Yesterday Ethan had a typical 3-year-old day: went to the park, threw a few tantrums, resisted going to bed. I'm very fortunate that he's not usually a typical 3-year-old. I don't know many other kids his age who don't regularly throw fits, or incorporate hip thrusts in their dancing, or refer to their mother as "Hey, little lady."
Maybe because I'm so unpracticed handling an obstreperous child, but for some reason Ethan thought that if he could convince me that he was "happy now," he could come off timeout and get whatever it was that he wanted.
When Noah came home, we had to run to the grocery store. Just before we left I discovered an inordinate amount of highly under-ripe tomatoes that Ethan had picked after being told he absolutely is not allowed to pick tomatoes that aren't red yet. He was told that he would not be getting a "plise" ("surprise," e.g. pack of gum or piece of candy) at the grocery store since he had been naughty. Katie, bar the door. He went crazy. Folks, the screaming. It was unreal.
I sat in the car with him as he, as they say in France, lost his $4*t. After a few minutes, his little quivery voice said gently from the backseat, "Mo-omm-ey, I ha-ap-py no-w."
"That's great," I said, "but you still can't get a plise because you picked the green tomatoes after Mommy told you not to."
"But I HAPPY now," he reiterated.
"BUT I HAPPY NOW! I HAPPY NOW! I HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAPY!"
I felt a mixture of pity and amusement and aggravation as he ineffectually tried to convince me that he was happy and thus deserved clemency. Insanity would have been more believable.
Still, amid all the screaming and the screaming screaming and the screaming, I couldn't help but smile to myself thinking of how I had discovered the tomato bandit: hands behind his back, eyebrows knit with anxiety, and the cheesiest, fakest grin I have ever seen in all my living life. My first hope is that Ethan doesn't pursue a life of crime. My backup hope is that if he does, he learns how to lie better so he doesn't embarrass us on one of those World's Stupidest Criminals shows.