In just three short months I will have two four year olds in my care.
I must be insane.
They call them the “fuck-you fours”.
A parent deep in the throes of the fuck-you fours will look frazzled. They will jump at loud noises.
They may have the smell of either booze or chocolate on their breath, depending on their particular vice. Or they’ll be sprinkled with potato chip crumbs.
The key identifying characteristic of the parent of a four year old is their non-compliance. They will commit one million tiny rebellions each day, just to reassert their independence.
See a tired-looking person sauntering out the in-door, stealing a handful of grapes at the grocery store, or taking 18 items to the 15 items or less line? Never sneaking, always defiant? They probably spend a certain amount of time in the company of a four year old.
Because here’s the thing about four year olds: they LOVE rules. They glory in rules. Rules make them SOHAPPYOMG. Rules bring order to chaos, serenity to the playroom, and punishment to peers who break them.
Need I point out that each individual four year old feels no strong desire to comply with the rules themselves? Because they don’t. Following the rules isn’t the attractive part. The joy all comes from becoming self-appointed enforcers of the rules.
And so, my day is a constant litany from Pixie and Louis – a litany of bossiness, tattling, and policing that makes me want to go to a mattress store and tear off some “do not remove” tags until I feel better.
So far today I’ve heard Pixie and/or Louis harangue either each other or the two year olds about:
- how they are sitting in their chairs
- whether or not kids are allowed to sing the hokey-pokey without a grown-up ‘helping’
- what order we are allowed to sit during storytime
- if ‘skipping’ in the house is the same as ‘running’ in the house
- if we can all pretend different things and the world won’t end
- if you can eat pretzels with your fingers
- whether being taller / older automatically makes you better
- if a girl can be Superman
- whether or not Batman goes surfing
and so on, and so on, use your imagination here, people.
I think the nadir came when Daisy approached Pixie, who was busy baking pretend cupcakes in the play kitchen. Daisy leaned forward and took a large bite of the air near the cupcakes, while making an adorably-exaggerated munching noise. Pixie immediately started shrieking in great indignation: DAISY!!! WE DON’ EAT THE TOYS, EVEN DA PRETEND ONES!!!!!
Next, they’ll be tattling on each other for thought-crime.