POSTS FOR 2010

Observations of a 4-year-old

Family Life615 words3 minutes to read

My son’s observations on the life of a 4-year-old is a constant stream of humorous material.

Matthew

He’s the outgoing type who’s always looking for attention. I fully expect that he’s grow up to enjoy sports and be the life of the party. While he reminds me quite a bit of Calvin, he’s still very innocent and naïve. He calls it as he sees it, and it’s interesting to see how his perceptions of life grow and change over time.

Four is an age where they’re past the Terrible Twos (which actually runs from 1½ to 3½), but they’ve not quite reached the sweetness and maturity of a 5–6 year old (for parents who have experienced that). Four is an age that is not so much defiant as simply lacking experience. They’re still learning about what is right, what is wrong, and what they can get away with.

Being the world’s biggest fan of Calvin & Hobbes, I frequently relate to Calvin’s dad. A facepalm and an “Oh, that dumb kid…” have admittedly come from my mouth more than once. If we’re all being honest, I think that’s a natural reaction to have when your kid tries to flush an entire roll of toilet paper at once. (Of course, I still debate as to whether that’s better or worse than discovering a giant turd sitting in the toilet with no toilet paper at all.)

These sorts of things aren’t humorous in the moment, but they become funny over time. Spilled milk again? First you’re irritated, then you let out a resigned sigh, then over time you realize how entertaining and insightful these little nuggets of life’s minutiae are. Other instances would be perfect for an episode of Kids say the darndest things.

I gave my son a bath this morning. Every bath follows more-or-less the same pattern:

  1. Turn on the bath water, squeeze in some bubble bath, and tell him to get naked.

  2. I point out the invisible line that the water should be up to before he turns it off.

  3. He plays in the bathtub for a while, soaking everything, while I play one or two multi-player rounds of Call of Duty.

  4. I go in and wash his hair “the easy way,” which was a method I devised of washing his hair without having him panic at the thought of getting shampoo in his eyes.

  5. He pulls the plug, climbs out of the tub, I wrap him in a towel, and send him to his room to get dressed.

  6. I’ll pick out some clothes for him to wear, help him dry off, then help him get his clothes on.

Now when you’re raising kids you’ve pretty much seen them naked about a million times. It’s also very likely that they’ve seen you naked a million times. And the kids have probably seen their similarly-aged siblings naked a million times. But as they grow up, they naturally begin to want some privacy when they’re changing or getting in and out of the bath. That transition hasn’t fully happened yet in our house.

So I’m sitting there drying off The Boy™, and his sister came in to provide her opinion on his choice of clothes to wear. I held out his underwear and told him to stick his legs in. As I was helping him get them on, he says:

Brother: “Sister’s looking at my pee-pee parts!”

Sister: “No I’m not!”

Brother: “Yes you are!”

Sister: “Nuh-uh!”

Brother: “Uh-huh!”

Sister: “Nuh-uh!”

(And so on and so forth.) Finally he looks at me and says, “Daddy, I don’t want any girls to see my pee-pee parts — only boys.” I smirked and said “For now, son. For now.”

Ryan Parman

Ryan Parman is an experienced software engineer, open source evangelist, and passionate user advocate currently living in Seattle. He is the creator of and , and worked on DevOps and Security at . He is now bringing learning into the digital age as an Engineering Lead and Site Reliability Engineer at . Ryan's aptly-named blog, , is where he writes about ideas longer than .