Saturday, November 01, 2014

Parenting month 48: Now that we are four

Before T was born, we thought that the first few years did not really matter, that we would not really start trying to teach T anything before he was four. Because we did not think we had any strong opinions on what needed to be done before that.

(I'll pause and wait for everyone to stop laughing. But the real reason for this was that we promised not to stress over any differences in parenting style between us and both pairs of grandparents by deciding ahead of time that it really did not matter, and I think we did pull that off.)

And now, surprise, he is four. So time to take stock of where we are.

1.  Our engaged with parents but not with others has turned into a talker. He plays with many of the other kids now (and he does like being one of the older ones in his room). While he would not be considered an extrovert by preschooler standards, he is a long way from the one who took three months before he would get comfortable with daycare/preschool staff.

I am playing the drums
Drums at the Mattress Factory

2.  He likes being competent. Today's trick was building a LEGO set for his birthday reading the instructions himself (I only helped when the issue was finger strength). Granted, it was a set that was designed so young children could make it, (aimed at 4-7 years), but he was happy to say he did it. We've been consciously trying to get him to feel good about being competent and accomplishing things, whether it is building something, playing music, working with the garden, building things with tools, or anything else that preschoolers can do.
These are parsley roots from my garden
These are parsley roots from my garden

3.  He can read simple books. For a while we thought he was  just memorizing books, but we have caught him figuring out new words through phonics.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says you should read to newborns.
Reading for my little sister
4.  He has always had empathy in the sense of responding to our feelings, but now it expresses itself in a new way as he is the big brother who cares for his little sister.

But now that he is four, and we obviously did not let things ride for the first few years of life, what does it mean to be thinking deliberately about his growth?  We are watching the progression to kindergarden, as the cutoff point for school has been moving earlier over the years (parents have been holding their children back for fear that they were not developmentally ready), and now T is on the other side of it, so we are worried that based on the public school cutoff points, he will have to wait and double up a year in preschool at some point before he is eligible for kindergarden/first grade, and that will be boring.  So we are thinking of ways for him to get into the school system despite the cutoff date.

Some favorites from the year:

Song: Let it go from Frozen, like the majority of preschoolers around the world. And he gets it in both english and mandarin.

Books: The Scholastic, DK, and Random House Readers series.

Museum: Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Playground: The yellow and gold playground by the swimming pool in North Park

Toy:  LEGO  (actually, I think parents are the true favorite toy)

Movie:  The LEGO Movie

On the other end, A is a full on babbler. She can play with things put into her crib, and she likes putting things in her mouth (T always tested things before putting them in). Latest trick is turning over. She can kick and swing enough to go from back to front. Of course she does not know what to do after that so the sense of accomplishment quickly gets replaced by frustration.

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