4 year olds test boundaries. It’s like their job or something and they are really freaking good at it. Most of the time they know the rules and what is and is not appropriate behavior but they make a conscious decision to go against what they know and see what happens. The way we react as parents to these tests (horrendously stupid behavior) either makes us feel like champs or assholes, or sometimes a little of both.
A major “test” occurred two days ago. My darling 4 year old looked me square in the eyes and then, while holding my stare, she turned the chocolate milk bottle upside down and poured about 12 oz of milk all over the back seat. I think she was mad at me for drinking some but I had already explained that she didn’t in fact need 16 oz of chocolate milk and we all were sharing. I think she was hungry. I think she was tired of sitting in the truck. I think the iPad has a negative effect on her behavior. I think I’m still trying to come up with a good excuse for this ridiculous behavior. When it happened I saw red and screamed. A few swear words may have slipped out. I’m not proud of that and feel a bit like an asshole but I was reacting to an asshole move on my daughter’s part so I’m counting this all as a wash. I was appalled and shocked and furious. There was milk all over her dolls, her daddy’s backpack, herself and car seat and the other miscellaneous things that were on the floor. The real “test” was actually in regards to my ability to rebound from this and not let it ruin the rest of my day with the kids. After spending 20 minutes in 102 degree weather wiping and soaking up the mess I was less than thrilled and had to take some deep breaths and a Mommy time out before I was able to laugh and play with my girl again.
The second “test” occurred yesterday when we went to get our oil changed. We picked up some lunch on the way and while the Tahoe was being serviced we ate our lunch in the air conditioned waiting room. Lilly ate her food and was eating her Frosty and suddenly it was all over herself and the floor. I blurted out, “Really?! Are you kidding me?!” Definitely an asshole response. It’s not like she did it on purpose like the day before. She was bummed to have dumped her dessert and I didn’t make her feel any better. Luckily her daddy sent the evil queen (me) out to get wet wipes and to cool off while he helped his little princess cheer up and clean up.
Mommy = asshole reaction x 2.
Daddy = champ reaction x 2.
The Evil Queen
(who is working on kinder reactions to these “tests”)