Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Thursday, January 19, 2006 9:24 pm

How the mind of a 4-year-old works

Not well, apparently.

Some insight for new parents and those pondering parenthood: The Terrible Twos often ain’t all that terrible. Two just gets a lot of bad press. Its evil older brother, 4, however, is the real criminal. I mean, you can still put your 2-year-old on a leash and no one will look at you funny. (No, really. No, really. Shut up.) But if you try doing that with your 4-year-old, some busybody is probably going to call Social Services and then your calendar for the next several months is just shot all to hell.

I mention that because, as I recently noted, Hooper’s time as a 4-year-old is rapidly drawing to a close. It has been a, um, an interesting year, a challenging year. I’ve mentioned before that Hooper is not a fan of boundaries or structure.

He can still be incredibly sweet, cute and affectionate, and he still charms total strangers effortlessly (In elevator at motel near Savannah, Ga., to stranger who has just joined us: “Hi, I’m Hooper! What’s your name? What’s in your suitcase? Do you have any cookies in there? Have you ever been in jail? Daddy says if I ever dial 911 again I’m going to jail!* Unless there’s a fire! But if there’s a fire and I dial 911 I don’t go to jail! What’s in your suitcase? Have YOU ever been in jail?” Etc.).

But he also has had a hard time recently complying with requests that do not involve getting food or watching TV … and an even harder time grasping the connection between his failure to comply and the resulting consequences.

Hooper: Daddy! Stop yelling! I don’t like it when you yell at me!

Daddy: Hooper, if you’ll do what I ask you to do, then Daddy won’t have to yell at you.

Hooper: OK.

Daddy: So, what do you need to do to keep Daddy from yelling at you?

Hooper (quite sincerely): I don’t know.

*This was a couple of days after he dialed 911 on our room phone at the hotel at Disney World. Fortunately, because it was an internal phone, the call went to the front desk.

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