I have spent some time thinking about what being four means to Kyle (now he's more than halfway through this fun year), and how it's changed from the time Amanda was four, so perhaps for the sake of posterity you'll indulge me a bit of Mommy pride?
Kyle is a quick learner, and his knowledge is growing by leaps and bounds. At Christmas, Terry's grandmother gave him an easy-reader book, and later said, "I thought you would have taught him to read by now" (This wasn't a judgmental statement, but more of one of appreciation for his skills and mine). I told her that he actually did know a lot of sight words and surprised me with filling in words in context. When we sat down with the book she bought him Little Bear (An I Can Read Book), he did quite well. I love those "I Can Read" books, because they teach in a whole-language way (I like phonics, too, of course). Even if he didn't know the word "snow," by the time he finished the short story where it was mentioned a few times, it was familiar to him.
The other day he was playing at the computer (it's a constant battle for computer time around here now), and Google was pulled up, with "thomas" typed in the search box. "Did you do that," I asked, "all by yourself?" He did indeed. Not only did he type in "thomas," but he understands what Googling is and how to do it. I remember being amazed when Amanda did that a year or so ago. I don't know how we are going to keep up with kids and technology. I guess we just have to hang on for the ride.
I've finally been consistent with giving the children regular chores (and expecting them to do them). One of Kyle's is feeding and watering the dog. He was able to get to the food bin, but the water was an issue, so I keep a water bottle in the fridge that he can use to fill her bowl. He emptied it, and tossed it in the recycling bin, "I recycled it, Mom!" he said. So many things blow me away about that. I love his responsibility to throw it away (he's also a self-starter about clearing the table after he has a snack or a meal). And of course the fact that he knows that a plastic bottle goes into the recycling bin and not the garbage (in reality, we refill it, but that's okay. I fished it out, and put it back in the fridge). Again -- let's just try to keep up with these kids as far as environmental responsibility.
How are the realities of your kids' lives vastly different from when you were a kid, or even different from your older children at the same age?