Was this angel sent from the heavens to destroy us?
So here’s a big different between three and four years old:
At three, his tantrums involve screaming, crying, sometimes kicking or scratching, and the occasional “you’re a stupid!”
At four, his tantrums involve screaming, crying, sometimes kicking or scratching or punching, and the following statements: “I hate you! I’m not going to love you ever again! I’m going to put you in the garbage!” Literally all of the above occurred this very delightful morning, because Mama had the audacity to walk away from him into another room and not be willing to come back and carry him when he screamed. In his defense, he said his legs weren’t working. When I presented him with evidence that his legs were in fact working (“you chased me into the other room and punched and scratched me”) he stood strong with his defense.
But then there’s a lot of fun stuff too. This is a silly thing we’ve been doing regularly for almost half a year: I’ll start tickling him with my foot and pretend not to notice. Nashi then tells me “look what’s happening, papa!” What? “Your foot, it’s getting me!” I look at my other foot and say it’s not doing anything. “No, your other foot!” I stop getting him, look at the foot, and tell him it’s not doing anything. Then start getting him again once I look away. He then leans down and whispers to the foot “keep doing that foot I want to show papa. Look papa!” I look down and act surprised that my foot is getting him. I tell my foot to stop getting Nashi. He laughs hysterically.
He loves physical activity and all would be well if he had at least one parent giving him constant attention. Watching both kids at once is still tough when he’s not great sharing toys or attention. It goes both ways, because when he does find something to do on his own, Papaya is drawn to the activity and parental mediation is required. The only way they currently “play together” is in jockeying for the same item. Managing this dynamic is not my idea of fun. With Papaya starting to walk and talk however, we are hopefully getting closer and closer to legit sibling playtime. We’ll know I’m home free when the time comes where I can be at home taking a nap while they safely play with each other.