Dante’s birthday is coming up on June 21, and he knows it, though he doesn’t quite know what it means. Witness this recent exchange:
DANTE: On the twenty-oneth I am going to have a beer.
DANTE: My birthday is on 21, and I am going to have a beer.
PAUL: You’re not having a beer on your birthday. You can have a beer when you turn 21, but you’re going to be turning three. Not twenty-one.
DANTE: [Patiently] I am turning three on twenty-one.
PAUL: Your birthday is on the twenty-first, but you have to be twenty-one years old to have a beer. You’ll only be three years old.
DANTE: I will have a beer another time.
DANTE: Grandma told me that.
For the record, his grandma is not prepping him for beer consumption on his birthday, nor even when he turns 21. I have no idea where this beer thing came from, though it had me on my back in hysterics.
The “another time” formulation is really big right now, and I am loving it. Clearly, we have taught him that while gratification can often be achieved, it must sometimes be delayed. Thus, whenever I forbid something, he replies that he can do that thing “another time,” which I think comforts him and prevents a lot of complaints. It’s also mostly true, because very few of his suggestions involve something that I will never allow him to do. Though in some cases, he may have a looooong wait ahead of him…