Julian was throwing a massive fit about something and he calmed down enough to ask if he could have a "special treat". In Julian's world a "special treat" is a fruit roll-up. He had been pushing my ottoman across the floor during his fit, so I told him he could have a special treat when he put the ottoman back where it belonged. This made him scream and cry louder than ever, but I wasn't going to move anywhere, because I was busy feeding two babies and Seth was holding the third. Bear in mind that Julian's side of the conversation was screamed at the top of his lungs the entire time.
"But PLEASE, Eema? Pleeeeeeeeeease can I have it?"
"Yes, sweetie, you can have it as soon as you put the ottoman back where it belongs."
"Gimme it now! Gimme it now! Gimme it now! Gimme it now!"
"You may have it as soon as you put the ottoman back where it belongs."
"Oh, I hate you, Eema!"
"I want it! I want it! Gimme it now, now, now, now, now! I don't wanna put it back. I want my special treat. Gimme it now!"
"No. You may have it when you have put the ottoman back where it belongs."
"OH, I REALLY HATE YOU!"
"Okay, I can live with that. I still love you."
"But, Eema, I want it so much!"
"I know you want it, and you may have it. You may have it as soon as you've done this one thing for me."
"No! I don't wanna I don't wanna I don't wanna! Gimme Gimme Gimme my special treat!"
"Does throwing a fit ever get you what you want?"
"So what makes you think it's going to get you what you want now?"
"But I want it! Gimme it! Gimme it NOW! I can't move the thing. My arms don't work! I don't want to do it. I want a special treat. You never let me do anything! You're never gonna give it to me! I just want it! I want it now! Give it to me! Give it to me NOW!"
"Julian, the answer is no. You may have it when you have moved the ottoman back where it belongs."
"Ooooooohhhhhhhhh, now I TOTALLY hate you!"
At this point I burst out laughing. I couldn't help myself. It was hysterical. The best part is that my laughter made Julian giggle and he suddenly forgot that he was angry and suddenly it was a big game to him and we were laughing and giggling, and Seth was getting the fruit roll-up while Julian was moving the ottoman back to its rightful place in the living room. A miracle!
I actually am pretty impressed with his ability to understand that there is a hierarchy. I graduated along that hierarchy... "I hate you" to "I really hate you" to, finally, "I totally hate you!" This takes a fairly sophisticated understanding of the concept, I believe, and shows just how smart that little boy is, in my opinion. So while I'm completely unimpressed by the ridiculous fit that the monster threw over something so stupid (it could have been avoided all together had he just moved the stupid ottoman the 12 inches back into place when I asked him to), I'm totally impressed by his conceptual language skillz. Aren't you?