Friday, March 31, 2006

5:08 pm on a Thursday

The oldest has come to a standstill. Presented with the question, "Do you want to come with me while I run a quick errand?", he is stymied. He'd like to come with me, but what if he misses something while he's gone? If he doesn't come with me, what if I decide to go somewhere else as well, and he misses out on that? What if, what if, what if?

He's getting nervous now because he can't decide, and his nervousness makes him even less capable of deciding. I smile at him, trying to calm him. "Sweetheart, it's fine either way." It's not enough. He begins to bite at his lip.

I shouldn't have asked. It's what I call The Witching Hour, that time of day when children are tired and emotional and getting hungry. In the youngest, this manifests as temper. In the oldest, it manifests as indecision and occasional tears.

"Come with me." Three words. No question, only a request. He smiles, freed from the moment, and walks to the car.

1. To procrastinate.
2. To be unable to come to a decision; vacillate.
3. To spend time on insignificant things; dawdle.
[Reduplication of the question shall I? .]
"shilly-shally." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 31 Mar. 2006.