The other night, dinner was late as usual. Diesel and I are often done eating long before Choo-choo is. We–well, I–then sit at the table with him, waiting and waiting. We decided on this previous night to start putting Choo-choo’s toys away in the next room while he finished his meal as it was already past his bedtime.
He dropped his fork, shouting excitedly, “Me help, too!” I helped him wash up, then we returned to the living room. Choo-choo and I sang the clean up song as we put his toys in each box and container scattered on the floor.
All that remained were the disaster of puzzle pieces, not one of which near any other to which it belonged. I wasn’t even sure how many had been lost by this point in the day. I convinced him we would just sort them the next morning. “Sort them later,” Choo-choo repeated with a grin.
Once done, we high-fived and I congratulated him on a job well done. He gave me a hug, which I eagerly returned. I stood, walking toward the dining room to put his food away.
“Me eat now!” came the scream which followed me out of the room.
I stopped in my tracks and turned back to Choo-choo. “You said you were done. We already washed your hands and face.”
“Me eat now! Me eat now!” Crocodile-size tears poured out of his eyes.
I felt that familiar rage building again. Then I laughed. I couldn’t help it. My choices were either laugh or cry, and I chose to laugh. And, you know, walk away before I screamed.