Four has already been so different than three in many ways. There has been physical growth and emotional maturation as well. And there has also been this push from society to thrust him into adulthood now that he is four.
"He just turned 4."
"Oh, time for school! Is he ready for Kindergarten?"
I watched my child shyly follow around a six year old girl on a playground as a camp counselor asked me this. Too shy to ask her name, he pretended to fall down instead in hopes she would help him up. (She did.) As he ran around the playground with a new friend and no agenda to adhere to, no schedule to follow, no rules to worry about breaking, I failed to see how the answer wasn't so completely obvious. No, he wasn't ready for Kindergarten. He's a child. He's four years old.
I remind Ethan of this when he expresses his concerns about growing up and getting taller. "Mommy, am I still a kid? Am I still a kid even if I'm taller?"
This is when I tell him that his childhood is just beginning and that I'll never let anyone take it away from him. This is when the heat stops bothering me and I let these hot, sticky afternoons be just what they are: freedom, magic. Childhood.