Abby constantly reminds me that she will be 4 on her next birthday. Really?! FOUR?! How is that even possible? Even in the midst of my denial, I have come to the realization that parenting a preschooler is easily the most challenging thing I have ever done. Whoever created the term “terrible two’s” must have passed their child off before they got any older. The two’s were a breeze in comparison to the three’s. It seems that the closer we get to four, the more interesting our household gets.
Don’t get me wrong. I am thankful for each and every day I have with my daughter and wouldn’t trade a minute of it for anything but, holy moly, 7pm around our house in the witching hour.
This sweet face changes.
Abby’s vocabulary is growing at an explosive rate and it is so fun to listen as she describes her day and her budding friendships or even eavesdrop as she plays with her babies and tells them stories. My heart melts when I hear her pray and sing. Unfortunately, there are instances, where her vocabulary isn’t quite up to speed with her increasing autonomy which usually end up in crossed arms and a mix of grunts and “you’re mean.”
Or maybe tears and hiding in the closet.
Oh the drama of being a little girl.
The psychology part of brain reverts back to child development class and Erikson’s life stages and can “appreciate” the growth that can happen during this stage. The other part of my brain wants to lose it and find whatever the quickest route to quiet is. I also recall Bill Cosby and the curse of having a child just like you and wonder if I put my parents through the same drama (of course I did).
Our current response is to reply as calmly as possible, “You are not talking like a big girl right now as big girls use their words. When you can talk to me like a big girl, I will listen and we can talk” and then try to give the negative behavior as little attention as possible. Usually she realizes she’s not getting the attention she wants, gets it together, and tries to verbalize what she is trying to say or what she is feeling. Usually. Last night was not one of those times and my husband and I are struggling to how we can communicate that this behavior is unacceptable while helping her to learn to communicate properly. We need help!
So here is my question – if you have been through this stage – what advice can you offer on tackling this trying but wonderful stage?