All about Pea
Posted on October 12th, 2011
On a more positive note…
This kid of mine is four (and a third), which I find absolutely, positively crazy. I’ve been parenting this long, and I still don’t have it down! (You experienced parents may laugh at my naïveté now.)
She still likes dinosaurs and volcanoes, but she also likes princesses, extant animals (particularly birds), plants, and — gasp — jewelry and makeup. She flirts shamelessly with men. I am relieved that at school she plays with the boys and with the girls, because frankly, boys are easier to get along with (there is always some girl drama going on in her class). Also, she is more into pretending to be an animal or a superhero than she is playing house — so more power to her.
She’s gotten articulate. Socially appropriate in a lot of situations (she handles compliments from strangers better than I do), at least for a four-year-old. She lies occasionally (badly, but will ‘fess up almost immediately). She has been in a very demanding phase, but we have been cracking down on rudeness and it’s helping a lot. We tried ignoring her when she made demands vs. asking, but…that doesn’t work. Forcing her to ask nicely does work, and it’s gotten much better. Now our response to most demands? “That’s nice.” It usually prompts the polite request.
It is a constant tension between underestimating her and overestimating her. I’m guessing that’s probably going to continue until I’m, well, dead.
She has no interest in reading yet, although she will look at her books and will make up stories to go along with the pictures. Part of me wants to push her harder (the whole world will open up!) but I’m holding off. I like that she’s making up her own stories.
So we read to her, she recognizes her letters and some words, and we talk about rhyming and sounds (like if I say, “What does ‘s’ sound like?” she will answer, “Sssssss” and she can generally think of some things that start with that sound). I figure (hope) it’ll click sometime soon.
She is very interested in rules and turns, like the rules of the road and the rules governing taking turns on the elevator or at the store. This does not necessarily mean she won’t try to take my turn when we’re playing a matching game.
I have to say that I like the kids shows she watches (mostly from the PBS Kids website, but even the most insipid, like Diego) because she’s always learning something from them and surprising me with it.
The biggest difficulty we have with her is wanting things. New toys, plush animals, and so on. If she gets something new, she wants something else. Given that we try not to buy a lot of stuff, it’s disheartening. Telling her “birthday and Christmas” hasn’t been helpful, so I started a wishlist for her. Saturday, after a major tantrum (M took video; it was that epic) when we didn’t buy her a stuffed turkey (!) at the fish hatchery store a scant hour after getting a small orca at the Bonneville Dam gift shop, I sat down with a legal pad and had her list everything she wanted (including a plush yak — where does this come from?). The list is on the refrigerator, and every time she thinks of something, I write it down.* It has made a huge difference in only three days.
(I did buy her a pot of Gerber daisies the other day on a whim, but she did just get a vaccine, so I figured it was OK. Also, I love Gerber daisies and now she knows what Gerber daisies are and told people in the grocery store line. Win/win/win?)
The weakest link in our parenting is our exhaustion at the end of the day; it is really hard to be consistent when we are that tired and have been sick. I’ve made a larger effort to be consistent during the days (enforcing manners, etc.), making sure her blood sugar is level, that sort of thing. She’s eating a LOT right now (much more than I do).
Supper is still not much fun, but she will occasionally try new things. Occasionally. She eats fruit eagerly but veggies, not so much. She shocked the heck out of me the other day by asking about fiber, and we played a game about what foods have fiber and what foods don’t. (I think she was crushed to discover Kraft Mac was almost entirely fiber-free.)
The rules we enforce the most are:
- Asking nicely.
- Saying please and thank you and you’re welcome.
- Saying thank you when complimented.
- Answering questions when asked.
- Sitting at the table when we are eating, even if she is refusing to eat.
- Asking to be excused from the table.
- Not writing on Mama’s journals/notepads.
- Taking dishes to the counter.
- Putting dirty clothes in the dirty clothes bin.
- Putting art supplies away when done.
- Putting toys and books away before new toys/books may be used.
- Showering herself (with help with the shampoo and drying off).
She’s 3’7 and 45 pounds — essentially 91st percentile for weight and 93rd for height. (This, my little <3% baby!) She wears a 5/6 in US sizes, 110/120 in Hanna Andersson, a size 12 shoe, and my hats are only a bit too big for her.
It goes fast.
*This is an idea kind of cribbed from the Willpower book I read. I figured that if I gave her a kind of closure for these “wants,” even if it was just putting it on a list, it might help her resolve the desire to have these things.