“Hey kiddo, what do you want for a snack?” I ask as the time to feed the beast inevitably lumbers around.
“Snack!” He replies, a wide smile beaming.
“I got it. That’s what we’re going to do, have a snack. But what do you want in it?” Clearly, he hasn’t figured out that I need explanation as to what individual components he desires that I put into the conceptual container that is a snack.
“Snack!” He repeats just as excitedly as the first time.
“No, no. What. Do. You. Want. To. Eat. As. A. Snack?” Maybe if I go slower he’ll understand.
“Snack!” His mouth drops open and his eyes sparkle.
I take a deep breath, and scramble to find another approach. “Do you want an apple?”
Success. I’ve got a decision. I reach into the fridge and pull out the shiniest, reddest, and most delicious apple I can find. “Non. Pas ça!” Not that. Say what?
“But you just asked for an apple, why don’t you want it any more?”
I can’t hope for much more clarification, so I rummage around the bin looking for something else to appease his hunger. The once chatty toddler is rapidly transitioning to something darker, brooding. His lips begin to pout, his brow furrows, and he tucks his chin down to his chest. Absolutely frightening. When he gets this way, it does not take much to push him over into a ranting tantrum monster. Must find a solution quickly, or risk unleashing a horror that I will be hard pressed to deal with all afternoon.
Aha! “Do you want a banana?” I offer hopefully.
“Pas ça!” freezes my movement as I pull the banana from the bowl on the counter. Gah!
“How about an orange?”
“Orange!” His voice is strangely chipper has he calls out the last. I may have found what he is really looking for.
“Papa! Pas! ÇA!” He emphasizes each word with increasing vigor.
I am at a loss. Why is he not happy with any of the items he appears to endorse a heartbeat before? I kneel down to look at him straight in the eye. “Hey, guy, what do you want for a snack?”
“Snack.” His voice is even, but there is a slight quiver at the end, foreshadowing an imminent explosion.
“Are you repeating everything I say?” I ask.
Oh, boy. This is going to be a long day.