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Rowan …

May 26, 2008

As she approaches four years old – I find myself appraising her sometimes. Her behaviour. Her attachments. Her language and her figure. Her attitude. Just her.

Just assessing all these little day to day changes – little words she says that I’ve never heard her say before, the way she turns her head or the way she’s started to cross her legs when she eats her evening meal.

She’s a great girl really and although I find we fall out daily over the silly things – there’s nothing I would really change.


I love the way she’s feisty and self assured. I love the way that she stands up for the things she wants even if she can see it’s getting her into trouble. I admire the way she’s developed that fearless attitude toward treading the path she chooses.


One thing I do wish was closer to ending was the back chat! What is it with kids and their need to disagree and complain with and about everything!? It’s always about the same things and always about the same thing about the same thing.

For example – there’s always something to complain about tea. It’s too big. There’s not enough. I need more ketchup. Don’t put my ketchup there. Why didn’t you put ketchup here? I didn’t want sausages. It’s too hot. It’s got cold. I think we have even got to the point where we’re subconsciously trying to guess what the complaint will be before we get there. I know tonight we found ourselves in the kitchen discussing the fact that I’d put two sausages on her plate and the havoc this would cause when we’d only discussed mash and beans πŸ™„

It’s mind numbingly, soul destroyingly repetitive, unrelenting and unwaivering in it’s detail. Every day we fight about tea. We can practically predict the complaint. Constantly reminding her about manners. I don’t know what is more frustrating – knowing that she can say please and thank you without being reminded and then listening to her forget it 60% of every day or having to remind her to say it and getting ‘The Back Chat‘. We appear to be making no headway. And the thing that depresses me most? I’m fairly sure I was still getting into trouble for this at 16…. πŸ˜†

Rowan is bordering on mostly good behaviour.. it’s not that she’s an abominably behaved child at all but she is going through this one phase of threedom at the moment that I could cheerfully do without.

She is over sensitive at the best of times to be honest – she easily dissolves into tears when she’s thinking things aren’t going to go her way – she doesn’t even have to have any evidence! She used to be very resilient, very sure of herself … slightly too sure sometimes I think… but always funny and always very cheeky. Never afraid to laugh at herself.


If any child fell over at playgroup – you normally would hear tears… Rowan fell over? She would stand up, brush herself down and laugh… always turning to catch your eye to see if you were laughing with her.

Now – she falls over – it’s instant tears. She got salt in a paper cut today and whined like … like a …. 1787 bottle of Sauternes. (See? I’m cultured!) She is without a doubt – frustrating. Whingy. Crabby. Difficult. Over sensitive…. Annoying.

I’m hoping that everyone can tell me that this cycle of arguments and talk-downs, complaining and negotiation and tears and screams of anticipated injustice will come to an end eventually. But I’m fearing that the answer to that is a chuckle, a no and a large glass of wine. πŸ™„

Things are changing though in other ways though. You can reason with her. We have formulated a conversation over the last couple of days basically about how situations can degenerate. When she’s being mouthy and back chatty I start a little scenario with her about how when she behaves like this it makes everyone grumpy and then we all fall out and everyone’s upset. Does she like being upset – mummy being upset etc.

I ask her what kind of behaviour is this? She says grumpy and then I ask her what kind of behaviour would be better (happy) and we have the little chat.

I only tried it for the first time yesterday but it did seem to reach her. I watched her contemplate what I was asking her and she genuinely did seem to realise that the consequences of this complaining was that she would get told off and everyone would be upset. I have tried to explain to her that when she gets grumpy and rude that it makes me upset. I don’t like being upset and that I would much rather be happy and have fun with her.

This is a really welcome development because it’s only recent that we’ve really been able to appeal to her evolving conscience and understanding of human behaviour. Before – we have had these kind of chats but I don’t think she ever really got it. Now I can see the cogs turning so to speak. I see her processing the events and watching the potential consequences unfold in her imagination and it is amazing.

And the really fantastic result is that I really think it has avoided some situations over the weekend.

She is an amazingly gorgeous person. She’s so caring and genuine and tactile. I see her bend her knee and crouch down to kids younger than herself and say hello… trying to put others at ease. she always talks to them like an 80 year old nana would talk to a newborn. No matter how old the younger child.


