The dichotomy between my four year old’s intellectual abilities and his, well, four-year-oldness never ceases to amaze me. The same child who routinely asks me questions that confound if not downright flummox me is still a tantrum-throwing, paci-sucking, brother-hitting, mother-ignoring four year old.
Well, not anymore.
I mean he still throws tantrums, attack his brother (and embarrassingly sometimes me), and often fails to heed my commands. But as of his fourth birthday four days ago, he no longer sucks a paci.
I know, I know, what’s my problem. The books say throw it out at one or maybe two. But he was so addicted and it was so calming and it was just for bedtime and and and. Plus we were going to do it at three but toilet training was the main focus right then and multi-tasking didn’t seem wise at that juncture.
So there we were, in toys r us, with bags bulging with playmobil and enough plastic animals to charge admission to our living room zoo, standing at the long-awaited garbage pail, its tentacles at the ready. And he did it. Well, he asked me to do it for him but I made him take the plunge.
days months leading up to the great paci-trashing were more anxiety-ridden for my husband and I than for Aryeh. We talked about it with him, prepared him, built up the great toy-exchange, and waxed poetic about the joys of growing up. He wasn’t thrilled but he seemed to take it in stride.
Plus, someone with the mental acuity to regular challenge me with the goings-on of his mind can definitely handle an empty mouth at bedtime.
Well, we’ve survived four nights. But that surreal duality that defines him has been at its peak this weekend.
He asked me if we’ll live in the same apt we rented this fall in Israel when Moshiach comes and whether he could take his farm puzzle along when we leave to Israel with Moshiach. (Mind you it was the dollar store farm puzzle he requested and not his new Playmobil set that’s worth its weight in gold).
He wanted to know where G-d is and if he can fall since if he’s everywhere he’s also on the roof, which is quite a precarious place to balance.
He asked who were the parents of the first people G-d created, and when I said that G-d created them without parents he wanted to know who took care of them when they were babies.
Not so much.
I got him to sleep surrounded by his menagerie, albeit hours after his bedtime, by patting his back repeatedly to the same beat I did four long years ago when my newborn couldn’t fall asleep on his own. Pat, pat, pat. Pat, pat, pat. I thought his eyes would never close.
So did his brother, whose new words of the day were pat meeeeee.
If only his mouth could catch up to his mind, we could all get some rest.
Uh oh, he just woke up. At least he’s sleeping longer stretches than he did back then.
Otherwise I’d be looking forward to a loooong night of pat pat pat. And we wouldn’t even be able to talk about it in the morning.