My youngest son, who is two, has very strong ideas about the way things should be and when they don't go exactly the way they are supposed to go in his orderly little universe, his train derails and the whole world comes crashing in.
Once when I passed one of the roads we turn down to get to our house he started screaming, "WRONG WAY! WRONG WAY! WRONG WAY!"
I said, "Tristan, I just want to go look at something real quick and then we'll go home."
"ME GO HOME NOW!"
"Look, it's right here... this is where the fishing derby will be. I wanted to see how the new pond is coming along. See it there? With the big tractors?" Divert, divert, divert!
"Uh huh..." He sounded calmer. My brilliant plan was working. I am a master Toddler Whisperer. I could have my own TV show! I can rule the world!
"Okay, we'll go home now..." I drove on to take the next road that would loop around to take us to our house. No sense in backtracking, right?
"WRONG WAY! WRONG WAY! WRONG WAY!"
"Tristan, we're going to the house right now. We can go to the house this way."
He starts pointing back to the road we passed that we have always taken pretty much every day for his entire life. "DAT WAY! ME GO HOME NOW! WRONG WAY WRONG WAY!"
He screamed the entire way home and when we pulled into the driveway he started crying because he realized I wasn't going back to the other road to drive home the "correct" way.
So, this morning when I was standing in the driveway buckling him into his carseat and he said, "Daddy not in car" I was certain we were headed for another episode.
"You're riding with me today. Daddy's going in his car."
"ME SEE DADDY!!!! WHERE DADDY GOING?????"
I sighed. "Daddy's going to work."
"Daddy has to go to work and make some money. If we don't work then we don't get money and we can't buy food and toys." This is bound to bring him around to his senses. The sheer logic of it was stunning. How could he not immediately improve his attitude if he just thinks it through? (By now it should be obvious why I'm parent of the year.)
"Daddy get money buy toys?!"
He's brilliant like his mother. We're connecting. He completely understands me! "Yes, so Daddy must go to work."
"Daddy get money! Buy me toys?"
Doubt sets in. "Um, well, yeah, that's overly simplistic, but kind of, yeah." I shut the door hoping that would end the conversation. I walked around to my side, opened the door.
Tristan yelled from the back, "We need buy more stuff!"
Julius pipes up. "YEAH! Let's go to Wal-Mart and look for toys!"
I growl under my breath, "Don't get him started!"
From the back, "Toys, Wahmaht, buy toys!"
I looked over at Julius, irritated. He shrugged and muttered an apology.
We pulled out of the driveway and did our best to change the subject. Periodically when it sounded like we said something remotely related to Daddy working, toys or making money Tristan would yell, "WE NEED BUY MORE STUFF!"
Sometimes randomly when we weren't talking about anything at all we'd hear him remark, "We need buy more STUFF!"
In a ten minute drive to daycare he suggested buying more stuff at least twelve times. I dread when he starts getting an allowance.
[For those who are environmentally inclined, you might want to check out The Story of Stuff.]