I've alluded this in previous posts, but Leo is having a bit of trouble with one particular boy at his school - whom I've called Mean Boy. He has tried "inoring" him (silent g in Leo's pronunciation). He has tried avoiding him. He has tried distracting him with strange diversions, like telling him jokes that couldn't possibly make sense, even to four-year-olds. (Mom, why did the cat cross the street? Because she was eating bananas, ha ha ha! Get it?)
But the most tender and kindest attempt at making Mean Boy have a change of heart about teasing and tormenting Leo is one that Leo devised all on his own. He decided to draw Mean Boy a card. And he did, and it was beautiful. He even included a "symbol salad" across the bottom (a sequence of random letters) in the hopes that he had written something. He was so proud, and so happy to deliver his card to Mean Boy. And while the long-term effect remains to be seen, it certainly appears that Leo's kind gesture was well-received. Again, I am humbled by the open, loving, and forgiving hearts of small children.
As I've mentioned before, Pax has almost no expressive language. (speech therapy starts Thursday - hooray!!) And so he relies heavily on his expressive gestures and facial expressions to communicate his wants and needs. Dinner prep at our house is a rather torturous time of day. Pax, in particular, whines and fusses and pulls at my pants and begs to be picked up and fed. I try hard to resist his pleas, though, because pre-dinner snacks - no matter how healthy -ruin his appetite.
He's also a picky eater, so I give him small portions of everything that I'm offering, never sure what - if any of it - will make it to his belly. Last night, I served him one quarter of a veggie burger on a bun. He took one big bite out of it before we'd even said grace, then handed the rest of it to me as soon as we finished praying. I figured he didn't like it, so I put it off to the side of my plate. I took one bite of my own burger, with its melty cheese, toasted bun, and the perfect amount of each condiment - but barely had time to chew that bite before Pax was pointing and grunting that he wanted something different. Puzzled, I showed him that he had all the same things on his plate that were on my plate. I offered him more potatoes, more macaroni, more salad. No, no, and no. He abandoned the pointing and started army-crawling across the table to me. He pointed right at the burger in my hand. I shrugged and handed it to him, thinking he'd give it right back once he saw it was the same.
In a made-for-a-McDonald's-commercial gesture, he made "big eyes" as he held the burger out far from his mouth, then brought it in close, then back out again, practically salivating like Pavlov's dogs. He took one big bite. Then another. Then another, until I was begging for him to give it back. He paused, looked me straight in the eye, then pointed to the small bit of leftovers he'd handed to me earlier in the meal with a look as if to say, "See? There's yours." He continued to eat and eat and eat, shooting furtive glances at me whenever he thought I was giving up my fight. Finally, he put down the last bit of the sandwich on his napkin. I reached over to retrieve it but his ketchup-covered fist got to it first. He protectively pushed his hand down on top of the bun and glared at me with a look that said "Don't you dare touch this burger!"
I told Jeff that tonight, we're switching places at the dinner table.