Of Starving Children

A few years ago, my mother gave me a LEGO version of the Hogwarts Express for my birthday. What? It’s LEGOs and Harry Potter! It also has small pieces that are easy to lose, which is always a problem with LEGO playsets.

Sometime ago, Ian spied the box in the closet, wedged between Simpsons Clue and Cranium. Since then, it’s become the ‘train game’. Frankly, it’s a pain to let Ian play with it. He always wants me to fix the pieces he breaks, but loses interest the moment I start. So I stop. He complains, I start, he wanders, I stop. Complain, start, wander, stop. Comstanderop.

Last night he wanted the train game. Not his castle, pirate ship, truck, truck, skee-ball, truck, Lincoln Logs, Hot Wheels, grocery store, kitchen, doctor bag, or truck. Just the train game. I said ‘no’. I explained—as I’ve done before—that the train game isn’t a game, but a toy. I told him I’d be happy to play Candyland or Chutes & Ladders.

In response, he pulled Chutes & Ladders from the shelf, and threw it on the floor. ‘It’s a stinky game!’ Well, yes it is. But that’s hardly the point.

‘Ian, I’ve said that you may not play with the train. There are a lot of boys who don’t have your toys. If you don’t want them, maybe we should give your toys to them.’

Yesterday Ian visited my office again, and I forgot to bring his cup home with us. This morning he wanted tea, but didn’t have his tea cup. I grabbed another, and he wailed. ‘That’s not a tea cup! That’s a juice cup!’ He is not a morning person.

‘Ian would you rather have tea in the Clifford cup, or no tea?’

He took the cup and threw it to the linoleum. I asked him to pick it up. He held it out to me, his other hand on his hip. ‘Some people don’t have cups,’ he said. ‘We should give it to them!’

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