Time for an Object Lesson, Part 1
George and Darcy are playing with the hobby-horses in the kitchen. Harry, attracted to the game, blunders in and hauls at the horse in George's hands. George tightens his grip and a tussle ensues, both boys bellowing their outrage. Only one party's outrage is at all justified, of course, but that's never stopped a toddler. I intervene, speaking at first, then forcibly pulling Harry's hands off the toy when I am ignored. "Harry. You cannot just walk in and take someone's toy away." "I like it." Sincerity blazes from Harry's eyes. We've been down this road too many times, Harry and I. I am completely out of patience with this particular self-justification. I'm not sure whether the boy is just dense, and genuinely doesn't "get it", or whether his inability to abide by this simple standard is wilfull. At this point, it doesn't really matter. It is clear that my calm and rational explanations and redirections have been ineffective. It is time for a little hardball. "That's a nice sweater you're wearing, Harry." It is a nice sweater - a cardigan, really. Hand made, I'd guess, in a complicated nordic pattern, its wide collar cradles his chin in bright colours, the whole thing warm, soft and appealing. "Did someone make it for you?" "My granny made it." "It's very nice. I like it. I bet it's warm, too." "Yes, it is warm." "It's a lovely sweater," I say, as I start to unbutton it. "I really, really like it."