Written by Shelley Plett Tuesday, 23 June 2009 09:49
“The prime purpose of being four is to enjoy being four—of secondary importance is to prepare for being five.” —Jim Trelease, “The Read-Aloud Handbook,” 1985
An attosecond is one quintillionth of a second. It’s the amount of time it takes for light to travel the length of three hydrogen atoms. And the length of time needed for an atomic nucleus to recoil. It’s also—scientifically proven I think—the estimated time for a preschooler’s attitude to change.
On paper, an attosecond looks like this: 10-18s. I don’t get it, but I accept it because Wikipedia says it’s so.
On paper, a preschooler’s typical attitude may look like this:
An attosecond later…
Another attosecond later:
I don’t get this either, but I accept it also. Because I have to.
What’s that adage? This too shall pass….
I find myself repeating “it’s just a phase” a lot with my daughter. Not being able to fall asleep unless she is in my bed? Just a phase. Sleeping with socks on her hands when she was 2? Just a phase. Dancing with her “boyfriend,” a cardboard poster tube, as part of her bedtime ritual? Just a phase.
I like that excuse. It’s so reliable. So easy to whip out when I can find no other logical explanation for her actions.
This is why parents take immense pleasure in watching someone else’s child act out. And if it’s in public—bonus.
I don’t know if it’s because misery loves company, evidence that you’re part of an exclusive revolving club, that it’s just plain funny, or if it brings a twisted satisfaction that my kids aren’t the only ones with bad timing. (Probably that).
You’re one of those who knows it can be frustrating (when an unexplainable tantrum requires a 10 p.m. phone call from Grandma’s house), embarrassing (when she volunteers a description of your underwear in a public restroom), and generally exhausting (when she decides the middle of the back yard is a much better alternative to indoor plumbing).
Sometimes it’s hard to remember to laugh when three things are flying through the air every time you pick one thing up. It’s hard to smile when you could really use a nap at the same time she could really use a game of Candy Land.
Candy Land loses it’s allure after 200 to 300 games. And I’m tired of drawing that gingerbread card that drops me back to the beginning of the rainbow path.
She’s rigging the game, I’ve seen her sorting the cards before we start.
The attitudes, frustrating discipline sessions, and backtalk streaks are challenging and frequent. But like everything else, this too shall pass. It’s just a phase.
Maybe I should take one more turn in Candy Land before it does.