Bean is four. Seems like a simple enough statement. But that is really code for, “Bean is four and so he thinks he knows everything, he questions everything I know, and he is fairly certain that the entire world is one giant conspiracy working to keep him in the dark about everything.”
Bean was a super easy baby. He totally rebuked the “terrible two’s” by being relatively easy and logical throughout them. He even glided through three with relatively few hitches. Don’t get me wrong. He has his days, and he has his trigger points. But generally speaking, Bean’s an easy dude to please. He’s logical and if you can explain things to him, then 9 times out of 10, he’ll work with you.
And then he turned four and he now defines “logical” as “only if it makes sense to me and I’m going to need a LOT of proof of anything before it makes sense to me.” So, there’s that.
Which is as fun as a wet cat.
In addition to his newfound belief that the world is conspiring against him and he must, therefore, as 10,000 questions to clarify a simple statement such as, “Put your shoes on, so we can head to the grocery store,” (why are we going to the grocery store? I didn’t think we needed waffles? why should I wear shoes? where are my shoes? what did you do with my shoes? Why are you hiding my shoes from me??? Are you trying to keep me from my food, woman?!?!?! WHY DOES THE WORLD NOT WANT ME TO EAT?!?!?!?!?!) Bean is also taking on some new behaviors that are making it hard to co-exist with him at the moment.
One word: argue.
Argue, argue, argue. And then maybe he’ll argue some more. And then he’ll need to make closing remarks on his argument.
Dude is seriously forgetting that I am the law enforcement, judge, and jury around these parts (excuse me while I polish my gold sheriff’s star…). He has a comment or remark for EV.ER.Y.THING these days. And there is nothing more infuriating to me than a smart mouth. In my classes, I eat smart mouth kids for lunch on the first day of school. And then I spit them out for other students to marvel at and we all then have an understanding that Mrs. Brown doesn’t deal well with smart mouths. Trouble is, that’s how I am handling Bean, too. But Bean is four. And while that doesn’t excuse him, it does require that I keep my head from spinning completely around when he argues or backtalks. So far, I am failing at this miserably.
I think the part that is most infuriating to me about the arguing is that he is only doing it with me. Which means by the time Chris gets home, I’ve heard 5,681 arguments that day and when Chris walks in the door at night, I’m usually at my snapping point. But to Chris, it just appears to be one little remark Bean made and so I am overreacting. What Chris doesn’t understand is that the arguments come ALL DAY LONG. It is beyond frustrating to have you four-year-old argue with you all day, but then it is almost too much to have my husband look at me like I’m the one acting out of line.
Another thing I’m seeing with four that I haven’t seen since he was a wee toddler is the crying. Bean now cries more than I do when I watch “The Notebook.” He cries if the wind blows and he slightly brushes up against something. He cries if he drops his toy and he has to bend down and pick it up. He cries if someone looks at him funny. He cries if Gracie takes his toy. He cries if dinner is late or breakfast is early. He cries if his favorite shirt is in the dirty clothes because he’s already worn it three times this week. Oddly enough, though, when he is in trouble, there are no tears. There are only smirks.
Which brings me to my third annoying habit of four-year-old Bean: the smirk. Bean smirks at me when he is in trouble now. He needs to sit down and talk with his father about how mommy feels about smirking boys. I believe Chris is well aware of my feelings about a smirk. We don’t see them much around our house. But now, Bean is doing them, and I am having to fight every urge to send him to military school for kindergarten. This is the one that kills me: I’ll tell him not to do something, he’ll give me the smirk, and then do it again while saying, “Look, mom… I’m doing it again.”
WHO IS THIS CHILD?!?!?
We very seldom have had to use time out with Bean in the past year. He usually redirects very easily with a simple, “Michael, do you need a time out?” But lately, we are back in time out with Bean a lot. Now, I’m sure it’s really no more than any other kid his age. It is POSSIBLE, I suppose, that I might be exaggerating his behavior. All of this is to say that Bean is definitely going through a phase here, and he is definitely winning this phase. I’m just losing my cool.
The only saving grace is that Bean is as tired of me right now as I am of him, so we seem to have a nice little Mexican standoff going on right now. I don’t see it resolving itself until his fifth birthday. Or until Nana or Grandmomma rescues him. Or me.
Until then, Bean and I will be right here. Sitting in time out.
Please tell me, is this a four thing? Is this because I allowed him to grow up? And, if so, could someone please tell me how to stop the growing up thing right this very minute? I’d like my sweet boy back.