Ethan wasn't feeling well the other day, he had a little cough. He was sitting at the table eating his yogurt and he suddenly says, "I don't like being four."
"It's not the best."
"What do you want to be, what's the best?"
It turned out he wanted to be three again, to be little, to be cuddled and pampered. We talked about how there are times when we all want that, and that's ok. And we talked about how it can be good to get older, too - there are things he can do this year that he couldn't do last year - like play soccer. He's been eager to play like Marcus does. But then he says, "But I want to be Argentina" (Marcus' favorite world cup team). "Well, you'll have to be a lot older to be Argentina."
A couple days later when we were together we practiced soccer outside. Before his mom left for work she said "Don't tell Nana that you want to write on your soccer ball, because you can't." He pointed out that he'd tried to write his initials. He got the E, but he said "I tried to make a B but I made a cupcake. It did look like a cupcake.
Later he asked if we could practice letters on paper. We did. Then he wanted to tape them to the ball. His mom didn't say we couldn't tape letters on a ball. So we did.
We went for a walk at Vassar pond, looking for signs of spring. We found beautiful skunk cabbage coming up and I told him that insects like to live in there to get out of the cold and rain. He imagined them having little beds and tvs in there so they could be cosy.
We saw pollywogs (which he called hollywogs), and crayfish and minnows, and geese - and garbage people had thrown around. We'll have to go next time prepared to carry some of that out. He was rightly offended that people throw their trash in such places.
Spending time with a four year old, experiencing how they see the world, is one of my favorite things to do. Sorry, Ethan, but I have to disagree with you. Four is the best!