Four Years In
as of this month, I will be officially parenting a four-year-old. four is no joke. three? three seems fresh. soft. three is still vaguely baby-like, or at the very least, a part of toddler-hood.
four is a whole other ballgame.
when gus got to the “terrible” twos (which weren’t really) people told me, “just wait for THREE!” and when three was, dare I say, fun? they said, “omigosh four. that’s when you must stock up on vodka.”
but four always seemed so far off. even in the last few months when he’s been answering “how old are you?” with “three and three-quarters!” as he hurtled along toward this crazy age.
FOUR. no more baby. no more toddler. a fully-fledged kid. all gangly and silly with a sense of humor that tends heavily toward toots.
we have conversations now. he tells me about things he learned, or drama with the other kids at preschool. we talk about current events sometimes, when they filter in. he asks questions… oh goodness he asks questions. the other day I took him to a baseball game and began his education in america’s pastime. we had such a good time together. I’ve always enjoyed being around him, from day one. but now I can honestly say I enjoy his company. I enjoy the distinctive element he brings to the table. his insights and opinions and ideas. it’s a whole facet of motherhood that is new to me, and one I’ve looked forward to since before I was ever even a mother.
so I want to make one thing clear. he is not difficult. but sometimes, parenting him can be.
I find that I am constantly searching for the best way to approach this stage of his life. I don’t always find the right answers when I need them. I make mistakes. he tests his boundaries. I lose my temper. he exerts his autonomy. I lose my patience. I’ll think I’ve found a good path and the next day I read an article about how that particular approach will scar my children for life. some days I mentally high-five myself because I am so winning the motherhood thing. some days I want to crawl into a hole because I fail. at. everything.
finding the love is effortless. parenting is hard. if there’s anything I’ve learned in the last four years, it’s that.
but another thing I’ve learned, I guess, is that no matter what is happening in the world of motherhood, we are never alone. as much as we may feel that way as we see every one of our contemporaries doing it better, healthier, more consistent, etc. I think we all have the demons, don’t we? the self-doubt and the bad days and the moments when you just don’t know what to do.
so four years. overall, I think it’s going to be a good age, this four. I think five is going to be harder (on both my heart and my patience), and I think kindergarten… well I can’t really think about kindergarten at this point. but four… four is going to be good.