Four-Year Olds

Four year olds are fun.  Although I worked in schools with programs for four-year olds, I forgot what incredible human beings they are.  All of the pleasure of watching and interacting with these special people came back in one glorious evening.

One morning on my constitutional, I met a distant cousin who invited me to the up-coming birthday party of his seven-year old grand-daughter.  Having nothing better to do on a Monday evening, I agreed to attend.  I figured that if the noise or actions of the party goers became too great, I would make my apologies and leave early.

To my great surprise and delight, the only children at the birthday party were the seven-year old, her four-year old brother and her eight month old sister.  The other guests were two sets of grandparents, the mother of the children (dad was away on a business trip) a great-uncle and aunt and me.  The birthday girl answered the door in a puffy party dress, long, curly blond hair and an excited smile.  Behind her, grand-father held out to me a sparking glass of pro-sacco.  The party was off to a great start.

The next inviting sign was the dining room table.  It had a flower center piece, good china dishes, wine glasses and grown-up name tags.  The beginnings of a hot buffet was set-up on the breakfast bar in the kitchen. I swallowed my excuse for leaving early.

While greeting and small-talking with the adults gathered around the kitchen table admiring the huge birthday cake that was being lifted from the box,  I noted through the bow-window the four-year old brother running through the yard brandishing a huge plastic water gun, minus the water.  A few minutes later, the back door-bell rang.  When grand-father answered the door, the barrel of the water gun in the hands of the four-year old, came partly through the door.  “No guns in the house,”barked grand-father, as he attempted to close the door. 

But, not before the following words flew across the kitchen, “Surrender the cake!”

The adult reactions in those few seconds were varied.  Grand-father closed the door saying with  an embarrassed smile, “Little terrorist!  Both grand-mothers just shook their heads.  The second grand-father took a sip of his pro-sacco.  I laughed out-loud. 

“That is the best line I’ve heard in ages!” I proclaimed.  Inside my head all kinds of thoughts jumbled together.  This kid was smart, self-confident, and had a sense of humor. 

As the evening wore on, although all of the adults had more than one degree, many spoke several languages, all were financial comfortable and good conversationalist, I was glad that the future belonged to the four-year old.  May the rest of us provide him with the love and stability to nurture his wonderful four-year old gifts.

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