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So, apparently, all I had to do was ask.

Tonight after work, we had planned to have a picnic in the park with the kids. Fifteen minutes before I made it to my car to head home, the weather took our plans and crushed them under its cold, wet feet like an empty aluminum can. Dread filled my soul: the kids would have been pumped up for our outing, wound up tightly, all set to bounce and ricochet off the bright green plastic play equipment to their hearts' content, while, more importantly, John and I expended only enough energy to lift the Mikes' bottles to our lips. So what now? What diastrous combination of emotions and behaviors would I arrive home to find?

Not to worry; John thinks of everything. "We're going to have a picnic on the living room floor!" he said as I wearily surveyed the progressively more obnoxious behavior the kids were using to let us know how disappointed they were about the rain. Bryce kept climbing on our bed and trying to jump on it with his shoes on; Quinn kept running to the front door yelling, "I'm going to the park! I'm wearing a jacket!" despite the dozens of times we told him it was raining and we weren't going.

As I was putting clothes away and talking to John, Bryce was becoming more and more loud and demanding, so I tried focusing on him: "tell me about school today - what did you say about your wallaby in show and tell?" This didn't work to curb the behavior - he kept darting under covers, hanging on John's leg, and doing all manner of, well...annoying things. I finally said, "Bryce. You act like you're needing attention, but I'm trying to talk to you and give you what you need. That doesn't seem to be working, so I don't know what to do anymore. Rather than jumping and yelling and hanging off of us, why don't you use your words and tell me what it is you need?!"

He stopped and looked at us in a very matter-of-fact way and said, "I'm hungry." The kid ate two sandwiches, some graham crackers, and a bowl of pineapple, which, for those of you who aren't aware, is about one and a half sandwiches, some graham crackers, and a bowl of pineapple MORE than he normally eats.

Huh. It was so simple! If only I'd known before now, I could have saved myself years of anguish.

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