It’s high noon. The sun is shining through the windows, the tumbleweeds are floating through the hallway (they really are. I haven’t vacuumed in ages. I know, I know). I’m at one end, Miss DP is at the other, trigger fingers at the ready. Eyes, narrowed to slits, staring each other down. This hallway ain’t big enough for the two of us, little lady.
You NEED to get dressed. Your cat dress is in the wash. Your Elsa costume is freaking brown with dirt dude. Pick something else…..!!
And I’m waiting. Waiting for the trigger to fire from the mouth of a 4.5 year old…..
BUT I can’t! My castle is broken. The witches have taken it over. And Betsy doesn’t like shoes.
Well… Wait. What? Did I just blank out for a microsecond and miss something? Did someone smuggle LSD in my coffee? Or did I just watch an episode of ‘In the Night Garden’ and not realise? No. It’s just 4 year old logic. Legit.
When Miss DP was little, a gorgeous wise parent who had been down the path before me had tried to prepare me for what lie ahead. You think this is tough? Wait until you get to the fucking fours. The wha? Yes, the fucking fours (or FF’s if we’re talking among less potty mouth inclined friends). It’s a real thing. And like a magical spell being broken, BAM! Hello four, hello fucking insane behaviour. I love my lass with all my heart, but four? Four can kiss my ass. Like a switch was flicked overnight, suddenly we’re all about pushing boundaries, stubbornness beyond control, ‘tude MY GOD the attitude, sometimes I feel like I’m talking to a 14 year old trapped in a little person’s body. The girl knows how to guilt trip already!! Nobody here loves me. Oh far out.
It drives me insane. The battles over what to wear are currently the bane of my existence. Miss DP has a sudden refusal to wear any shorts or pants. All the stunning pairs of Rock Your Baby skinny jeans I bought? All for naught. She will only wear dresses or skirts, but even that has a caveat. The skirts must be able twirl like a ballerina. Fuck me. And the second something doesn’t work out for her? Cue intense sookiness. Whinging, whining behaviour. Akin to water torture.
So, what are the signs of the Fucking Fours (FF’s)? Worried you might not be able to pick it? Well look no further. Your diagnosis is here. Some of the main symptoms include:
- Arms folded across the chest. Often. If not folded across the chest, then firmly planted on the hips. Stamping feet regularly accompanying such arm gestures.
- Lots of ‘hrmphs’ and ‘ugggggghs’ muttered. Just a preview into the teenage years I hear.
- Exasperated tones ‘alriiiiiight. Keep your hair on’ (yes we hear this regularly).
- One minute manically happy, the next sobbing on the floor. Because. Four.
- Expertly manages to bamboozle your requests with random sentences about something completely irrelevant to what you’re discussing.
- Sudden onset of ‘convenient deafness’. When asking your four year old to do something, they cannot hear you. Even when standing in front of them and yelling. But if you offer food, then their heads pop up like a meerkat. Hearing suddently intact once again. And so the cycle continues.
- Can repeat your instructions back to you perfectly. And then goes ahead and does the opposite anyway.
The onset is sudden and acute. Literally an overnight transformation at times. Can last up to 12 months or more. And if you’ve got an over-achiever on your hands, it may even start as early as 3.5 years. Prognosis is good…. Until you hit seven. Seven I hear is a crazy stage too. Hold me. Parents may need medicating. With all forms of gooey treats and alcohol.
But you know some of the biggest hallmark features of four? The sudden jump in understanding and wonder about the world around them. The complete and utter excitement at life. The tight, tight hugs of a little one that understands love and loves you to the moon and back to the earth (as we hear daily). The sense of humour and cute giggles at ridiculous jokes. The care and compassion for others (when they’re not snatching and screaming). Santa is a big deal. And the innocence and pure joy about everything is infectious. Shit doesn’t seem so bad anymore when you hear a random story about how yellow can’t be the favourite colour anymore because yellow is broken and the Gruffalos have spoken and so a new colour must be chosen (those damn Gruffalos have a lot to answer for).
So I’ve learned there’s no point in duelling with the fucking fours. Because it makes no sense and my bullets will just ricochet and smack me in the face. So I’ve just gotta roll with it, stay calm and try and focus on the awesome parts of four. And drink all the wine. All of it.
Have you encountered the fucking fours? Or did you have one of those perfect kids that never went through any stages? In that case I want to shake your hand and slap you at the same time. Any other insane parts of childhood and beyond to prepare for?
And if you’re kid free, know of any adults that may not have progressed past the fucking fours? I have come across a few in my time. Yikes.