My Four Year Old is Popular.
As the title of today’s blog states, my four-year-old son is popular. I was never one of the popular kids in school, so I have no idea how to handle this.
Now I get that being popular is different when you’re four as opposed to when you’re a teenager, but this kid isn’t just popular with his classmates. His teachers and babysitters adore him. They’re excited to see him and remember little things I say about his daily life. I have no idea how to handle this.
A couple of recent examples really illustrated his growing popularity and hammered home that I’m the dad of a popular kid:
A few weeks ago he had the flu and was out of preschool for most of that week. He managed to get well enough on that Friday to “perform” in his preschool’s annual Winter Wonderland concert (as much as any four-year-old performs anything). The school day only consisted of the concert and some refreshments afterward. We were enjoying some snacks together when his teacher came over to say how happy she was to see him feeling all better. No big deal, right? But then the teaching assistants came over. And the school’s speech therapist. And the speech therapist’s assistants. They were all glowing as they spoke of him, what a star he was in school, how they loved working with him, and how they all missed him in school that week. I was over-the-moon with happiness for my son, but another part of me was bewildered. I don’t know how to handle school popularity.
This past weekend we needed a babysitter. The young ladies who work as babysitters at my local gym also offer private babysitting, so we reached out to them. The ones who were unavailable were upset that they couldn’t babysit our son. More upset than I was anticipating. They said things like, “Aw, I’m busy that weekend but I would love to babysit your son sometime! Call me next time, okay?” and “I really wanted to babysit him! We would have had so much fun!” Once again, I was over-the-moon with happiness that my son is such a likeable little guy, but another part of me was bewildered.
It’s cute now because he’s four, but if this popularity endures as he gets older I will be completely out of my element. Maybe not completely. I’ll teach him to be a compassionate young man who looks out for others and does his best to be kind, regardless of his youth social status. If his popularity endures, I’ll tell him to use his popularity to lift others up as opposed to bring them down.
And if I need advice I can always ask my younger brother, who was elected Homecoming King of our high school his senior year. He knows how to handle this popular kid stuff, not me.