“Bibbet.” My son says.
“No”. I say.
“Bibbet!” He shouts, ignoring me.
I’m not going to give him a biscuit, no matter what. I have to take a stand. No biscuit before diner. I am a rock.
After berating me for several minutes he trudges off grumpily to jump up and down on the furniture. He hoots with laughter at my authority voice. As I come to physically remove him, he falls off the chair and nose dives into his fire engine.
After a few minutes of soothing it becomes clear that he’s developing a black eye. Of all minor toddler injuries, the black eye is the most uncomfortable for parents. The silent judgement of strangers is guaranteed.
Luckily for judgemental strangers, we have to go to the shops.
On the way he unleashes a spiderman-sunglasses melt down. They were a mistake. He wants to wear them all the time, including in the bath, but they keep falling off, which drives him crazy. They fall into the foot well.
I wrestle my son out of the car screaming. A passing lady with a baby sees me in my dusty work dungarees, then sees my son’s black eye, and looks at me as if she’s about to phone the police. I try to calm him down by helping him put his sunglasses back on, then I realise that it looks as if I’m trying to hide his eye. The lady almost walks into a trolley bay.
Unfortunately my son’s melt down has gone beyond sunglasses. He attempts to convince the entire shop, at the top of his voice, that I’ve kidnapped him. He’s very convincing. I start to believe it.
Five minutes later I’m broken. “Do you want your sunglasses?” I ask
“No!” He wails.
Finally, between sobs, he whispers “Bibbet.”
Without a moments hesitation I do something I’ve never done before. I open a packet before getting to the checkout.
“Thank you, daddy.” My son says as he munches his biscuit. He’s very good with his thank yous.