12 January 2007

Into the four-year-old psyche

Yes, as a matter of fact, I am going nuts with posts today. I have had a couple of these marinating in my brain for a few days and never really sat down to post.

This one will probably be as scary as the title suggests. ;o) I always love watching funny, little brains doing their things, but a couple of Bug examples have stuck out recently. The first is a funny, where-the-heck-did-that-come-from thing.

Bug has been carrying around the stuffed mammoth and elephant for the last couple of days. The mammoth is "Momma Elephant" and the elephant is "Baby Elephant." A few days back we had the following conversation:

Bug: What are those (pointing to white things on the mammoth)?
Me: Those are "tusks"
Bug: What do tusks do?
Me: Well, elephants can use their tusks to carry heavy things or maybe to defend themselves.
Bug: Oh... (thinking about it)

Bug: Well, Baby Elephant has tiny tusks. That's where he hangs his water bottle.
Me: Oh really??
Not a clue where it came from or what it means. I just go with the flow...

The second example is how Bug processed something scary. Kitty Daddy rented "Snakes on a Plane" last Friday (yeah, nothing but high culture in this house...). He started watching it when the kids and I were still in the living room. The pre-plane part wasn't too bad; a little gore, but off screen and the kids really weren't paying that much attention anyway. However, once all the plot elements were in place (i.e., snakes and planes) the movie got gross and scary pretty fast and the kids started noticing it more. It didn't take long to figure out that Bug was getting a little freaked, so we shut it off. I took the kids upstairs and we settled into bed and finally fell asleep. We have three stuffed snakes that had happened to be out with the "active toys" at the time.

The next day, he was playing with the snakes and stopped periodically to explain to Daddy and I that these weren't "scary snakes," they were "happy snakes." After a couple of days of that, he started making some of the snakes do more "scary" things and ask me to spray him with "snake spray." After I made a "fsssst" noise, the snake would leave him alone. Eventually, two or all three snake would be scary at the same time and we would take care of them with the "snake spray." Finally, after a couple of days of "scary snakes" he just lost interest in the snakes all together (incidentally, that is when he started in with the elephants). While we did do some talking about movies being pretend, etc., etc., it was really interesting seeing how he worked through the scary experience on his own.


Grandma K said...

Use of Baby Elephant's tusks: LOL!! Maybe since Momma Elephant does all the heavy carrying and defending (Baby is too little to do these adult-type jobs)...you wouldn't want Baby's tusks to just sit there unused, would you?

It's great that Bug could figure out on his own how to make his own snakes "behave" when they did scary things.

Ms. Knitingale said...

I used to teach and later direct preschool and I agree about how those little minds work. That snake spray thing--that's awesome. What a bright little guy! And yeah....where else would a baby elephant carry his water bottle? Love the stories!