Lobsters – A Life Lesson For My 4 Year Old

lobster_lessonsI am learning that four year olds are inquisitive, and you can never quite predict what is going to come out of their mouths and when.  My 4 year old is in the normal phase of asking question after question on how things work, where things come from, and why things are they way they are. He is just trying to understand how his world works. To me, it gives me a fascinating insight to how his little brain works and to see the world from his eyes.

This week I was reminded of all that when I took the kids on routine trip to the grocery store. Without fail, when we walk near the fish counter, Joey must pay a visit to the big lobster tank to say hi to all the lobsters. He just loves to stare that them and watch them crawl around each other. Some days it is hard to pull him away, and this day was no exception. But soon I was able to drag him away so we could complete our shopping. Then he starts asking me questions about the lobsters’ eyes, and where their mouths are and what they eat. Since I am not really an expert on lobster anatomy and such, so I usually tell him my best guess and recommend that we look it up when we get home.

Then Joey asks, “Mommy, what do people DO with the lobsters?”

“Well honey, they take them home and cook and eat them,” hoping that would be the end of it.

“Cook and eat them? Why do they do that?” he asks.

“Because lobster is delicious,” I answer him, part of me wondering what the heck he thought they were for… decorations?

“Well how do people cook them, put them on a fire?” he then asks.

GULP… Oh boy. Now I know how lobsters are cooked, and really I never gave the way they meet their demise before they make it to my plate much of a thought. But how does throwing something into a super hot pot of water to boil alive sound to a 4 year old?  In my mind, I’m trying to find a way to gently tell him about the (torturous?) way lobsters come to their end and decide that the truth is probably the best way.

“They way lobsters are cooked is that they get put in a super hot pot of boiling water for a few minutes and when they turn bright red, they are done cooking and ready to eat.”

“Well mommy, when people try to eat them, won’t their claws pinch their mouths?”

“Um… no honey, after you cook a lobster, they are no longer alive so their claws no longer work,” I told him.

I look at him waiting for the next question… “Oh, okay,” he says. Then seemingly drops the conversation. That was enough for his 4 year old brain at that moment.

Oh boy. Lessons on life and death and where the things we eat really come from. All that can come up in one little conversation about lobsters.

The whole thing made me laugh a little an I knew that he would probably bring it back up again (he did). When I thought more about it, it made sense that usually the food we take home and eat (specifically meat or most seafood) is not alive and walking (or swimming) around. It has already been taken care of and packaged for us to take home to cook. So when he brought up the cooking of lobsters again later, we made comparisons to the chicken or beef that we eat that were once walking around on a farm before it made it to our store and to our table. And really for a 4 year old, we don’t need to go into much more detail on the in between for HOW they got there. It’s interesting to see his wheels turning while he processes how it all works.

So will he actually try lobster? Are you kidding me? This is my picky eater we are talking about. Though we told him how yummy we think lobster  is (not that we go on eating lobster all the time), he is not so convinced.

Next life lesson that has come up in the last 24 hours… How is the baby is going to come out of mommy’s belly? Since I did not quite know the appropriate 4 year old answer at the moment, I told him that we would talk about it later.  So I better figure it out before he asks again (and he will very soon).

All About the J-Man – 4 Years, 2 Months

IMG_0405It’s hard to believe that what was once a tiny little peanut, is now this huge (in comparison to his little bro) 4 year old, that is loaded with energy, has a fearless spirit, is always moving (always!) and is ready to make mischief and nearly every turn. He has a generous heart, friendly to just about everyone he meets, and is always aiming to make people laugh. So here is all about Joey at this age and stage.

He is 4 years old now, but it took him awhile to warm up to it. In weeks leading up to his birthday, he didn’t want to be 4 and insisted that he wanted to stay 3 forever. We kept trying to convince him how much better 4 is and how much more fun he will get to have because he’s bigger. Some days he embraces being older especially when he thinks it suits him… “I’m big enough to go on that giant scary ride for grown-ups Mommy, I’m 4 now!” And some days he likes to convince us he is still a baby, like when we ask him to clean up his toys or other little kid “chores” we ask him to do. But he is my little Peter Pan. Most the time, he doesn’t want to grow up.

