Sunday, March 9, 2014

Child Inconsolable


What follows is one of the most bizarre, dare I say Kafkaesque, interactions that I've ever had with a child of mine:

Russell (pictured above) has a thing for pacifiers. Well, that's putting it lightly; he's more of a connoisseur. He has about two dozen in his arsenal. Lately he has taken quite a liking to his "football D" ("D" being his preferred nomenclature for a pacifier). Lately, even if it is sitting in his lap, he will still wail for his football D.

Yesterday, though . . . I just don't know how to categorize it. He was throwing a fit for the football D. It had not been seen for hours, and I was fearing the worst. I needed the screaming to stop, so I really started to get creative about where it might be. I put myself into the mind of a two-year-old, and it hit me: maybe he dropped it on the floor and kicked it under the couch.

That's exactly where it was. I retrieved it with embarrassing exuberance and presented him with the find.

This only seemed to inflame his rage. He began to scream, "no find football D, no find football D!" I tried to explain the situation to him—that this was what he wanted, and I was now giving it to him. It was no help.

After pleading all that I could, I just left the D sitting on the coffee table.

After a few moments Russell picked up the D, got down on his knees, and threw it back under the couch.

He then proceeded to try to retrieve it. But he had thrown it too far, and so was struggling mightily to grasp it. Not really believing or understanding what was going on, I did the only thing that made sense, and lifted up the couch so he could scurry under and fetch the D. As you might imagine, he was quite happy after that.

I don't know what kind of cat and mouse, labyrinthine interplay of logic and parent/child politics was playing out in his mind, but upon reflection I cannot help but be impressed, awed, and maybe even feel slightly threatened.

Russell 1, dad zero.

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