The speed of four

I’ve got nothing. I’ve been sitting here trying and trying to think of something exciting to tell you, some place the Dublin Bay sock has been, or some new project that will scintillate and thrill you all.
I’ve got nothing.
The truth is that the 24 hours since I’ve been with you last have been pretty ordinary, except that I got to spend some of them with my four year old nephew, and the object of frequent knitterly atterntion, Hank.
Hank is a pretty fun guy, in a four year old way, and I had thoroughly forgotten the speed and sensibilities that the world moves to when you are four.
My sister was out of town, so I agreed (in exchange for her car, which is darned fun to drive – despite her insistence that If I am going to drive it, I call it “The Shite-mobile”) that I would pick up Hank from daycare, keep him for a while, then take him to the airport to meet my sister. No problem. I am the stunning and agreeable mother of three. I have experience, I have skills. Here’s how it went.
– While I was knitting the Cherry Aran, Hank insisted that I put it down, for three very reasonable and intelligent reasons. 1. The needles are very pointy and dangerous to little kids, like him, for example. 2. The Aran is not for him so why bother? 3. I can’t play lego and knit at the same time.
While making my arguments (I lost) I managed to finish the neck band and one of the button bands. You will notice that I have obviously had some rather serious button band issues. This is the inevitable cosmic punishment for mouthing off yesterday about picking up stitches. The killer is that as I was distracted by my attempts to play lego and knit at the same time, I decided to pick up the number of stitches listed in the pattern so I wouldn’t have to do button hole placement math. The pattern is clearly incorrect. (We will not discuss how it is that a knitter of my experience could make it all the way to the cast off edge without noticing that it was magnificently screwed up. All I can say is that Hank is probably very right about multitasking.)
I will refrain from using foul language, but will say that the pattern is (and I quote Hank) “a lying bad liar guy”.
– I took him to a department store to buy a big plastic storage bin. Hank insisted that he be placed in the bin, the lid replaced and the bin carried around the store with him inside it. The ultimate plan of course, was that eventually the bin would be placed on the cashiers counter and Hank would jump out, and yell “Surprise Lady!”. While I did carry him around for a while in the bin (Don’t look at me like that. He wasn’t running around the store trying to push other peoples carts while he was in the bin. He couldn’t see “Dora the Explorer” colouring books while he was in the bin, he couldn’t try on high heel shoes while he was in the bin. The bin is not all bad.) I managed to convince him that the yelling surprise part was pretty immature and maybe (just maybe) a little “too surprising”. His compliance cost me a pack of sugarless gum.
-Feeling a little twitchy, but having returned to the “Shitemobile” with my nephew, my bin and my sanity, we headed for home. Sadly, I had forgotten that all car trips with a four year old must take routes which avoid these attractions: McDonalds, Dairy Queen, Baskin Robbins and Pet Stores, as four year olds cannot willingly pass these locales without attempting to make you stop the car. Volume and kicking the seat are the weapons of choice.
-Luckily for me, after screwing up by passing not one, but TWO of the taboo locations above, I managed to remember that the antidote is a Fire Station, and changed direction enough to go by one.
-Back in the car after a snack (Yeah…I screwed up there too. I forgot to dry the raw green beans. I must have been out of my mind) we left to go to the airport. In an attempt to distract Hank from the tedium of an hour in the car I brought Sam with me to entertain the troops. Sam taught Hank how to play “eye spy”, ” ‘A’ my name is Annie”, “Going on a bear hunt” and other all time hits. The high point of the car ride however…the all time high point, the point at which I remembered everything about being the mother of a four year old and was sincerely, truly glad that I have done my time, was when Sam taught Hank how to play “Simon Says”, and Hank said to me ( as I wind my way through the insane maze that is the Pearson Internation Airport with an exhausted car bound four year old who has wet green beans, misses his mother and has run out of gum)
Auntie Stephie….Simon Says, *drive like an apple*
You know the rest.

27 thoughts on “The speed of four

  1. I recently watched my 3 yr old nephew for an entire day (what was I thinking???) and I can relate to your experience with Hank.
    Very funny!

  2. Oh boy! I can’t wait till my little guy is four!! Oh, maybe I can… Right now I am the mother of an 11-month-old who must, and I mean must as in his life depends on it, be standing and cruising the furniture, cats or me during every waking moment of the day. I of course think he is rather clever. The cats on the other hand? Not so much.
    The Cherry Aran looks great. Very manly. About the button band? At least you realized the error at the cast off edge. I would have thought “that doesn’t look right…” then continued on with the other side and tried to block it into place. You’re a good few steps ahead of me!

