Four things I never thought I’d be discussing with a four year old.
Things are a bit hectic right now, work as a whole is super busy, partly because I’m coming towards the end of a project, and partly because it’s nearly the Easter holidays, and I really want to spend time with the children without being distracted by editing and a ticking brain (ha ha, it does tick from time to time I promise). Therefore things are also a bit quiet on the old blogging front – and may be for a while, it will be worth it I promise.
However, I’ve had quite a few things happen with The Beast over the last few weeks, he’s growing up, and whilst I’m loving it, the questions are becoming harder to answer, and often lead to more questions, here are four of the topics we’ve been covering.
1. Haircuts, the value of money, and fitting in.
If I’m honest, I’m not a fan of boys with really short/shaved hair. I’m also not a fan of “tracks” (is that the correct definition?), on adults or children a like. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it, it’s just not my style, after all, if you look at my celebrity crushes none of them have really short hair, Dermot is about as short as you go.
Anyway, I digress. A month or so ago we had a melt down on a catastrophic level. It began because of the vest incident (below), but all got slightly out of hand because I said he couldn’t have a shaved hair with a Spiderman logo in the back. It transpired that one of his friends said boys with long hair are “girls”, and The Beast is quite sensitive about fitting in as a whole. He’s used to being top dog at nursery, so small fish big pond was a whole other ball game to him. I often try to explain that it doesn’t matter what people think of you, it’s what you think of you. A mantra that I try really hard to believe. It doesn’t always happen, I’ve had wobbles over the years, but I’m getting there…and it’s one thing I want both my children to grow up with. Self belief and self confidence. Not having to fit in to the crowd, being able to laugh at themselves and being confidence in their own identity. Easy then. It broke my heart to think he was already wanting to be “the same” The thing is, he’s still young, he’s still little, and kids can be cruel. We compromised and we’re both happier.
Now, we’re dealing with the whole value for money thing. The school is very big on the use of iPads and technology in general, something I’m very happy with, however at this age their needs to be some sort of restriction, and I REALLY want to write a piece about this, although I’m not ready yet, but at the end of the day I don’t believe a 4 year old or 5 year old should have their own iPad. I just think something that costs that much shouldn’t belong to a small child. And let’s face it, we all know I like buying stuff.
So on a daily basis we’re sitting down and explaining that iPads are a lot of money, that he can use mine, but not have his own yet, and yes I know certain children have their own, and yes I know at nearly five you’re very grown up, but it’s just too many pennies. We then get the smart-arsed response “well, I’ll just put it on my list for Santa then” WHERE DO YOU GO WITH THAT?! I started trying to explain that Santa has a budget based on how good you’ve been, and how many children are on his good list that year, and also, in the current economic climate it’s not always a big budget…I even considered mocking up a SANTA’S PRESENTS spreadsheet, but realised it was getting out of hand. So I did what all good mothers do, I told him to ask daddy.
2. Peter Parker doesn’t wear a vest.
Continuing on with the above, the whole fitting in theme, obviously The Beasts little gang aren’t all about the vests, so he doesn’t want to wear one. However the child is smart enough to realise that if I didn’t cave on the haircut or the iPad (or the motorbike), then I’m not going to cave on this. Well I have in the end. But only because I respect the effort he went to to get his own way. Let’s face it, any child which engages an adult into a full blown discussion as to what attire Peter Parker is wearing deserves to get their own way. It was a very indepth discussion where we talked camera angles, argued continuity errors, but in the end he had a point.
Peter Parker doesn’t wear a vest, so now neither does Theo.
3. Jesus Themed Birthday Parties and War.
It’s that time of year, the time of year where children often go to the church to talk about Easter, they discuss the Traditional Easter Story, and learn everything that I have forgotten about why Easter is apparently here.
We aren’t religious, we don’t believe, so to me Easter is about three things. Chocolate, Roast Dinners and a long weekend. HOWEVER, it’s very important that the children make their own decision. As long as it doesn’t cost me any money.
So, I went along with the children in his class to the church, I managed to keep them all alive, and I watched as they all sat and paid attention as the vicar talked. Except my son who was practicing picking his coat up with his feet.
For his homework he had to draw a picture about a part of the Traditional Easter Story, I sat with him and we talked about it, we looked at photos on the computer, we had arguments about why Jesus had long arms (not longer then normal arms, he just wanted them to be stumps – WHICH IS NOT REFLECTIVE OF THE PICTURES *cough*), I even caved with the conclusion he came to…that the skin had stretched from being on the cross.
However, I was totally unprepared for the question last night after tea.
“Mummy, can I have a Jesus themed Birthday Party this year?”
Even as I typed that sentence I closed my eyes. Suddenly the “What is War? Is that why Jesus was nailed to the cross?” question that came in the car on the way home from school didn’t seem quite as difficult to deflect. All of a sudden he was asking if there were Jesus t.shirts in Asda, and if he could have a Jesus suit. So as always, I did the only thing possible…told him we’d talk about it closer to the time…after all he’d just got his new Iron Man suit.
I honestly didn’t think death would be discussed in any depth until the boys were older, but what with both the school Guinea Pig and Rabbit dying, and the child is quite sensitive to certain things, it’s become a constant talking point.
My only saving grace is that he doesn’t seem to be that upset about it, in fact, he’s quite matter of fact, the conversations often go like this, usually whilst he’s on the toilet:
Beast: “Mummy…when I’m sixteen you’re going to die, and I’m not going to have to have a bath anymore”
Me: (whilst thinking – PLEASE do not turn into a spooky horror film child) “nooo, why would you say that?”
Beast: “Because you’ll be really old, and I’ll have to look after Larry”
Me: “Oh, noooo, don’t worry about that, after all, I’m not 16 anymore, and I still have Gran, and Daddy isn’t 16 and has Nan and Granddad ANDDDD Grandad is REALLY REALLY old (sorry granddad), and Great Grandma is his mummy, so you see you’re stuck with us for ages now.”
Beast: (without missing a beat) “But you’re daddy is dead isn’t it?”
Me:”Yes…but that’s just one of those things…that didn’t happen when I was 16″ *grasping at straws*
Beast: “Did you want him to die?”
Me: “No sweetie, he was just poorly”
Beast: *cough* “I have a cough”
Me: “OOHHH Listen, I can hear Daddy calling wipe you’re bum and get back into bed mwah”
You see, it’s not that I don’t want to talk about these things, well I don’t, but you know what I mean, I’m not going to avoid them forever, but he’s only four for crying out loud, four is about being innocent, about superhero powers, about playing in the paddling pool, about not having to sweat the big stuff. His biggest worry should be that I won’t him eat mini rolls in bed.
Now…where’s that bottle of Gin? Oh yes, I drank it when we were doing homework.