Tuesday, October 30, 2007

impermanence, and acceptance


Before I really get into this story, I need a little bit of background. About a month ago we took Andrew to Chuck E. Cheese. On the way in they stamped our hands with a rotating integer stamp using some pigment that fluoresced under black light. This allowed them to check that we left with the kid we came in with. He noticed this, and noticed them checking it on the way out, and then had a fit in the parking lot because it went away.

So yesterday we went to the Atlanta Zoo. One of the first things we did was to visit the Pandas. On the way out they had a little thing that stamped the back of Andrew's hand. He was very excited about the stamp, but it was running out of ink to begin with and as the day drew on it faded. On the way out a very tired Andrew who had missed his nap by about 3 hours complained vociferously that his bear was gone. It happened we were headed back that way so we went back by the Pandas and he got two more bears, one on each hand. Mommy also got one on her hand and he excitedly proclaimed that "Mommy has bear, Andrew has two bears."

From there we went to the petting zoo. He enjoyed the petting zoo thoroughly, but after the petting zoo he had to wash his hands. Now he liked this too, but it worried me a great deal because it completely washed off the bears. After this he rode a Merry Go Round with Mommy and then washed his hands again. He did not, however, notice the disappearance of the bears.

Fast forward about 5 hours and he's laying in his bed, calming down, and he gets a bit excited and tells me "I have...two..." and, as he looks at his hand gets a deadpan look. He then got a half smile and calmly told me, "They're gone."

Now at this point I was just relieved that my very, very tired son wasn't having a total meltdown at bedtime. As I've had more time to think about it, though, I'm more and more surprised. What changed between the first two stamps and this one? My first thought was maybe he learned from the first two stamps that they go away, but I'm not very accepting of that. My current theory is that perhaps he felt we were beyond the ability of effecting his wishes, much like David breaking his fast after God took his child from him.

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