“GAHHHHHH!!!!!” you shout, grabbing the tiny hand grasping for the open jars of toy-safe paint. Then, just in time, you gently pull back the inquisitive fingers from the wet paint gleaming on the toys. Your reward is a shriek that morphs into a trembling pout.
“I’m sorry, sweetie.” You pick the toddler up and swing them onto your knee, grunting from the effort. Then, leaning your head down, you touch your forehead to theirs. “I know you want to play with the special toys, but they just aren’t ready yet.” You point at the paint, “And that is very special adult-only paint. We will have a tough time getting it off if you get it on your clothes.”
Their pout becomes deeper as they glance at the half-finished toys. “I wanna help!” they whisper, a single tear trembling on their thick eyelashes.
“You want to help make toys for the new baby?” you ask.
“Yeth!” they reply before looking at you shyly. “And ME!”
“Ahhhh, I see.” You grin. “You want toys for you too?” They nod.
“All right. Hmmm.” You lean back, closing your eyes as you ponder how to solve this puzzle. Instinctively, you reach up, pulling back the fingers again grasping for the toys. Chuckling, you wrap up those straying limbs in your arms and give a big hug.
“All right. All right. Here, I have an idea.” You turn the little one around, looking squarely into their face. “Let’s make a deal.”
“These toys are for the new baby. But THESE toys,” you point to a pile of bare wooden blocks, “I haven’t made for anyone yet. They need to be made for someone extra, extra special.” You pause. “So, how about if I make them for YOU?” A grin starts forming on the little one’s face as you continue.
“But I am going to need some help. Some very important help.” You shake your head. “I have no idea what colors to make them. Do you think you could help me choose some extra pretty colors?” Their eyes widen and their smile even wider as they shout, “YETH!”
“Ok! Now, you sit here.” You carefully place them in the chair beside you, far away from the wet paint. “Hmmm,” you say. “You are going to need your very own colors. Wait here.” You run to the side cupboard, pulling out the children’s crayons and watercolors. “Here, first, you color on this page and decide what your very favorite colors are. Then, we can put those colors on the toys!” You lean down and ask, “Deal?”
They smile, their fingers already wrapped around a crayon. “Deal!” they reply.