The day after Christmas, Tim headed upstairs to put his hunting things away for the year. William accompanied him. There are always some fascinating things up in grandpa's hunting room.
He came downstairs with a gas mask.
What the HELL??!!
It was made in Czechoslovakia and it was still sealed in plastic, and came with a handy carrying case.
I looked at Tim in astonishment.
"I don't know, he said. "I am pretty sure that I saw something I wanted at a yard sale, but it was with a basket of stuff I didn't want and this was one of those things."
William babbled on and on. Since grandpa wasn't using that gas mask, and just said he hadn't wanted it, could HE have it?
Inexplicably, Grandpa said no. It was brand new with all the accessories. He didn't want it opened up. He was pretty sure that it might be worth something some day. (When we're gassed, I suppose).
William was very disappointed because it turns out that HE has always wanted a gas mask of his own.
What the hell??!!
He wanted one something desperate. I finally said, "William your playroom is a disaster!" You've got so much stuff in there that you can't find what you want to play with. You've got tons of stuff that you don't even play with at all. You can't take your hover board home because you haven't got any room for it. You've got new toys that need to be put away but you have no room. So no. If you want stuff, you need to make some decisions and get that room hoed out.
William's mother came to take him home, and he was still talking about gas masks and how badly he has always wanted one.
As usual, once William has gone off on a tangent, he holds to it. We watched him New Year's Eve so that his mother and Don could have a night to themselves. When she dropped him off, his mother said, "He's really getting rid of old toys in his playroom!" One of the moms was coming over to go through the things to see if there were toys her kids would want, but after that, everything was going to an area where people set the things that they don't want so that others can help themselves to those things.
After she left, William talked non-stop about gas masks. "Did you know that once upon a time, we had a Cold War and everyone wore gas masks?"
Me: "No. They didn't."
William: 'Yes. I saw the pictures. Everyone wore gas masks, even children."
Me: "William, they did not. I grew up during the Cold War. It was just two governments fighting with words and making threats against other countries. People were afraid. Some more than others. "
William (hopefully): 'Well, maybe they were so afraid, they had gas masks put away, just in case...'
Me: "I am sure that there were a few people who did, but that is because they were afraid of what might happen. Most people didn't though. Some people had bomb shelters. Some folks just over reacted a bit. Kind of like you do, sometimes. We just hid under our desks at school.'
William: *amazed look* Just like that!, we were off on a different tangent.
We have a kid's desk in a corner of the living room that the youngest boy uses for school and I thought perhaps William would be distracted enough to make siren sounds and climb under the desk for a few hours.
No such luck.
He spent the night here, we saw the New Year in, smooches all around, and off to bed we went. He was off and running bright and early this morning. He wanted to continue work on his playroom.
He went out the door chattering. "I'll draw you a picture of the gas mask we ordered. It's a kid's size mask..." and his voice faded away as they headed for the car.
The child rearing experts will tell you that every child can be motivated. You have to discover what it is that he values and use that to negotiate.
But...a GAS MASK?