If You Give a Grandmother a Four Year Old
There is a wonderful series of books by Laura Numeroff about various animals that interact with a caretaker (always a child) beginning with one event that snowballs to a series of other situations and eventually leaves a house in disarray and the child exhausted. I have done absolutely no research on this author or the contents of her books, but she must be using the various animals in her books as a metaphor for a toddler. Because if you give a grandmother a four year old, the youngster will wake her up much earlier than expected and ask for a drink. When you get the drink, she will want the TV turned on to her favorite morning show and a pillow to get comfy. While Grandmother is limping to the coffee pot, the four year old girl bellows that her favorite doll needs to watch this show also, but she cannot be found. Looking under the bed, the doll is discovered along with many dust bunnies and some missing parts of several toys. Barely a sip of black gold is taken, when the youngster exclaims that she is very hungry, but is not sure what she wants. When two choices are provided, the little one decides on the more difficult one to prepare and grandmother begins to cook. When all is eaten, and the pile of dishes begins to grow, the little one will ask for you to play "camping." Barely able to stand upright, let alone pack for a camping trip the grandmother gently distracts the little one to a game with less movement. The little one will protest, but will then want music to sing along with. When the music is on, she will remember that her friend is in dancing class and tells you all about it. She will remind you that she wanted to take dancing classes but you chose socceer instead. She decides to draw a picture of herself in a princess dress, but then runs to her plastic tub of outfits to get dressed up. Clanking through the house in plastic pink heels, she asks if she can have a drink and grandmother rushes to meet the demand of the newly ordained princess. Grandmother attempts to get dressed in "real life" clothes, but is interrupted several times with addtional demands from the princess ranging from finding her new scissors to the need for a servant to pour her tea from her playset. Grandmother is barely dressed and has yet to have her second wake-up drink, when the little one requests a snack and an argument ensues regarding healthy versus gooey non-nutritional mid-meals. Remembering grandmother's thirty-three years as an educator, she gives the little one a single choice which is met with sobbing,but grandmother stands firm and hands the snack over to the weeping child. The whimpering is replaced by a new request to go to the park. When this question is answered in the negative, the child asks for another TV show. When this second request is denied, the princess decides to take off her crown, end her reign and get dressed. She asks for your help and you fumble through the drawer for matching pants and tops which all seem to be in the wash at the moment. The grandmother and child are finally dressed and midday is fast approaching. Grandmother is already wary, but soon the little one will want another meal and the day rambles along.....
Whether your energy level is low, medium or high, the little one will most likely not match your speed. Give yourself permission to wear pajamas all day or watch movies in bed. The rest of life can always wait until tomorrow....Do not be concerned about "showing who is boss". It is much more meaningful if you guide the child toward good and lasting choices with the child's and your respect intact....
Garden Ridge, Texas