What I Learned from a 4-year old

I spent this week at our son Brian’s house. Our daughter-in-law was out of town all week, and Brian worked during the day; so I got to take care of Owen (4) and Ella (2) full-time.  It brought back so many memories of when our own children were those ages, and how much fun it was to watch how their minds work.

Ella is developing her own sense of independence now and I continually heard, ” I can do it.”  Whether it was putting on her shoes, climbing into her car-seat, or picking up her toys, she wanted to do it by herself.  Of course, when she got tired and wanted some cuddling, she melted my heart with her, “Up me,” which meant she wanted me to pick her up and hold her.

Owen continues to make me laugh. He’s 4, going on 30. For instance, I was making protein shakes for Ella and him. Now, I’ve made these before. Lots of times.  But this time Owen decided to tell me how to do it.

“First you get a big cup. Then fill up the cup with powder. Then put in Cashew milk. Then put in a silver springy ball and shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, until it’s a protein shake. Then get a little cup and put the protein shake into the little cup, then put in a straw.”

The only thing he missed was putting the lid on the big cup before shaking.  That could definitely be a problem. 

One day, as I was driving him to daycare (so I could get some work done of my own), he exclaimed, “You missed the turn!”   Our conversation went like this:

Me: Oh, that’s the freeway. Does Daddy take the freeway?
Owen: Yes. That’s the freeway, and it’s a shortcut.
Me: Okay, well, we can go that way another time.
Owen: Well, I think you should write a note and take it to bed with you so you don’t forget.

I think I’ll remember, but I know if I forget, he’ll remind me again.

As active as his memory is, his imagination is equal.

When he was getting dressed yesterday, he was saying something over and over again. I went into his bedroom to see what he was saying. He was wearing one of his Disney shirts, and he was repeating with great emphasis:  “Keep your hands, arms, and legs inside the car, and don’t forget to watch your children.” He was alternating that with: “Keep your hands, arms, and legs inside the boat, and don’t forget to watch your children. And don’t leave them at a dock.”  I asked him what he was saying, and he said he was pretending it was a Disney day, so he was wearing his Disney shirt, and “that’s what the people say at Disneyland.”  

Oh, he also came to the breakfast table wearing his pants on his head, because he decided it was a Silly Day too.

Ya know what?  Every day is a Silly Day with Owen. He is loving and thoughtful, generous and helpful. I give his parents credit for instilling those qualities in him. But they have also encouraged him to just be silly. I think the world needs a little more of that.

And so I come away from this week with a vow to remember, that – yes, it’s important to be kind and thoughtful and generous and loving and all of those things. But it’s also good to just have Silly Days now and then. Who knows? I might just come to the breakfast table with my pants on my head one day. It works for him.


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Comments (3)

  1. Michelle

    This is precious! I LOVE the things they say and the thoughts that go into it.

    May 26, 2018 at 8:28 am
  2. Renee

    How sweet! I love these stories – life is so entertaining with little ones at that age. You are blessed to spend time with the them.

    May 26, 2018 at 9:18 pm
    • Karen

      Thanks, Renee. I know you get to spend a lot of time with your grandchildren too. It’s a very special time.

      May 28, 2018 at 6:55 am
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