Tag Archives: Four year old

Patience. I need patience.

I tell myself everyday, literally every night when I sleep, that I shall be more patient. It does not happen.

My four year old daughter returns from school and throws a tantrum. Everyday. I think it’s a phase and I try and be calm, but  I am not a patient person by nature (when you are a parent, that is one quality you must have. Unfortunately, I lack it). But,  I try. She does not want to eat, does not want this and that, everything is an issue. I know why she is doing this and it’s only normal. Her life has changed after my twins (now a year old) were born. She does not get her mother as much as she used to, even though I spend more time with her than with the babies. Also, she’s tired and hungry by the time she gets home and, being a four year old, can’t deal with it, so she just generally screams and flails her arms and legs about – something, it seems, most four year olds love to do. It’s a preferred way of expressing their will.

I have little time at lunchtime – the babies need to be fed too and they cry if they hear her scream and shout. So here I have a clingy four year old, wrapped snake-like around my legs, wailing, and a set of twins crawling their way to me to seek security. Within minutes of entering the house, after picking her up from the bus stand, I find myself holding three kids, all of whom want the other to leave the mommy. Patience. I tell myself. Patience..

There are, of course, good days too, but, it seems, that right now, those are few and far between. I understand the older one’s clingyness and do feel bad that I don’t handle her better, but I feel tired (and sleep deprived) and the screaming just blows some fuse in my head. She was not like this before and, even now, she treats the babies really well and accepts that I am their mommy too. But when she is tired, which she is when she returns from school, she lets it get the better of her and that just starts this snowball effect – she screams, I lose it, the babies cry, I get angry, she cries more, the babies get even more upset, I try and calm everyone down, then – somehow – we make up, she tells me that I upset her, that makes me feel like a worm, I hug and kiss her, and then we eat lunch! Phew.

I know it will get better and, like I said, it’s not like this all the time. So, I am hoping it will pass. And I am working on my patience levels.

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Mama, what colour is God? Is God a man or a woman?

Tough questions to answer, not because I cannot deal with them or explain but because I thought these would come much later, not when she is four. But it only tells you how conscious kids become these days and how early.

I was bathing my four year old and she said that she wondered what colour God was, just out of the blue. Ouch. I said to myself. I was not in the mood for an explanation at that point, had a lot to do, twins(have eight month old twin girls) needed attention, but I didn’t want to just let it go and ward her questions off, not this one. So, briefly, I told her all the right things, to the best of my ability, about colour of the skin not mattering etc etc, about God not being one and of a single colour.  She nodded then added “but lighter is better, isn’t it?” I squirmed, then said “no”,  and patiently told her some more about what mattered more, about good deeds and good human beings rather than superficial things like skin colour. She didn’t questions any more and I am not sure what she took away from our conversation, which I am going to revisit in a few days when I have a little more time to explain better and after, frankly, I’ve given it a thought myself, about what I am going to say!

I know I must be prepared as a parent to face all sorts of questions, and a lot would depend on what I say, so I must be careful. But what disturbed me was the fact that colour of the skin mattered to her, and she could not have picked this up from the house, since I am very particular about such matters and like to say the right stuff in front of the kids. And it’s not like she’s partial to fairer people either, which is why I was surprised and a little upset. This tells you about the limited control you have over what your kid learns and picks up, sooo many factors influence them, and you have to constantly counter or reinforce these, as may deem necessary. Scary.

Parenting is not easy. I just hope I have the answers as the questions come along..

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My four year old wants a princess birthday. Sigh.

“Mama”, she said in her sweetest voice, “I want a princess birthday”.

My first reaction was to wear my most Et tu, Bruté expression and scream: “nnnooooooooooo not a princess birthday, no no no!!” But motherhood has taught me, or so I like to think, to be patient and not have extreme reactions, even if the situation so demands! So, I took a deep breath, then in as patient a manner as I could, I tried to talk her out of it, to little avail. She was adamant and appeared to have thought it all through. She told me quite plainly that it was her birthday and that she had the right to decide what it would be. Fair, I thought, but did not give my consent. I didn’t want her to know she was winning that argument, I still thought I would give it one last push – try the dirty tricks, you know, incentives et all. It was, however, all in vain. She stood her ground and I caved. So it’s going to be a princess birthday.

Now for the debate.

There are really only two ways of looking at this. One – as a parent you have to, mostly, support your child, or at least give an impression of doing so, so just “go with it”, no matter what your personal views about it are. You might hate the fact that she wants to dress like a princess, have all these pink cut outs all over the place and have a castle cake! But, that is your view and she’s a four year old girl, influenced, unfortunately, by all she sees around her – so lump it mom and give the kid what she wants. She’ll grow out of it anyway in a few years. She’ll be happy that you did this for her. That’s one view.

The other: Nip this in the bud, stop all this pink stuff and start telling her all about mind over matter and all that cerebral stuff. If you give in now, then will you give in to all her demands just so you can be supportive? Tell her nicely; reward her in other ways but this she can’t have. She’ll protest, but eventually she’ll forget about it and be happy with what you do for her. Because, what if this is just the beginning and she does not outgrow all this? What if she actually turns into a princess? Cute now when she’s four, not so cute when she’s fifteen and all she wants to do is dress up. Nip it nip it nip it!

Sigh. I can see both sides, and I did think about it long and hard. But in the end, I decided to let her have it. I did this because I believe that despite her interest in the “princess stuff”, she also likes other kiddy things like playing in the park, doing puzzles, art and craft et all. So, this is a phase and she’ll get over it, if I resist it, she’ll get drawn to it more, so let her get it out of her system – a purge, so to speak. My niece, now eleven, was the same at four. To my sister’s absolute horror she’d dress Barbie dolls all day. Now she’s done a complete 180 degree turn and hates the stuff, in fact she thinks it’s fashionable to hate it, so she does this squirming, puhleez, action when I remind her about her erstwhile obsession. So hopefully, my little one will be the same and then, of course, I’ll balance it by getting her interested in more productive activities; I’ll distract her subtly. Also, a part of me believes that there’s really no harm in dressing dolls, it’s a part of growing up, just like having a play kitchen and cooking imaginary meals, which, by the way, she loves to do too.  In any case I had sort of foreseen this eventuality when she was two and to this end, of creating a balance, had introduced her to Dora – the anti Barbie, someone who wears shorts, puts on sneakers and a backpack and goes exploring. It worked. She had  a Dora birthday last year and adores her – actually thinks that Dora is a real person.

There is, however, one thing that I will not have – a Disney princess birthday! No invitation cards with the four Disney princesses posing together! There are some things where I draw the line – this is one of them!

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