There’s nothing worse than crumbs in the bed. Well, actually, there are a whole lot of things that are way worse than crumbs in the bed; gangrene comes to mind, or the smell of vitamins…yeek, both way worse… but, I digress. “No crumbs in my bed!” has actually become a recurring mantra in my house, which I guess is why I have lately been finding Cheerios in between my sheets and under my pillows. See, what I fail to remember on pretty much a daily basis, is that 4 year olds take what you say very literally. Their minds have not yet been graced with the ability to infer things in the same way that we adults would sometimes like them to. So, when I say “no crumbs in the bed,” the mind of a 4 year old says, “Well, it’s a good thing Cheerios don’t leave crumbs!” I’m not kidding. When asked about the “no crumbs” rule, upon finding a nice little mound of Cheerios on my bed, my kid’s response was, “They’re not crumbs, they’re Cheerios.” Hmmmm…she was right though, wasn’t she?
It’s true, 4 year olds don’t think the way adults do. They can’t read more or less into what we say, or don’t say, and they can’t always make the assumptions that we would make. And sometimes, it’s frustrating as hell! But, at the same time, THANK GOD kids don’t think the way we do. Yes, they do take everything we say literally. This means that when I tell my 4 year old that I love her and her sister more than anything else in this world, she believes that. She doesn’t question it. She doesn’t doubt it. It’s true because I said it’s true and right now, at the age of 4, that’s all the proof she needs. When I tell her that she looks beautiful when she has just dressed herself, in her purple tutu and the black and yellow bee tights that she wore for Halloween two years ago, she believes me and says, “Thanks!” because if I’m saying it, then it must be true, because I am her mom, and, duh, I know everything!
I was a kid once, much to her surprise. More importantly, I was a teenager once. So I know that this won’t last forever. I know that there will come a day, when no matter how often or how hard I try to tell her that she is beautiful, or that she is smart, or that she is absolutely perfect just the way she is, she won’t believe me. I know that the day will come when someone else’s opinions will be valued far more than mine and when my opinion will not only mean less, but will actually devalue things and rob them of their coolness. I also know that that will only be a phase and that eventually, a corner will be turned and I will regain my position as the all-knowing best friend and confidant. I know all this because I’ve done this before, I’m just playing a different role this time.
But today, she is 4. Today, she not only hears me when I tell her that I love her and that I am proud of her for being such an awesome kid, but she believes me. Today, she believes that as long as I say so, everything will be good in her world because I said so and today, it was. God, I want to be 4 again!
So, for now, when I see the Cheerios and, heaven forbid, the crumbs in my bed, it will remind me that she’s right, and she is listening and following the rules; Cheerios are not crumbs. And, crumbs in the bed are definitely not the worst thing in the world.