Our friends brought their son Dylan, Ryan’s erstwhile buddy, over for a visit. I say “visit” because they weren’t over for a playdate, necessarily – they were in the neighborhood and probably wanted what any other parent of a toddler (and now an additional newborn) want: adult interaction. The fact that our sons are relatively close in age and could play together was a bonus.
Since Ryan has proven allergic to both cleaning up and sharing, my wife had to sit him down for a serious one-on-one before Dylan and family came over. My wife tried to explain it like this: “Ryan, Omma isn’t cleaning up. Omma is just putting toys in a different place, so all your Thomas trains go here, your fire trucks and hundreds [not really, but there are a heck of a lot] of Matchbox cars go there…” By the time my wife was done with that spiel, he was a wee bit confused, but willing to go along.
Next, she started on a lecture about the joys of sharing toys, how good boys share their toys with their friends, and by now he was completely befuddled. Share? Not Mr. Ryan, ruler of our house (appropriately and ironically, that really is the meaning of his name). Only children, I’ve found, don’t share, at least at this age. In the rare instances that I’ve seen Ryan “share,” he allowed another kid to play with one toy only, for an arbitrary amount of time that only Ryan knew; once the allotted time was up, he snatched the toy back, yelled at the other kid “don’t touch, my train/car/airplane/Elmo” and ran off into his bedroom.
Dylan and family came by, but I had to work, which was a huge bummer because I was looking forward to seeing them and holding the newborn – something about that new-baby smell, it beats new-car smell by far.
Ryan shared some, but not all, of his toys with Dylan. The world did not end as a result, and there was much rejoicing. I know they had fun, because toys had been scattered hither, yon, and between couch cushions. My beautiful son, my progeny, my heir, proved to be more devious than I thought. Instead of making a huge fuss, this time he quietly sidled up to Dylan, said something low (maybe even menacing, he is quite protective of what he thinks is “his” property, even my iPhone – I hope this doesn’t become a trend), then simply took the toy out of Dylan’s hand. What was Dylan supposed to do? Big boy rules, and Ryan at 30 months is almost as tall as a 4-year-old. Dylan would pick up another toy, and the process would repeat.
Ryan is also developing a bit of a jealous streak. Lord help us if we have another child, because my wife said he looked angry when he saw her holding Dylan’s little brother. If you ask Ryan why he wants a little brother, he’ll say “little brother beat up” with his fists in the air like a prize fighter. When it was time for them to leave, my wife asked Dylan for a hug. Good boy that Dylan is, he hugged her leg. Not to be outdone, Ryan ran over with potato-chip crusties all over the bottom half of his face, and hugged her other leg. He even ventured a kiss, which he’s loathe to do unless it’s payment for ice cream.
When I got home from work, I asked Ryan if he had fun with Dylan ching-gu [Korean for friend]. I got a long half-coherent, half-gibberish discourse on how much fun they had together (even though I knew better), the chasing around the apartment, and chips and cookies were involved somehow. He’s far too young to be this disingenuous, but apparently he had a blast and wants to do it again.