Slow Burn

C was (and is) a fighter. If he wants something (or doesn’t want to do something), he’ll go right up against you and not back down. I’ve seen him match grownups (myself included) shout for shout. Once defeated, however, he moves on to the next thing.

With his little brother, well… things are different.

The other day we were finishing up with playing as dinner time approached. As with all kids all around the world, they have to put their toys away when they’re done with them. Sometimes this is a battle, sometimes it isn’t.

In this case, N really wants to keep playing with his playdoh. After a little talk, he eventually acquieces. Yes, he knows it’s dinner time. Yes, he understands that we don’t want the dogs to eat the playdoh. Yes, he’ll put it away (sniff, sniff).

The rest of the evening passes fairly uneventfully. There are a few dark looks, but nothing serious. I chalk it up to him being two. When pajama time arrives, however, he completely breaks down. He’s perfected his breakdowns, by the way. They’ve become a lot more sophisticated than when he started. It’s a very effective combination of tears, limpness, and pitiful howling.

Usually, I have some inkling as to the reason for the crying, but this time I am completely unprepared. I have no idea where the tears are coming from. So, I go through the checklist. Did you hurt yourself? Did your brother hurt you? Did the dogs hurt you? Is your tummy okay? Do you have to go potty?

“No, no, no!” He snuffles. “I don’t want to put the playdoh away!”

Um, what?

“I don’t want to put the playdoh away!”

I actually look around the corner to make sure that it is, in fact, put away. I then return to the crying tot. “It’s already put away” I say, puzzled.

“I know!” He wails. “I don’t want to put it away!”

I spend the next 20 minutes consoling him out of his little paradox of pain.

I figured out the timing on this and made a note for the future. It was about three hours from the playdoh to the breakdown.

Man, that’s a slow burn.

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