Have you guys ever heard of the “Terrible Fours”? Apparently it’s a thing. It’s pretty terrible and it’s actually called the “Ferocious Fours”, according to my research. I did the research to make sure I wasn’t the only parent pulling out my newly highlighted locks, due to my four year old’s behavior. They are also referred to as the “f*****g fours”, but I don’t use that language (out loud). I thought the twos were bad. I really did. But nothing, NOTHING, could have prepared me for the fours. It’s been something else. Bigs’ desire to be independent, his unreasonable demands, his constant questioning of my authority, his flat out yelling “NO!” to everything I request him do, followed by some kind of caveman-esque grunt in anger…yes, it’s been something else. My Smalls is two now, so I can easily compare said phases, and I’m pretty sure the fours are worse. At least I can pick Smalls up and tote him or hold him down. When I pick up Bigs now, to remove him from the situation or to gently force him into timeout, he yells that I’m hurting him (which I’m not), and I get those looks from passerby-ers (if in public…they have a timeout spot everywhere we go, you know), you know the look. The “I’m going to call the authorities” look. No mind that my four year old just had a complete meltdown about me not letting him buy a toy, or eat ice cream, or have screen time after he’s given me a huge attitude or has even dared to swipe at me.
I’m going bald from all the hair I’m pulling out.
I must not be alone. I can’t be. The internet had actual articles on this phase. And everything on the internet is true, right?? RIGHT?
It’s times like these that are very discouraging for me, as a parent. I want to remember (and want my Bigs to remember) the great times, but it feels like the times are filled with bad attitudes and disciplining. I feel like a bad Mom a lot of the time. I know that’s partially par for the course. But I am ready for that to change. His behavior and my reactions to it. Constant works in progress, we are.
Earlier this morning, with the promise of a new day (after a particularly rough-behavior-weekend), I went to work making fun food for my Bigs’ lunchboxes this week. I baked up pizza rolls, mini chocolate chip cookies, and made homemade fruit snacks. I had big plans for a fun lunch for tomorrow. But alas, that Ferocious Four Behavior put the stop sticks down on my plans. As another consequence for that behavior (we also had to leave the mall immediately upon receiving the attitude, etc.) Bigs is not allowed to have a lunch dessert tomorrow. This make him sad. It’s happened before, so apparently it doesn’t make him sad enough to stop the attitude. But whatever. Someday he’ll be five. And this will be better. Right?
So, I packed him a “this will have to do” lunch. An “I still care about you and I’ll show it through your lunch, but you aren’t getting a dessert” lunch.
I packed two pizza rolls (recipe in an upcoming blog post), some seasoned corn and peas, blueberries, plums, and some dried fruit (mandarin oranges and mango).
So here’s to a much better day, filled with good attitudes, fun lunches, and well-earned desserts.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest – Matthew 11:28