It’s uncanny how quickly behaviors can change in just a few short months in our children. We realize The Terrible Two’s weren’t so bad when the Threenagers emerge. And as we limp through that age we think, “Well, when she’s four things will mellow out.”
As with all parenting challenges, as soon as you figure out one stage, of course things change.
When four came rolling in with a fury, I knew we were doomed yet again with our youngest daughter. A four year old has enormous emotions that change seismically like a tornado. They have one foot firmly planted forward in big kid-land, and the other grasping on to their toddler-hood. It’s an emotional time for both parents and fournados, as both parties try to navigate the choppy waters of not having a baby anymore, and trying desperately not to be one.
Not sure if you have a fournado? Here are eight tell-tale signs!
8 signs you’re living with a fournado
- Miss Independent – Hearing the phrase, “I’m a big girl (boy), I can do it myself” so frequently, a parent of a fournado learns quickly to just let them try it. They want to pour their own smoothie? Grab some paper towels. They want to buckle their own car seat? Leave 10 minutes earlier. Fournados may not do things perfectly, but they’ll die trying.
- Scaredy-cats – What’s with all the fears at four? Suddenly preschool drop off becomes tearful, or they are afraid of the potty. Or my favorite is when she was afraid of the picture of me with her in my belly. “Mommy your belly scares me, you look like a honey badger!!”
- Picky Palettes – One of the most trying times in any parent’s day is mealtimes. But with a fournado, you say a little prayer as you set down the tyrant’s plate. One day mac n’ cheese is a lunchtime favorite, the next day it smells funny and is banished from the home. Fournado’s likes and dislikes seem to change, well, like a tornado.
- Tears to Cheers – Holy feelings Batman! Fournados can go from a roaring beast-like tantrum over which shoes they want to wear, to rolling on the floor laughing at their toots in three seconds flat.
- No Really Means No – Where oh where do fournados learn to be so disobedient? You can have the most awesome child in the world, and at four all bets are off. “Grab your shoes it’s time to go!” is usually met with “NO! I don’t want to”, with the arms crossed and brows furrowed.
- Monkey See Monkey Do – The best (and sometimes the worst) thing about living with a fournado is they love to imitate grown ups. Our little fournado repeats everything I say to her big sister. “Don’t worry about it, you’ll survive!” Or my favorite, “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.” Except fournados always get upset.
- BFF’s Forever– Fournados are super chatty to everyone they meet. The girl at the makeup counter, kids on the playground, and of course has to say hi to every stray cat they see on your vacation in Alaska. My fav is when she walks up to strangers at the nail salon and asks, “Are you a stranger?”
- Little Firecrackers – The best thing about fournados is their humor. They finally understand jokes and try to tell them frequently at dinner. They might not remember the punchline, but they’re so stinking cute we don’t care!
While this stage can be met with a mountain of frustration and some forgettable behaviors, fournados really are one of my favorite creatures. They can dress themselves, wipe their own bums, get in and out of the car on their own, and finally are becoming who they want to be. While I’ll miss never having another baby, I’m still cherishing my little fournado, and all the joy she still brings into my life.
Between the tantrums over braids or headbands of course.