Setting: Nathan, J, and I are all out for a walk during J’s lunch hour. Nathan is running around smelling flowers and we’re playing chase.
Me: (Seeing a snail slowly moving across the sidewalk) “Hey Nathan, check this out! It’s a snail! Come look at it!” (I grab Nathan’s hand and pull him over to the snail).
Nathan: (Walks with me towards the snail)
Me: “We have to watch out for the snail though . . . ”
Nathan: (Gets closer to the snail, despite the fact that I’ve stopped now).
Me: “Don’t get too close . . . ”
Nathan: (Keeps getting closer to the snail . . . )
Me: (Pulling Nathan back by the hand now) “No, watch out Nathan, don’t . . . ”
Me: “. . . step on it!” *sigh* (I start to try to walk away with Nathan). “Okay, well, that’s good enough, let’s . . . ”
Me: (Trying to get between Nathan and the completely smashed snail) “Alright, all done snail! No more snail! Time to go this way!”
Nathan: (STOMP STOMP STOMP SMEAR!)
Me: (Directly between Nathan and the snail) “Let’s go see Daddy now!”
Nathan: (Snakes his foot around me to try to get a few last smashes in. When did his legs get so long?)
Me: (Picking up Nathan carefully, so he can’t smear snail guts on me) “Yep, we are totally all done now, time to go!”
Sorry, Mr. Snail! I always loved that Nathan enjoys stomping on crunchy leaves just as much as I do, but maybe it’s time to stop reinforcing that behavior. Next time we’ll go look at something else. Like rocks. Or something equally un-alive!