By 10:40 this morning, I'd already been knocked out of the running for Mom of the Day. Not that there is such an award. Even if there was, I'd probably never be eligible. Anyway. The Rock Star was at preschool, I was in the kitchen, and The Little Buddy was watching an episode of his new favorite show, Dinosaur Train. Houses here in Utah are all kinds of architecturally bizarre. Our home has four different levels because the builder wanted me to get extra exercise climbing multiple staircases. Five stairs separate our kitchen from our family room. I promise this little bit of house trivia will be important later in the story.
As I was cutting potatoes, Matthew was watching his show. Every now and then he would start sobbing. For no apparent reason. Which he does regularly enough that I don't always sprint right to his rescue. He cried. Then he stopped. A few minutes later he cried again, then stopped. I kept looking down into the room where he was. He was standing in the middle of the room. He wasn't trapped, wounded or otherwise in need of saving. He could come up into the kitchen if he really needed me.
Eventually, he stood, in the middle of the floor, crying without ceasing. "Matthew, come here." He didn't. "Matthew, go up to your room if you need to cry." (This is something we started several weeks ago. As I said before, The Little Buddy cries a lot for no real reason other than to hear himself cry. If we can't figure out why he is crying, we send him up to the bedroom. Almost always he will walk into his room, come back out a minute later in better spirits, and say, "Saw-e, Mama.") He wouldn't budge. Last night he had an obstinate moment so I thought this was a fun and exciting new phase of defiance. "Matthew, you'd better go up to your room right now!" He remained, feet firmly planted to the carpet. I went down to the room, took his arm and led him, screeching, up the first flight of stairs and then the second. I placed him in the bedroom.
Two minutes later he came out. "Saw-e, Mama!"
"I forgive you. You need to stop having tantrums," I chastised. "Let's change your diaper and go get Garrett." A few minutes later we were ready to leave. I walked down the stairs into the family room. Matthew froze at the first stair. "Come on." He wouldn't budge.
Then I noticed a little toy spider on the bottom stair. I picked it up. "Are you afraid of this?" I asked him moving the spider toward him.
"WAAAWAHWAHAHAHAH!!!!!" Came the recoiling scream from my toddler. Clearly he'd wanted to get to me and wouldn't walk past the rubber arachnid. I put the spider up and explained to Matthew that he needed to use his words--or at the very least, point--so that I would know that he was afraid of something. I felt so bad that he'd been put in his room because he was scared. I also thought about how he is kind of the little boy who cried. That's it. Just the boy who cried. About everything. To the point that it didn't seem abnormal to me that he was crying off and on throughout an episode of Dinosaur Train.
I also started thinking of how I could use these spiders to my own benefit. I could put him in a big boy bed and surround it with rubber spiders in order to keep him there. I could line the kitchen with them to keep him out while I'm trying to cook. The ideas are endless, really. Of course I wouldn't actually do any of those things. I wouldn't play on his fears like that.
When we got home, Garrett started playing with the spiders and, for some reason, they were no longer scary but completely hysterical. Unless you got them within about a foot of him.