Hello? How are you???? Ahhhhh… is that your blanket? You’re so cute!

You can just imagine it. She would just have to finish it off with coochie coo and she’d be set πŸ™‚

She cares so much about others. Her ceaseless watch over her younger sister. She can instantly spot if someone is not OK and when my Nana fell at Christmas and hurt her leg, Rowan asked about her for weeks.

I cringe to see her ignored or unheard. Days when she might say Good Morning! to a cab driver and they don’t answer her back and I watch her little lip wobble and she’ll turn to look at me.

It’s never ‘Why isn’t he talking to me?’ I see …. Her face says: ‘Why doesn’t he want to talk to me?’

Such a subtle difference – but a major one.

I’m always quick with I don’t think he heard… or maybe that little girl is shy, darling. Don’t worry she didn’t mean it.

I hate to see her hurting and not understanding. I’m sure that only gets worse too! πŸ™„

Someone did say (I forget who – sorry if it’s you) that kids can really change when a sibling is born. And when I look back over the last couple of years – maybe she did change when Ella came along. I don’t know.

Maybe she’s just three and this awkward stage is part and parcel of shaping a little person.


The thought of still being in this guessing game in 10 years and 20 years when they’re both grown up….?

Blimey!! πŸ˜†

10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 27, 2008 8:54 am

    I think 3 is amazingly tricky; i’m only really enjoying it with Josie for the first time (and maybe because it is the last time 😦 ) Nothing you describe falls outside the boundaries of what i would call normal, but i fretted about mine in much the same way. I do think that if you’ve got major issues over meals and things then probably the only way to deal with it is to radically alter YOUR behaviour, because you’ll probably fail to alter the 3 year old!

    Josie is currently refusing to eat pretty much anything; she HATES everything, we’ve always got it wrong, we’ve always failed to listen. SO we’re ignoring her and telling her to go and find her own food. She wanders off to the fridge, rootles a bit, then comes back and eats her dinner mostly πŸ˜† Rotten parents! She is also appallingly stubborn and contrary. She has Dora games on the computer and will point ot the icon she wants, then SCREAM because it wasn’t the one she asked to – and you know she knows she is being a cow.

    It all shakes out by the time they are 5.

    And look, you altered the comments box! The power of a big sister!!!!

    Merrys last blog post..Cleopatra Fimo Models.

  2. May 27, 2008 9:29 am

    I have obliterated all three three’s from my memory, partly because it signals the end of cute feet (really, can’t bear feet beyond toddlerdom) but mostly because it is just before they get interesting in a ‘real’way, not just cute mini me way. I do love the way children learn to persuade and try to compromise (or coerce) you into their way of thinking rather than pitch a tantrum, so good bits just around the corner then :o)

    and yes, thank you, I can now see what I am typing!


    Mrs Hojos last blog post..Eagles have Flown

  3. May 27, 2008 1:08 pm

    Must be a phase because TB’s eactly the same. Turning four last week still hasn’t made a difference though.

    Vics last blog post..Leftovers

  4. May 27, 2008 9:18 pm

    I hope it’s a phase!! And a short one!

  5. May 28, 2008 8:22 pm

    It is short… but it is replaced by being 4. Which… um…..

    Merrys last blog post..Cleopatra Fimo Models.

  6. May 28, 2008 9:46 pm

    would that be where you pass me the glass of wine with the sympathetic look?

  7. May 29, 2008 3:13 am

    Four year olds are lush, they argue a lot but they are really interesting, I’ve had some great conversations with 4 year olds, come to think of it I’ve had conversations with a lot of adults that are scarily similar to 4 years old’s…

    enjoy that bucket of wine


    Mrs Hojos last blog post..How much wood would a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck would chuck wood

  8. June 11, 2008 9:17 pm

    I only just spotted this comment!!! How did that happen?!

  9. June 13, 2008 12:24 am

    I guess the wine did the trick??


    Mrs Hojos last blog post..A brief interlude

  10. June 13, 2008 5:49 pm

    ha ha – possibly… that and the vodka!

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