I remember thinking 18 months was really hard with Sailor. She was walking at 9 months so by the time 18 months rolled around she was running (or maybe I should say escaping), climbing, getting into everything. We used to come into her room after her nap and she would be butt naked sitting inside her top dresser drawer (sometimes with a Santa hat and goggles on). She not only managed to wiggle out of her pajamas and diaper but she would climb out of her crib, scale her dresser and find a drawer to spend the rest of naptime in. We used to avoid restaurants because it was so unenjoyable trying to entertain her and chase her around. We were afraid for the “terrible twos” but they really weren’t terrible at all… Sails was easier to communicate with and she started to get better with listening and following rules (aside from the time she nearly gave me a heart attack and got in the pool at swim lessons with no instructor nearby). I thought when we hit 3 we were in the clear, but jokes on me because 3 year olds are like tiny terrorists. She was a total sour patch toddler. A little love bug, tiniest comedian I had ever met but girlfriend could throw an epic meltdown if she wanted to. Three was really more or less “threenager” and gave us a tiny glimpse into the wave of emotions we might be getting when she hits middle school. I heard Four was hard but I never really understood why… it seemed like when Sails was getting closer she was actually become much easier. She’s always been great for her teachers at school, dance and swimming and generally we hear nothing but great things when she’s with a babysitter. 99% of the time we take Sailor somewhere she listens, is super sweet, quiet and extremely well behaved often resulting in a surprise cake pop or extra star for her sticker chart for good behavior. She’s even been one to say “mommy why is that boy being naughty? He’s not listening to his mommy” and it makes me feel like she understands and that my job is pretty easy being her mom. Lately though Sailor has been testing us and let me tell you… ITS EXHAUSTING. She’s smart and has so many responses that leave me feeling shocked because I don’t know what the next steps are. If we take things away she’ll shrug her shoulders and say “ok”. Sometimes when she’s feeling extra sassy she’ll say “I don’t care” or “I’ll have X buy me a new one” etc… and isn’t phased by consequences. She only seems to ever test me and Andy (which I would rather have than her behaving like this for a teacher) but today was something else. You see, Sailor and I are VERY similar and we are both EXTREMELY stubborn. Today was hard. Probably the hardest day I’ve ever had with her. I wouldn’t give in- she wouldn’t give in and it was mentally and emotionally draining. Fast forward to tonight and all is better. I told her to pick out a book for me to read her and she walks into my bedroom carrying the classic “I’ll love you forever book” and is wearing pajamas that say “I love dad”. I didn’t think much until she explains to me that she picked that book because she wants me to know she’ll love me forever and she picked out those pajamas because she wants daddy to know she’ll love him forever too. I cried.
I read that four year olds “see the world through eff you colored lenses and they’re always looking for ways to tell you that you’re wrong, don’t know what you’re talking about, or how they’d be better off living in another family.” Four can be brutal- that’s for sure, but I love our little fournado more than life itself. Just to see how disastrous of a day it was and have her pick out her pajamas and book to show us her love makes it all worth it.