Though there is so much about the age of 4 that drives me crazy (the attitude, the absoluteness of, well, everything, the whining - ohmigod the whining) what I'm finding that I'm really enjoying is the ability to have actual conversations with Noelle beyond 'what did you do at school/camp today. (Answer: played in centers. I don't know why I bother to continue asking anymore.)
Last night we were reading the condensed Disney version of 'Beauty and the Beast' and happened upon this turn of phrase: "...dined together...". She immediately stopped me and asked, "What's 'dined' mean?" We were already later in getting her to bed than we liked but for once, I swallowed the flash of irritation and modulated my voice to answer her question. "It means to eat dinner. Belle and the Beast were eating dinner together now." Satisfied, she fell silent taking it all in until we came to another part of the story where Gaston and LeFou set up Maurice to be taken to Mr. D'Arque's insane asylum. (Yes, I was once able to recite this movie from memory complete with songs. Your point?)
"Mommy, what's an 'insane aslyium'?" Have you ever tried to explain the existence of psychiatric hospitals and the history of associated abuse to a preschooler? I don't recommend it, not without heavily fortifying oneself with wine first. But I digress. So I explained that it was a hospital that people were taken to when they were judged to be not right in the head but how that didn't apply to Maurice because we was clearly not crazy since Belle had the magic mirror and could show the townspeople that Maurice wasn't lying or insane. I resisted the urge to get into the chemistry of the brain so really, go me. We finished up the story and rather than feeling frustrated that it had taken so much longer with the stoppages for explanation/discussion, I felt strangely elated. I could really talk to her! She could take in more information, ask questions, become immersed in the world of words as I do. Such a heady feeling and when I leaned down to kiss her goodnight, I told her that I really enjoyed our story; that I loved her being involved and invested in the story. She had the biggest smile on her face as we turned out the light.
A little bit later, she got up to go potty. Again. (For the sake of brevity, this was actually the third trip to the potty.) She was a bit constipated and was finally able to 'get the poopies out.' She heaved a huge sigh of relief, 'That feels so much better.' Which of course led to why sometimes poopies are hard to get out, how they get into our bottoms and where they come from in the first place. I also don't recommend discussing the finer points of elimination after 9 pm but I'm a biologist by education and a food scientist by training so there you go.)
A wonderful end to the day, a glimpse into the future.
Now go the f*ck to sleep.