&!g fours make sure of that.