Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Effing Fours

Too. Damn. Long. That's how long it's been since I updated this thing.

What have I been doing? Excellent question.

Well, for starters I have this kid. Maybe I've spoken of him? I've also spent the past year trying to figure out what the heck I'm going to do with my life. Callbacks are a nice temporary ego boost, but begging to shill for products that I'd never purchase in real life (I'm talking to you, artificially flavored macaroni product) can start to feel feel a little demoralizing. So this summer I took an internship at Big Duck - check it out, non-profits - and am now lucky enough to be freelancing for them. The learning curve has been steep (OXYGEN!) but it's nice to feel like I'm doing something that helps someone, somewhere. I was also name-checked in the HuffPo last month which was pretty awesome, and I might be writing a feature for a Big Magazine. I've also been playing a lot of Angry Birds.

So the kid! He's almost four, which is great? When he's not being a little jerkface? I thought three was tough, but this almost-four bullsnit has got to go.

*Universal disclaimer: I love my son more than anything in this world. Being a parent makes me happier than I've ever been, and gives me more joy than I ever imagined. But there are times when I want to leave him by the curb with a "Free To Good Home" sign.

Parents of four year olds - any of this sound familiar?

- Dropped your toast? Don't like your socks? Dripped some water on your shirt? Why not scream like you just put your hand in a working blender! When your parent runs in to help you, either:

A) immediately start kicking and hitting because you "don't WANT help!"
B) start screaming louder when irritated parent walks away.
C) when they return, scream that you don't want them, you want the OTHER parent.

- Refusing to eat. Or nap. Or do anything that might put you in a better mood.

- Trying out fancy new words and phrases like "hate" or "go away" or "stupid." Particularly with strangers on a crowded elevator.

So four. Yeah. Brutal.

A lot of this ugliness is due to the fact that he's given up his nap, which is why I'm able to write this a 8:23 pm instead of playing Scooby-Doo. With no nap, his sleep schedule is all buggered up. Most nights he's asleep by 6:30 pm, which is awesome for Matt and me,* but he's also up every morning at 5:30 am which is just a kick in the balls.

I know what you're thinking: Make him go back to sleep! Tell him he can't get up until 7! Do something to make that kid sleep later!

Trust me, we've tried.

The big trouble is his bladder. After 11 hours, that puppy's full. By the time he gets out of bed, goes to the potty, turns on the light, tries to focus on aiming towards the water (towards the water! TOWARDS THE WATER!), he's awake. We've instituted a rule that he's not allowed to play until the sun comes up. Recently he's taken to crawling into bed with us and staring at the new Christmas lights, but he doesn't go back to sleep.

By 1:00, he's a little cranky. We make him have quiet time. He just lays in bed and talks to himself.

By 3:00, he's really cranky.

By 5:00, he hates daddy. And dinner. And books.

By 6:00, he's DONE.

The advice givers tell me to make him nap, but how exactly do I do that? You can't exactly force a kid to go to sleep. I keep hoping that it'll get better as his body adjusts, but it's taking forEVer.

Parents: how did you get through nap transition? Do I have a full year of jerkiness ahead?

(*I know that "me" is the proper word choice here, but it still feels wrong.)