Brace Yourself

For two years I have been bracing myself for the anticipated clash with Robert.  There was a game placed in the middle of the rug in Robert’s bedroom.  Rather large, blue, plastic contraption was a big nuisance as it required careful maneuvering around it on the way to the bed or to the door.  Moreover, the game included different size marbles which tended to released themselves whenever someone accidentally kick the game’s structure.  When that happened, Robert had to find all the marbles.  The fact that even one marble was missing caused Robert to be in such a distress that the whole family had to come to the rescue  at 1 or 2 at night and search for the shiny sphere under the  bed or desk and  behind the nightstand or the bookcase.  Robert would not sleep knowing that a marble was lost and alone  in the crevices of the dark room,  far away from its compartment  and the company of other marbles.

After two years, I do not remember any more  how to play the game.  I am sure I played it with Robert after I had bought it.  I know that you should put the marbles at the top and release them by turning a lever.  As the marbles rushed down one would win and one would lose. I have forgotten what factors decided  on winning or loosing. The rules of the game had long been gone.

Although Robert made sure that no part of the game was missing, he, nonetheless,  has not shown any interest in playing the game. Maybe that had something to do with my decision to use this toy  as a great tool to teach  concept of “cause and effect”. Somehow, Robert was not thrilled that I shouted “cause” when he moved the lever and “effect” when the marbles rolled down.

A few times during those two years,  I picked the toy from the floor and placed it on the dresser.  Robert always returned it to the floor.  That further convinced me that it would not be easy to permanently remove the game from the rug.  Robert, who considered himself a guardian of his environment, would react with a heartbreaking despair and a vehement protest.  I would be no match for his strong will.  So I kept on postponing the moment of unavoidable confrontation and tried to brace myself for the battle. Meantime, we kept on tripping on that blue contraption, falling many times, and waking up in the middle of the night to search for the missing marbles.

Finally, I decided it was enough.  I was tense but ready to stood my ground despite envisioned tantrums, screams, and protests.  I suspected that Robert might try to take the toy out of my hands by force.  If that would have  happened I would not scuffle with him, but throw the toy away following day, when he was at school.  Everything else I was ready for.

I called Robert to his bedroom and calmly started, “Robert, this toy should not be here.  We tripped over it many times.  It is dangerous.  It should go on this shelf.  Right here.  Please, put the toy on the shelf.”

In the next 5 seconds:

Robert looked at the toy.

Picked it up.

Placed it on the shelf.

In the next five months:

I felt like a fool.

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