The importance of toast for dipping and a regrettable lack of fireflies…

My son is quite smart, don’t just take my word for it, others who know him say he is too. He has just turned 2½ and has a huge vocabulary, has spoken in simple sentences since he was 18 months, complete sentences since he was 2. He can count to 15 and can recognise all of them in written form, can recognise about half of the alphabet in written form, knows all the basic shapes such as circle, square, triangle, star, etc but is also au fait with rectangles, pentagons, hexagons, crescents and trapezoids and has been for several months. He has figured out how to open our back door, even though he can’t reach the handle, and how to open the gate on our driveway (gulp). He is fascinated by the fact that caterpillars make cocoons so they can turn into butterflies and insists on going out every morning to say hello and check on the progress of the 3 chrysalis (kwisalis) on our fence. He is very polite, always saying please and thank you and if you thank him he will tell you you’re welcome. He also has great empathy and can often be seen comforting his baby sister with a rub on the back and a solicitous “you ok baby girl?” even though it was usually him who pushed her down/poked her with a stick/took her toys/stood on her/or any number of those horrible things older brothers do to their baby sisters. He understands the consequences of drawing on the wall (cross mummy = unhappy boy) yet does it anyway. Anyone who has met him usually comments on what a character he is – he is a funny little guy, times even deliberately and even his doctor thinks he is hilarious even though I can’t recall a time when has spoken more than 3 words to her. Maybe it is because he delivered those three words with his hands clamped firmly over his eyes so he was invisible?

All bragging aside (yes I will stop now) it doesn’t really matter how quickly he learns that the number on Lightening McQueen’s side is 95 not 59 or that leaving the plug in the sink while he plays waterfalls will flood the bathroom, he is still a 2½ year old with all of a 2½ year old’s views on the way the world should be. Any deviation from that idyllic view will inevitably lead to a melt down of some sort.

Some of these melt downs are predictable – like the small ones that happen if I forget to take the “snakes” (stringy things) off his banana before I give it to him, or the significantly larger ones that happen when I explain to him the Team Umi Zoomi will not be coming back on the television because Millie, Geo and Bot do not like little boys who try to sellotape the cat to the wall – so I guess I should have seen it coming when I presented lunch without the toast yesterday. It was cold and I was tired and the kids were hungry and so whether it was these or the fact that old circuits mean that I can’t run the microwave and the toaster at the same time without both quitting, that caused me to make the, obviously wrong, decision to skip the toast and just serve baked beans and poached eggs for the midday meal. Now this is usually a hit with both of the kids but as I put it on the high chair tray in front of Master A his face clouded. I asked him “whats wrong?” and he looked at me with great confusion showing on his face and asked “where’s the toast Mummy?”. Putting on a cheery voice I replied “You don’t need toast do you? What do you want toast for?”, at this his shoulders rounded, his head stretched forward and shaking his head side to side and looking at me as though I was the biggest moron on the planet he replied “dip, dip, dip!”. I tried to convince him that it would taste just as good as it was, that the bread was ALL the way down in the kitchen and that I wasn’t having any but he wouldn’t accept any of it. The wailing began… “Neeeeed toast to dip”, “Oh Tooooaaaaast”, “it’s Dangerous!” (anything he doesn’t like is dangerous). At the point where he crossed his arms like little vices across his chest, snaked one hand out, crooked his finger and with as much venom in his voice as he could muster growled at me “you HOOK” I gave up. I made toast.

“Hook” is currently the biggest insult my little man can lay on you and he reserves it for when he thinks you are being particularly badly behaved. Captain Hook is the epitome of naughtiness in my sons opinion and to be likened to him shows just how really terrible you are!

Luckily the freshly made toast did the trick and lunch was happily being devoured allowing me approximately 10 minutes respite. Then the next melt down started. This one caught me totally off guard however, as we were presented with a problem we had not yet encountered. In an effort to placate my little terror and ease lunch into a more peaceful affair I had consented to allow the Disney Jr channel to play as we ate. Special Agent Oso was delighting the children by teaching us how to catch fireflies. Upon finishing his meal Master A declared that we should go outside to catch fireflies too.

Sigh

I now had to very gently explain to him that we don’t have fireflies here (no point in using the excuse that they only come out at night and not in the torrential downpour that we were experiencing – he has a good memory and would only keep bringing it up until conditions were right), that they are only in other countries and so we can’t go and catch any. The grief was terrible. How do you deal with tears over absentee bugs? Lots of cuddles later the drama was over but it got me thinking… I believe I am going to have my hands full with this one when he gets to school. The girls are going to love him! He is pretty cute, with thick hair and ridiculously long lashes framing green eyes. He knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to get it, is funny, caring and is capable of showing great sensitivity. A ladies-man in the making I think. Oh Dear.

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