... Rowan, thankfully, obliged me by throwing a monster tantrum in Robin’s Donuts. We went, as is the custom, before his Kindermusik class at 5:15. He picks out a doughnut, eats the frosting and some of the other slightly healthier fare we bring along, we go for a pee in the only slightly disgusting washroom, and then we walk across the strip-mall parking lot to music class. It’s a beautiful ritual.
Today, things started well enough, except that the woman behind the counter gave Rowan the vanilla rainbow-sprinkled doughnut at the end of the row, and he wanted the one in the middle. I managed to distract him long enough to get us seated at our usual table, and placed the offending pastry in front of him. “I don’t want this one,” he said, sinking his teeth into the frosting. And I thought he was done. He nibbled at the rainbow sprinkles for a while, ate some goldfish crackers and a dried apricot, and then remembered that he was not done.
“Not this one,” he said, poking at the hunk of fried dough in front of him. “I want the other one.”
“I’m sorry, sweetie,” I said, completely irrationally. “That’s the doughnut we have.”
We repeated this exchange a couple more times with only slight variations, until he swept the doughnut off the table with the back of his hand, and it flew about ten feet in the air and landed on the floor near the display case. Then, to really drive home his point, he ran over to his vanilla rainbow special and kicked it several times before falling onto his knees, sobbing, in front of it, and shredding it with his hands. “What’s he doing?” a little girl at the next table kept asking her mom.
I came over, picked up him and the doughnut, and carried both over to the garbage can, into which I managed to drop the latter.
“I want my doughnut!” shrieked my son. “I need a new doughnut! I need a new one! Huhhhh-huuunh-huunnnh-huuuu-uh-uh-uh!” (“What’s he doing?”)
I held him and nodded and shushed him as he sobbed and snuffled and railed against my chest (“What’s he doing?”), smiled and rolled my eyes at the other patrons, and gathered up our stuff. No visit to the washroom. Never even made it into the Kindermusik lobby, although Rowan did make a spectacular welcoming committee as he sat sobbing in my arms on the stairwell as his various classmates filed past him. (“The exact same thing just happened at our house,” one of the mothers whispered conspiratorially as she guided her daughter down the stairs.)
And then we drove home, Rowan shuddering and eating goldfish crackers in the back seat.
“Mom?” he said, and I steeled myself for another round of doughnut talk. “Mom? Patrick,” — the little boy with whom he shares a babysitter, with whom he’s spent almost every weekday for the past two years and whose dad just got a new job — “Patric is moving to a different city and I don’t want to miss him.”