Welcome to the fournado
Good news, you’re survived the terrible twos and made it through life with a threenager. Bad news, you’re about to be hit by a fournado…
Hello, I’m Father Hood and you join me live from the frontline of parenting a four-year-old. Yes, that does say four. My son had his fourth birthday last month, and judging by his first few weeks with a new number the next 12 months are going to be a very wild ride. Why? I’ll tell you why. No, really, I will. Here’s five things I’ve already noticed about my fournado.
1. He’s learned to use our words against us
Remember the days when you could get a child to stop doing something by making up a ludicrous reason or “law” safe in the knowledge that it would never come back to bite you in the posterior? Well, they are well and truly over. I say this, because early findings conclude that my fournado’s favourite expression is, “But, you said.”
Or, to put this in a more realistic, discussion with parent-based context: “Wait, you’re putting the TV off, but you said I could watch two episodes…”, “The shower, but you said I could have a bath”, “Daddy, Tesco is open, but you said shops shut when it gets dark”, “Daddy, mummy says I need to wash my hands before eating, but you said she just says that and I don’t really need to bother.” Etc. Etc. Etc.
2. He notices our hypocrisy
My fournado is not old enough to spell or give you an accurate description of the meaning of the word hypocrisy. But he is old enough to argue that he a) shouldn’t have to put a scarf on, because daddy doesn’t wear one, b) should be allowed to eat crisps as a snack, because daddy has crisps as a snack, and c) shouldn’t have to listen to mummy, because daddy doesn’t.
3. He sees what other kids get away with
Are you ready to justify every decision that relates to discipline? You’d better be. Because the fournado is acutely aware that so-and-so’s mummy lets her do this, Jack doesn’t hold his dad’s hand in the nursery car park, Charlotte doesn’t have to eat her peas and Brodie gets to spend two hours a day on his iPad.
4. He knows what he wants
For the most part, being able to decide and orate what you want is a good thing. On the odd occasion, however, my fournado cannot get what he wants because it is ridiculous (“I want banana on my pizza”), dangerous (“I want to play in the snow in my pants”), impossible to achieve (“Daddy let’s build a boat, I want to build a boat”) or not actually what my wife and I think is best for him (“I want to cut all my hair off”). And when I deny these dreams, um, well, how should I put this? Oh, I know. Fasten your seatbelts because the atmosphere is about to get tantrum-y.
5. He’s started dropping the “dy” at the end of “daddy”
Dagger. To. The. Heart. I’ve got to be honest, I was not, and still am not, remotely close to being emotionally prepared for this name update. No, you stop it. You’re crying.
Until next time…