They tell me I’ll miss it.
That I’ll miss these days that end with her falling asleep at ten pm in a grumpy, pitiful slump on the living room floor wearing one sock and her father’s t-shirt, her face showing remnants of the war story of the suppertime before.
That I’ll miss these frantic mornings of slapping together heart shaped sandwiches- ALL CRUSTS OFF- for school lunch which rest above the laminated pictures from home in the plastic containers with missing lids.
That I’ll miss reminding her to wipe from front to back, and to close the lid and to flush, and then to wash her hands before jetting back out to the sandbox, forgetting her pants and her shoes in midst of the endless reel of things-to-do.
They tell me I’ll miss the playground meltdown that hits right as suppertime ought to be beginning.
I may some day miss living the truth that at four years old, one is very passionate about having their nails did(and fingers for that matter) in hues like Forever Fabulous, Twinkled Purple and Rockstar Pink, but for f’s sakes do not even think about trimming those nails to remove the week’s worth of dirt from underneath until they are in said sleeping heap as per the paragraph above.
I’ll move on some day from the fact that at four years old, self care means spraying in hair detangler on just the crown of one’s head- NO BRUSHING ALLOWED- and then spraying it over the mirror, too, just for good measure.
And at four years old, one insists only on wearing either the rubber boots that are two sizes too big, or the purple sneakers that are a size too small, and nothing else will do, no matter the weather outside or the amount of dew inside said shoes left outside from the night before.
At this age one must not be surprised to learn you can only exit a vehicle via the rolled down window, and one must use telepathy to alert drivers of all possible ‘Tim Norton’s’ within a square mile radius, to get their timbit fix.
Then there’s the preciousness that is that a four year old will only nap if you don’t want them to when in a vehicle and it is suppertime, so as to ensure the ten pm sleep time as described above. But no, they most definitely were NOT tired, what a rude thing to even ask when you did so just three minutes before, after realizing your night would soon be totally fucked.
At four a girl learns risk assessment- they say I’ll miss the days she’s feeling brave enough to stash candies under her bed, which is otherwise only used to store blankets on top of, as mom and dad’s bed is all the more spacious to take large pisses in. Because no, at four she most definitely won’t be trying that pee before bedtime, thank you very much.
At four years old, a home sometimes smells like stale pee for the reason described above, and a guest in the home is not to be taken aback or ask questions about these sneaky pee whiffs, or they risk getting ‘the look’ from the four year old’s sleep deprived mother- I’m told I’ll miss my home’s peepourri.
At four, I have the perfect artist-resident, and may one day miss seeing creativity take hold by means of permanent markers on bedroom and bathroom walls, and because four year olds say they really like the colour black, Sharpie happens to grace my freshly finished wooden deck, too.
When a person has a four year old, they must have an endless supply of these accessories to provide endless entertainment: toilet paper, wet wipes and band aids. These things can be
used wasted in conjunction with most any activity except wiping asses, cleaning things that actually need to be cleaned, or being used on legitimate cuts. They tell me I will most certainly miss stock-piling that shit.
Then there’s the fact a four year old leaves a sticky film everywhere they go, and they have sand in their hair. They demand matching pyjamas but mismatched socks. They can walk into a nest of leeches and not be fazed by it, but try putting something new on their plate that is not plain or covered in butter and you risk hell freezing over.
I’ll come to miss that a four year old has the self respect to call you out when you fart on them under a shared blanket, and I’ll miss their level of self awareness in understanding and explaining that “Sometimes farts come out of your pee hole.” I’ll miss the keen passion for bodily functions and bad jokes, and they tell me one day I’ll miss when every sentence out of her mouth doesn’t include the word ‘poop’ in it.
A four year old gets their first black eye and their first big bike. They can reach the monkey bars and reach the chicken eggs in the coop, too. A four year old gets their heart broken by other four year olds, just like a four year old can break their parents’ hearts, too.
A four year old is stuck in limbo between being a baby and being a child. They will either struggle with their mind being more mature than their body, or their body being more advanced than their mind, and until those things align, shit be crazy.
And they tell me with certainty that I’ll miss the crazy.
Life with a four year old is messy, charming, chaotic, quirky, exhausting, demanding and absurd. The days are long and the weeks go fast.
And they remind me every day I’ll miss it down the line.
So I focus on giving thanks for today. Which for us, means prioritizing what I’m not willing to miss today- that cheese strings are on sale for her, and that wine made somewhere by someone is on clearance for me.