Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Eli 7.1: The Angry Face

After we had breakfast on Sunday, I took Eli 7.1 to pick up a few things at Walgreens, and I let him buy a piece of candy.

"Dad, can I eat this now?" he asked, as I buckled him into his booster seat.

"It's 9:30 in the morning," I said. "No."


"Thank you for being polite," I said, "and no."

I got into the driver's seat, and as I closed the door, I looked back at him. He had an excellent "angry face" going, and I managed to look at him for all of two seconds before I burst out laughing. Then he burst out laughing, too.

"How was that?" he asked.

"Solid," I said. "I can't guarantee this, but I think it might work on your Mom."

"Yes!" he said.

"Save it for something important," I said. "Don't waste it on candy."

"Got it," he said. For the rest of the ride, he was trying out different mad faces, and I would evaluate them whenever we stopped at a light.

That's one of the things that I like most about Eli 7.1: his temperament. I can't remember the last time he was genuinely angry about anything--it's been months, at least. I don't think he was angry once all summer.

Yesterday, when he got home from school, he asked Gloria for a snack. "Eli, I'm just about to start dinner," she said. "Let's wait until it's ready."

"But I'm hungry," he said.

"Well, if you're hungry, then you can eat the fruit that I packed for your lunch," Gloria said. She took the container out of his lunch bag and held it up for him.

"No thanks," he said.

"Well, then I guess you can wait," she said.

"NO, I CAN'T!" he shouted. Then, a second later, he burst out laughing, and so did we. "I can't do that and not laugh," he said.

I know that someday it's unavoidable that he will begin to develop real anger, but I very much appreciate that he's not there yet.

Yesterday, we went to buy a new pair of soccer shoes for the fall season. His feet appear to be growing at the rate of one-half size per day, so his shoes from May were hopelessly undersized. I also decided to get him a real pair of running shoes, and we're going to go to the track one day a week, just to give him a little taste of what running fast feels like. Also, it will give me a little taste of what it feels like to tear a hamstring.

So we found a pair of "conservative, understated" soccer shoes, and after Eli put them on, he begins doing a crazy dance in the aisle. "Dad, look!" he said. "I'm NIMBLE."

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