"Daddy! Daddy! Jane - candy rock!" she cried excitedly, as if she'd already been sugared up.
"Wait, Jane. Daddy has ice cream. Do you want ice cream or candy rock?" Steve asked Jane.
"Candy rock! Candy rock!" Jane squealed.
"Um... Mommy?" Steve called to me from the kitchen. "Does Jane really want candy rock or ice cream?" He knew there would be a meltdown if he gave her one and then she cried for the other later on.
I came into the kitchen. "Jane, are you sure you want candy rock? Daddy has ice cream. You usually love ice cream. You only get one. Ice cream? Or candy rock?" I asked her careful to drawl out the words "ice cream."
"Ummm... ice cream! Ice cream!" she jumped up and down.
"I thought you'd want ice cream," I told her as Steve scooped her treat into the little bowl.
About fifteen minutes later, her little ice cream treat gone and forgotten about, she heard Steve in the kitchen and remembered the rock candy. "Jane want candy rock! Jane - candy rock!" she said excitedly as she ran into the kitchen to plead her case to Steve.
"Jane, remember, you could only have one. This is why we really thought about it before..." he told her calmly.
"Jane - candy rock!" she insisted.
At this point, Steve did what any sensible father would do in this situation. He called for backup. "Um... Mommy?"
I entered the kitchen where the standoff was taking place.
"What's up?" I asked.
"Well, Jane had ice cream, and she knew she could only have one treat, but now she wants a candy rock. I told her--" Steve was cut short by Jane's interjection.
"Jane -- candy rock NOW!" she demanded, and stomped her foot for emphasis.
I straightened up and blinked slowly, and looked at her in silence, my face showing mild surprise.
Jane met my gaze, then lowered her eyes and hung her head. She went to leave the kitchen, knowing that the consequence for raising your voice and stomping your foot has consistently been that you go to your room. If you choose to be unsociable, you are removed from society, as it were. But as she moved to go, she took my hand in hers and murmured, "Sorry, Mom."
We took a few steps hand in hand, but instead of taking her to her room, I brought her to the living room, where I sat on the end of the coffee table and put her on my lap.
We sat in silence for a moment, then I quietly thanked her.This was this first time I remember her spinning up and out of control, recognizing that she was out of line, and then choosing to step back from the edge and apologizing. It was a remarkable moment, made all the more remarkable by the fact that Jane only turns three at the end of October.
We sat quietly, then one of us (I can't remember whether it was her or me) did a silly thing, poking or tickling the other. We were soon giggling together, then Jane suggested we play with her model cars, which we did. Jane was pleasant the rest of the evening, and didn't mention the candy rocks again.