Saturday, November 06, 2004

The Toddler Rhumba

I heard screeching the other day. When I went to check it out, the 5-year-old and the 3-year-old were close to each other in the playroom. Too close. You would think we had a tiny amount of floorspace, what with how close these two have to be all the time. But it doesn't matter the square footage of the house. They are always within reaching distance. "Mama, he's hitting me," the 5-year-old wailed. Now of course we have trained the 5-year-old not to hit the 3-year-old because a) he's older, b) it's wrong, and c) we don't want him to. However the 3-year-old is not so easily reasoned with. He must be distracted, or sometimes just carried into another room for a "cooling off" period. So I had to intervene. I said to the 3-year-old, "Were you hitting?" "No," the 3-year-old said defiantly. I was DANCING." Egads. I didn't know he had a dance routine. Well I waited a few moments, and sure enough, it started up again. The 3-year-old began a vigorous whirling dance, arms straight out like propeller blades, with fists at the end of them. He was just inches from his brother so with each dancing whirl, the 5-year-old got whacked. "That's it!" I said. "Stop the dancing." The 3-year-old looked at me but continued whirling. "I can't," he said. "I have to dance." I removed the 5-year-old from the dance arena. "Do you have to sit right here where he's dancing?" I asked him. "This is where I want to play cars," he said. I marked off areas of the playroom. Once side was a parking lot. The other side was a dance hall. They were not to cross over into the other territory. I said if there was any more hitting there would be Consequences. Sometimes they play together well. Sometimes not. Maybe someday soon I'll be seeing some line dancing.

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