I remember reading a baby book (imagine) sometime last year to get a sneak peak of what I would be in for when Tobin neared 2 years of age. There was an anecdote that struck me as especially ridiculous. I don't remember the exact wording, but the gist was this: Toddlers can be so particular about food that they may refuse sandwiches or meals made differently than the way they expect. For instance, if a kid likes a PB& J with the peanut butter spread first and you offer a PB&J with jam spread first, he might refuse it.
I laughed this off like so many other accounts of tantrums and behavioral eccentricities that Tobin seemed to have eschewed in his development. But Tobin has developed elements of this particularity. For example, Tobin no longer eats "yogurt." But he loves it when it's called "big big yogurt" and comes from the pint-sized container. Oh, and it has to be served in his yellow bowl. Allison made the mistake one afternoon of fixing yogurt (excuse me, big-big yogurt) in a red bowl. It was summarily refused until I transferred it o the proper bowl. The same is often true for cups of juice: Purple cup with red lid? Acceptable. Yellow cup with blue lid? Unacceptable.
Similarly, Tobin is particular about his favorite toy, the Hot Wheels racetrack. This weekend, he and I were playing together nicely when he grabbed a car and left the room. It was time for Mama to play, and she was given a specific car to place on the track. This car is the one that we're given most frequently. It's called "Mama Cheerio car" and "Daddy Cheerio car" alternately according to who is called upon to place it. (I don't think it's a coincidence that it's also the slowest car of the regular half-dozen that race, but I'll save that for another post someday.) When it's time for Mama to play, Daddy had best not touch the track or the Cheerio car. When it's time for Daddy to play, Mama may watch but not touch.
Also this weekend, I introduced Tobin to a soccer ball and basketball. Saturday we were playing with both on the deck when Tobin asked for a walk. Because Allison was busy, I could only manage one ball and Tobin on the walk with certainty that I could protect all involved from car danger. It was a lot to ask of Tobin when I said "One ball; either soccer ball or basketball." Twice we made it to the bottom of the steps on the deck when T changed his mind. The compromise was two walks: one with the soccer ball and one shorter one with the basketball. Later in the day, we were playing again when I was suddenly not allowed to play any more. This was communicated to me with a simple "Daddy no basketball. Bye bye basketball." Any touching of the basketball afterward elicited protest. When I misinterpreted "bye bye basketball" to mean "Put that away, please," I was met with fat tears after closing the storage room door. All tears abated when both balls were out on the deck and Tobin could wander between them like an indecisive bee torn between pollinating two flowers.
Tobin has more funny particularities. Which song may play, whether the TV may be on, dismissing everyone from the dinner table, and who reads which book are just a few of the topics on which he expresses his opinion strongly. The neat thing is that I don't mind it at all. T is rarely inconsolable. It's fun to watch him ordering his world and categorizing likes and dislikes, even if it seems to defy logic or reason every once in a while.