8:30 p.m. Thursday. Henry is being tucked in for the night.
Henry: [scratching his ankle] I have an itch.
Me: [Applying hydrocortisone cream to the poor kid’s rashy leg.] How’s that?
Henry: You made it feel better.
Me: Well, I’m glad!
Henry: Thank you for the cream.
Me: [startled] You’re welcome, Henry.
Henry: Thank you for making my rash feel better. I love my Mommy. [Puts a hand out to touch my cheek.] You’re soft.
Me: Who are you and what did you do with my son?
8:30 a.m., Friday. Henry and I are eating oatmeal.
Henry: [sounding eerily like an air horn, if an air horn could speak] No, not this bowl!
Me: You want another bowl?
Henry: [weeping] No!
Me: [sipping my tea calmly while Henry glares at me through his tears of rage]
Henry: Don’t drink your tea!
Me: But I like my tea.
Henry: No--don’t like it!
Me: I’m going to go sit over there now. [I move to the couch. Wouldn’t you?]
Henry: Don’t sit over there! Stand up!
Me: [My resolve falling apart because he’s making his oatmeal soggier with his tears, I stand] Do you want me to sit with you?
Henry: Don’t stand up!
Me: [beginning to sit]
Henry: Don’t sit! Don’t stand!
Henry: DON’T SAY OKAY!