GRAND Magazine - March/April 2019 - 22
You may be more than a little out of practice but fear
not. There is endless wonder and fun to be had and
shared as a grandparent. This field guide will familiarize you with the dauntless spirits of four-year olds and
advise you on how to maximize your time with them.
Why the focus on four-year olds and not, say, infants
or toddlers? Because four-year olds are a whole other
ball of wax (or slime or playdough). Infants and toddlers
are both wonderful and trying in their own ways, but
four-year olds straddle the line between toddlers and
big kids. They're basically little adults, like hobbits. Let
me show you what I mean and help you navigate the
complex world of the pre-kindergartener. I will use my
granddaughter, Kendall, as an example.
For kicks and giggles, here's a
list of other things to gear up
for with a four-year old.
Getting up at the butt crack of dawn.
Though four-year olds are perfectly capable of sleeping in,
they don't. The rays of the sun streaming through my bedroom
window when Kendall has slept over mean she's up and loaded
for bear, requesting waffles and sausage and the plan for the day,
about which she is a major consultant and contributor.
The hilarity of poop. It goes like this:
"Hey Kendall, what does that beautiful cloud look like?"
Dissolving into giggles, she yells, "Poop!"
The next time: "Hey Kendall, look at that shooting star. Isn't
"Yeah! Is that the Poop Star?" She's in fits.
Another day: "Hey Kendall, what should we have for dinner
"No way!" she says. "Snake eyeballs and poop!"
Get used to it; embrace it. "Great!" I say. "Let's have some
sprinkles on our poop."
MARCH APRIL 2019
of puppy-dog eyes. Your job is to be prepared with scores
hugs, commiseration ("Aw, man! That's a mean boo-boo.
Let's get you fixed up! You're so brave!") of Band-Aids. In
fact, have many boxes at the ready, each with a favorite
character. Know that the only thing that might fix the booboo is one from each box, carefully selected by the injured
party; Kendall has often had the entire catalog of Disney
characters parading up her leg and down her foot to
cover a barely visible scrape on her ankle. This is okay.
It shows her that Grandma loves her, and it gives her
Character obsessions. When Kendall was
around two, it was Mickey Mouse. Everything
Mickey caught her eye-toys, yes, but also forks and
plates, clothes, bumper stickers, stationery, games, pens,
sheets, DVDs, wrapping paper, books, etc., not to mention every size and iteration of plush Mickeys possible:
Pirate Mickey, Santa Mickey, Easter Bunny Mickey, Sorcerer
Mickey, Roadster Racers Mickey, Rock n' Roll Singing
Mickey, and on and on. By now I'm sure Kendall has more
Mickeys than there are grains of sand on Venice Beach. This
phase lasted a good year, and I learned to want to throttle that
stinking mouse and his annoyingly cheerful cohorts, but I knew
all the words to his clubhouse theme song "Hot Diggity Dog"
(and she still likes Mickey, he's just not quite the obsession he
I'd never been comfortable
saying the word "fart" until
Kendall came along.
The hilarity of farts. Same principle. I'd never been
comfortable saying the word "fart" until Kendall came along
(pretty sure her dad, my youngest son, taught it to her). It's still
not my favorite; I prefer "toot." The other day in the bathtub
she unleashed a string of toots, much to her delight, and I said,
"Jeepers, Tooty McTooterton! Feel better?" She nearly lost her
breath, she was laughing so hard.
Boo-boos. The slightest scrape or pea-sized bruise
means your grandchild has faced the forces of Mordor
and won, but this may not be without a few tears and blinking
Lisa Smith teaches college English and proudly exclaims
that she is the luckiest grandma in the world to Kendall,
age 5, Desmond, age 3, and Ezra, age 2. She wrote, "FourYear Olds: A Field Guide for Grandparents, to chronicle
Kendall's wonderful silliness at age four.
GRAND Magazine - March/April 2019
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - March/April 2019
GRAND Magazine - March/April 2019 - 1
GRAND Magazine - March/April 2019 - 2
GRAND Magazine - March/April 2019 - 3
GRAND Magazine - March/April 2019 - Contents
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