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His tastes in toys and play things has changed from being obsessed with trains (Thomas) to loving a mix of Cars (from Disney), Jake & The Neverland Pirates/Peter Pan, the Avengers and all things comic book super heroes. Our days of play usually start with playing with cars on the train table, and evolves into sword fighting like Captain Hook and Peter Pan, then playing Captain America and Iron Man fighting the bad guys. Mix in a bit of wrestling with the little bro (who usually is the one who instigates it) and a few games on mommy’s iPhone and a bit of play outside with our pirate ship water table and that is our day. He likes to play constantly and play hard.

Joey is ever the jokester. He is always trying to make you laugh, whether it be from made up knock-knock jokes (of which he is obsessed), to purposely picking the wrong answer to a question because he thinks it is funny. Always trying to be silly. For some reason, I foresee him someday being the class clown, as I imagine  he does the same at school as he does at home. In a way is joker side is endearing, but I’m also afraid it will get him in trouble especially in school.

He is always wanting to be a good helper. He loves to help Daddy “fix things”, in fact, I think he is in need of his own tool belt. He wants to follow daddy to the garage or the basement or anywhere that Daddy has to go work on or fix things.  He loves to help mommy in the kitchen. He wants to learn to be a “good cooker” like mommy he tells us, while he stands on a chair in his apron helping with simple tasks like mixing and spreading. I think I am going to like this more and more as he gets older and more helpful.  Too bad he doesn’t like being such a good helper when it comes time to picking up his toys.

More Quick Joey Facts:

  • Likes: Imaginative play, pirates, cars, trains, sword fighting, super heroes, Disney Jr., swimming, playing in or with water, fixing things, books, sweets, cooking/baking, saying his prayers with Mommy at bedtime
  • Dislikes: Naps, sitting still, getting his picture taken, seeing others hurt, upset or crying, cleaning up toys, most any vegetables but broccoli, trying anything new to eat, going to his room when in trouble
  • Fears: Pretty fearless except for bugs and certain sounds like vacuums, hair dryers and hand dryers
  • Reads: Not quite yet, but he is great at sounding out letters and just starting to put the sounds together. Loves books but still prefers us to read to him than working on learning to read himself.
  • Words to describe him: Caring, loving, helpful, friendly, outgoing, spirited, stubborn, hyper, talkative

Well That Was a Waste of Time

This week I have spent on a wild goose chase trying to sign my 3 year old up for preschool through the public schools system here. Different process from the preschool we had him in last year, and in the end, it was all for nothing.

Long story short, we found out last winter that Joey’s school was closing. It was a private Catholic school the diocese decided to close down and they would not change their mind. So we had some decisions to make. The people and administrators from his “old” school had decided to open up a new school at a different location. It was essentially the same school with most of the same policies and administrators. Just a new building and no longer  associate with the Catholic church (no big deal to us).

So we had some choices. Put him in this “new” private preschool OR, put him in the public preschools which are “Free”. (Who am I kidding, we pay for this “free” preschool with our enormous property tax bill) See, we live in an Abbott District because we are in sort of an “economically depressed” are, so that makes preschools free to residents in our district. So my husband wanted to check this out because if we didn’t have to pay for private school, it would be nice to save that money.  Problem is, it is a total pain in the ass to register as I have found out. You can’t just pick a preschool that you want and sign up for it. You have to register through the school district, and then THEY get to pick the preschool based on factors of diversity, geographic location, etc.

In order to get my son registered, I had to pick up a packet in person, make an appointment to register, and have ALL forms ready and complete at that registration appointment. One of the important forms that HAD to be filled out was the medical ones filled out by the pediatrician. Unfortunately for us, my pediatrician is awful popular and booked up for well-child visits 3 months in advance. So I wasn’t able to get his doctor appointment until this week. Also unfortunately for us, the school district had already chosen and distributed the students to schools at the beginning of this month. So perhaps you see where this was going?

After numerous visits to that darn school registration office (the pediatrician didn’t fill everything out right), and a registration appointment where I spent 45 minutes waiting in the lobby with my hyper 3 year old before they called me back, only to be told that all schools are full except for the ONE school I DID NOT want him at. It was just a perfect storm of disaster. Did I mention that Joey decided to take a giant crap in his pull-up 10 minutes after we got there? Yeah, it was awesome.

So now we’ve decided that my son is going to his “old” school in the new location. I’m just hate that I wasted so much time with that stupid crap only to go back to his “old” school that I wanted him at anyways.