Oliver loves the kitchen step stool. He is quite convinced that it is HIS stool, one that he occasionally let's his short mom take a turn on to reach the top shelves in the cabinets. IF she asks nicely. That little stool gives him freedom, the ability to be involved in what's going on and to take care of his own needs--how he wants it, when he wants it. It's an independent toddler's dream. Especially for a toddler who seems to dream of becoming a chef. (And hearing a 2-year-old correctly identify that I "need. a spatuwa" when I put a tortilla on the cast iron pan is nearly cuter than I can bear.)
The other day, Oliver pulled the stool to counter, reached my cup, moved the stool to the sink, turned on the faucet, filled the cup with water, climbed down, and put his drink on the stool. Xander walked by, saw the water, and casually took a drink, unaware of who had filled the cup. Oliver told him who was boss, "No! Go take a nap!" He worked hard for that water! It was HIS! A boy's gotta defend his turf with so many siblings around!
Unfortunately for me and Max, shouting hilarious toddlerisms is not always enough in said turf-defending. Oliver and Max now love the same toys--sharks, trucks, Legos, dinosaurs, airplanes, superheroes, you-name-it--and frequently NEED the exact same one at the exact same time. When emotions were running high a couple weeks ago, Oliver began turning to the teeth, repeatedly, and that was not such a good arrangement for Max. So I figured I'd give him a "use your words" tool for when he was feeling threatened by an insistent Max who was grabbing or otherwise trying to wrangle a toy from his little brother's grasp: a nice, firm "Back off, buddy!" About a week ago, I was happy when Oliver started to shout that at Max rather than going straight for the bite. "Back off. Buddy!" We've held "back off" practice games where we take turns saying, "back off, buddy!" and scooting back and admiring just how far back they scooted, giving so much space to that brother! Wow! I was almost feeling like maybe this was working when Oliver turned it on me and started shouting, "Back off, buddy!" whenever I approach to change a diaper or insist on some other unpleasant task that he is simply not in the mood for. Hmmm. It is so lucky for both of us that he is so crazy cute when he says it!