When it was time to leave, I gave Tod-lar his standard 2-minute warning. “You have two minutes to play. Then we’re leaving. What fun thing are you going to do for two minutes?”
“Great idea!” I then began gathering our things and loading them into In-fant’s stroller. Tod-lar went down the slide several times. Once everything was packed up, I called out to him.
“Okay! It’s time to go!”
“No. I have two minutes,” he said shaking his head.
Usually, when I tell him it's time to go after the two minutes, he just leaves. This was the first time he’d ever responded this way. I was momentarily stunned.
“We’re going home. It’s time for dinner,” I said.
“No eat dinner home. Eat dinner pahk.”
I’d heard about this from other people. In fact, one woman I know who considers her son a genius is always talking about what a master negotiator he is. In fact, he’s so good at it, she couldn't possibly have another child since his superior negotiation skills at age two required so much attention (he’s now four). Frankly, I’m not interested in Tod-lar being that smart. Hell, there are times when I wish he’d regress to the age when distraction still worked. With all this talking, no wonder I’m so thirsty for a glass of merlot at night (that’s right – I drink merlot).
So, there we were – staring each other down. The log siding wood chips started to kick-up around us. The sun’s reflection off the slide forced me to close my left eye. Tod-lar squinted back at me, still as a rock. My teeth clenched down on my coffee’s straw. Tod-lar wiped the sweat from his upper lip. My hands hovered above the stroller’s handle, ready to move on a second’s notice. All the while, my mind raced. Was this good, bad, or just plain ugly?
After a moment, I decided it was time to bring out my .44 magnum. It’s a weapon that always sends the if-you-don’t-do-what-I-ask-then-I-will-do-it-for-you message.
“One . . . two . . . three . . .”
He had until “five,” but he surrendered early. Tod-lar came toward me whimpering, hand extended. I grabbed it. He quieted, and we calmly walked to car.
Now he knows. In these scenes, I ALWAYS get to play Clint Eastwood.