J awoke out of sorts. I mean, really out of sorts. He cried. I mean, really cried.
J: I want my hearts!
H: What hearts?
J: The red ones!
H: What red ones?
J: The hearts I had in bed!
H: Hearts you had in bed?
J: My hearts! I want my hearts!
This continued for quite some time. J has many toys that he loves. Some he takes to bed with him. His favourite toys are round and egg-shaped. He has a preference for green items, though he is starting to really like red too. But he has no heart-shaped toys, and we had no idea to what he referred.
H: Where did you get them?
J: From the litter box!
H: J, you're not allowed near the litter box.
J: No. I didn't touch the pee or poop.
H: There are no hearts in the litter box.
J: Yes there are!
H tried in vain to placate J, who continued to shriek about his missing hearts.
H: What do they look like, J?
J: They're red hearts!
H: How many hearts were there?
J: Two! A big one and a little one!
H: How big are they?
J: One's big! And one's little!
H: What are they made of?
J: My hearts! My hearts! I WANT MY HEARTS!!
H searched for J's hearts. Hunting high and low. He even went out into our front yard and rooted around in J's sand table in search of the missing hearts. In the freezing cold. In his pajamas. At one point, he thought he'd found a red heart-shaped toy out there. But the sobbing J insisted that it was not the right one and just screamed louder.
J: My hearts! My hearts!
H: Are they squishy, like gummy candies?
J: No! They're ... they're ...
H: What are they made of, J?
J: They're made of wood!
And through the entire search process, I lay still, nursing N back into a peaceful slumber, and periodically stating what I thought was the very obvious. That the hearts do not actually exist. That J had a vivid dream which he now believes to be real. That we cannot magically bring toys out of J's dream world and into this one. Of this, I am quite certain. And so, I stupidly attempted to reason with my 3-year old while H unwittingly validated his preposterous claims. I reasoned thusly:
You're not allowed near the litter box.
And if you were allowed near the litter box, you certainly would not be permitted to sift through it.
And if you did sift through it, you would not find little red wooden hearts in the dirty cat litter.
And if you did find little red wooden hearts in there, Mommy and Daddy would have thrown them out, because they would be icky and disgusting.
And if Mommy and Daddy had actually lost their minds enough to allow you to keep the little red wooden hearts that you had found in the dirty cat litter, they still wouldn't have let you sleep with them, because we do not sleep with hard wooden toys!
All perfectly logical, I thought. But an over-tired tantrum-throwing 3-year old is not perfectly logical, nor even remotely logical, and he could not be made to believe that his beloved little red wooden hearts existed only in his subconscious. Obviously, the hearts are real. Obviously, H is just not looking hard enough. Obviously, we are horrid, cruel parents who intentionally steal and hide our 3-year old's toys just to make him cry. We laugh about it later, while we sit together and play with the toys as he cries himself to sleep. What parent doesn't do this? You've done it. We all have. You know it's true.
Eventually, H had to admit that I was probably right. The hearts were fictitious. The morning activities resumed, around the shrieking J.
J: My hearts! My hearts!
H: Do you want to go potty?
J: No! No potty! My hearts! I want my hearts!
H: There are no hearts. Now go potty.
J: MY HEARTS!!!!!
J refused to go potty. Refused to get dressed. Refused to stop screaming. And eventually, ran over to me, grabbed baby N in a death grip, and sang a new song. If you consider his high-pitched shrieks of rage to be "singing". Which I do not.
J: I want my baby!
T: You have your baby. He's right here.
J: My baby! My baby!!
H: J, you're holding the baby.
J: I WANT MY BAAAAABBBBYYY!!!
Eventually J, clothed and nearly in his right mind, was escorted off to preschool. He had refused to go potty before leaving the house, insisting "I want to hold my pee pee in my penis for preschool". What an odd request!
And so he left, wearing a pull-up, just in case he had an accident on the way to school. Which he didn't. But once inside and at the potty, he did overshoot the toilet and get pee on the floor, on the underwear he was about to be changed into and, perhaps worst of all ... on Panda, his faithful companion who he can obviously no longer have for today's naptime. That oughta be fun for someone to deal with.
But not me!
I love spending time with my son. But today, I am relieved that his teachers get to handle him. 'Cause ... damn!