Monday night, my son would not settle after lights out and songs. His screams did not fade, so I went upstairs to see if I could reset him. Sometimes just letting him flip the light on and off again will do the trick. This night, however, he needed to put the phone, an old push-button job that is now a toy, back in its proper place. That was it. Nothing else was wrong, but that one thing was very wrong. It was tear-inducing, scream-generating, world-ending wrong. Once the phone was back on the top of the shelf where we had just put it on whim but is now its “place,” my son happily turned off the lights and listened to the goodnight songs again without fuss.
Clearly on the heals of tantrums, he has now entered the OCD ish phase of two where everything has its place. I understand this is an important part of understanding the world, but it can be nerve wracking. It is especially so when the communication of what is wrong comes from an incoherent child whose grasp of expressive language is fairly limited. This, too, shall pass.