  3. Last Christmas I was poor. I could not afford fancy presents, so instead, I offered to babysit my two nieces for a whole weekend, so my stepbrother and his wife could have some time away. I gamely drove up to their house in February with my girls in tow. My charges: 2 year old Kendall, 4 year old Kiley, 6 year old Karin and 8 year old Kaelyn. Yeah, just try saying their names 3 times fast. Or choosing the right name when one of them needs yelling at. By the end of the weekend I was tearing my hair out and thanking my lucky stars that I control my own reproductive destiny.

  4. I have a friend who is in her mid-20’s who likes to show us how she can “run like an egg” (it’s really very entertaining). Perhaps she and Hank should be friends.

  5. Sam is a saint. Sam, whatever you want, ask her now. We’re witnesses. She can’t, in justice, say no to you. (This doesn’t mean, I warn you, that your mom has to say yes. We’re mothers, and fair is not our highest good. Peace trumps justice every time. Still, for the moment you’re standing in a place of considerable power.)

  6. You mean you aren’t going to tell us if you won the game or not? Simon Sez is a cutthroat competition in some circles… You should have said “Hey, Hank, Simon Sez knit a cherry aran.”
    (and am I the only one thinking the whole “drive like an apple” might be proof that Hank is in fact related to our dear Harlot?)

  7. So that’s what I have to look forward to? The first part sounds a bit like why I have few FO’s to show off. For an hour I tried to spin. I would have too, except for the cries of “You not spin Mommy. You play ball with me. Up off the chair Mommy. UP OFF THE CHAIR!!!” Eventually the one with the loudest voice won. Not me.
    Yup, 4 sounds like 2. At least I can drive by the DQ and Mc Donald’s without a second glance. For now.

  8. Yeah, not bad for “nothing to report”.
    Now, no, I don’t know what came next. I don’t know “Simon sez”. What happened next?

  9. Yeah – for all us poor misfits who were left out of Simon Sez back in our playground days… what happens next?!?

  10. It could have been worse. You could have been forced to sit through the hours it takes to get through the A-Z license plate game. Ugh!

  11. It could have been worse. You could have been forced to sit through the hours it takes to get through the A-Z license plate game. Ugh!

  12. My 2.5 has recently taken to “leaping like a diesel engine”. We have a lot of Thomas videos, but I think I missed that one.

  13. Ahhh, 4-year olds! I’m currently wiping tears of laughter off my face and contemplating re-reading your post . . . thank you!

  14. Hank’s arguments against knitting make a lot of sense to me, but I have to suggest that “Hank” isn’t a very good name for a guy who wants nothing to do with yarn.
    >I decided to pick up the number of stitches listed in the pattern
    Oh, the irony. I know you’ll make it work out beautifully in the end, though.

  15. At least you weren’t driving a minivan from Alaska to NY with 5 kids (then ages 9 mos to 12 yrs), 2 cats, and a black lab while pulling a trailer and looking forward to trading places with your husband and driving the un-air-conditioned pickup truck for a few hours because it only had room for one kid (#6). We learned the value of books on tape (with cheap tape players and headphones for each kid), lots of AA batteries, paper and colored pencils (did you know crayons can melt in a hot car?!), and a backpack of “treasures” for each kid. My almost 4yo (#7) always has at least a small notepad and pencil and a toy or doll, and actually loves running errands. She also loves the “quiet game” taught to her in a moment of desperation by my oldest daughters (21 and 19). She loves to “win” by staying quiet longer than they can. 🙂

  16. Y’know, Hank sounds rather smart (and precocious) to me. My question, though: How does an apple drive?

  17. Ditto on the question, “how does an apple drive?” Too quickly, it becomes applesauce. Too slow in the sun, baked apple. Too bouncy, bruised apple.
    Am I putting too much thought into this?
    Damn. Now I’m hungry for apple cobbler…

  18. I wanted to say in response to Tish, but make sure you never, never give a small child scissors to go with their glue sticks and colored paper in the car, though. My then-4-year-old decided to suddenly give himself a nice haircut in the back seat. On the 10-hour drive to my brother’s wedding. Sixteen years later, the pictures are priceless!

  19. I think I know that kid! And don’t tell Sam, but my 12 year old is earning an MP3 player for helping me to take care of our “Hank” and his little sister for just a week this summer. MP3 players may be expensive – but it’s a small price to pay for her camp counsellor-style personality and energy. How do I get myself into these situations?

Comments are closed.