Today my son went to his cousin’s house for a play date, which gave me enough respite to get some work done.
While there he took part in a number of fun activities, including painting stones.
Then they went to a nearby park where they hid the stones in various locations before going to play on the swings and slides.
It was here that I came to pick him up. Before we left he excitedly wanted to show me where he had hidden all the rocks.
Except when we hunted for them one of the rocks had already been discovered and removed.
I assumed this was the point of the game but my son had a different analysis and viewed the removal of the stone as treachery.
He was quiet at first, then angry and eventually tearful. I thought he would quickly recover but he seemed to be getting more upset mumbling over and over ‘I really loved that stone’.
Soon I gathered him in my arms to comfort him and whispered consoling words as he sobbed snot and tears onto my shoulder.
Then I thought it would be useful to introduce some perspective into the conversation. I ruffled his golden hair and brought his eyes, heavy with tears, up to meet mine.
‘Buddy’ I began, ‘it’s only a stone.’
He seemed unmoved.
‘Would you rather’ I went on ‘that the stone was back and that mummy or daddy were lost instead?’
His features hardened in concentration.
‘Well’ he responded ‘definitely not mummy….but maybe you.’