He is standing there glaring at me from the tops of his eyes, chin tucked in against his chest. His upper lip is pressed firmly against his nose.
A low, gravelly vibration erupts from his throat. He is growling.
This means war.
Well, war in as much as a six-year-old can wage it.
“Use your words,” I say in that exasperated way we've all overheard in pick-an-aisle at the grocery store on any given day of the week.
It's my voice, sure, but it could have come from any parent's mouth. It sounds like elevator music on a loop.
He harrumphs and uncrosses his arms.
“I Didn't. Want. Pancakes. I. Wanted. WAFFLES!” he hollers, and then starts to cry.
Things just never go his way. Big, fat tears of frustration follow down this arduous path. And for what?
The water is running. The dishwasher is open. Amid the last remaining clutter from dinner of the night before, breakfast is fully underway.
I don't have the energy to fight this battle, or to cut through the weeds when a clear walkway is a half-step away.
Waffles are no more than pancake batter poured onto a different surface.
I plug in the iron.
He exhales deeply and sits on the library stool, which is always in the kitchen except when I need it to reach items in the upper climbs of the cupboards.
In no aspect of human existence is the proverbial Murphy's Law more evident than in parenting.
Everything that can go wrong will go wrong. At least it feels that way sometimes.
They only remember the toy you donated to charity.
The kids never need to use the bathroom until five minutes after you've left the house.
They want everything, but can't make up their mind.
As soon as you think you have one thing figured out, everything else changes.
No matter how early you rise, you will always be late.
He will be missing a shoe, or a sock, or a glove. It doesn't matter how many replacement pairs you have to fall back on, the one in his hand that is missing its friend is the only one he can wear outside of the house on this day.
And of course, as you start to search … you turn over the rocks and the dust bunnies and what-ever-else has been waiting for spring to clean … you will find almost everything else you lost, but you will not find the bridge ...
Whatever it is that will get him from one activity to another.
So you have to make a different sort of bridge. You knit it out of necessity and desperation. It is rickety and unappealing, but it serves its purpose.
It gets you to the next place.
A scary thought.
The angst. The silence. The separation.
The weight on that bridge is only going to increase, but my building skills won't likely improve.
When we cross it, I imagine it will still be decrepit and unstable.
But if we can keep it together, even barely, I think we can win the war.
We just need to use our words … and, on occasion, eat waffles.