My Grandpa Speed, who sadly died when I was six, is famous in our family for phrases such as "that's not a reason, that's an excuse", and "you have ten seconds to get happy." Get Happy has always been my favorite.
This afternoon, Kittyboy was two things - tired and needing a nap, and very aggravated with his train set not doing what he wanted it to. Three o'clock is the witching hour, when he needs a nap, doesn't want a nap, and in fact is likely to gain a second wind by four o'clock, so unless you're really, REALLY sure of success, you'll only spend an hour fighting if you try to make him TAKE a nap, and then he won't have taken one, and you'll both be out of sorts. So at the time of this incident, it was 3 p.m., and so he was fussy to begin with.
AND, he was mad at his train. He was trying to make the engine and both cars AND ambulance AND fire truck (which have the same wheel base, so they can be driven on the tracks, but of course they don't hook up with the train) all be a big train and go up the ramp together, and it wasn't working. He started whining and crying and scattering the train parts around. I kept telling him it wasn't GOING to work, which (like all great innovators), he didn't find helpful. I asked him (because sometimes this works!) "Are you tired? Would you like a nap?"
"*sniff sniff* No take a nap? No go to sleep??"
"But you seem so tired and unhappy. I think you need a nap."
"You no need a nap???" (he's using "you" again when he's tired)
Sigh. And out of my mouth comes, very sweetly, "Well, here are your choices. You can take a nap, or you can get happy."
"*sniff sniff* You get happy *sniff* okay."
AND HE DID. He sniffed a few times and went back to lining up his "train plus two" for, oh, the tenth time or so. Once again, the whole line jackknifed halfway up the ramp. Cue tears and scattering of cars.
"Do you need a nap?"
"NO NEED A NAP!!!"
"Okay then, get happy."
"*sniff* get happy *sniff* okay."
I think it was probably the twelfth or thirteenth try that he figured out in what order he could line up the train and emergency vehicles so that they ACTUALLY DID MAKE IT UP THE RAMP. They fell all apart on the other side, but success was his. They had made it up the ramp. He's probably the next Edison.
And of course, he'll never again believe me when I tell him "it won't work".
I just love that "get happy" actually works. You could write a whole book on parenting philosophy entitled "You've Got Ten Seconds to Get Happy".
Turned out I actually should have pushed the issue with the nap - at ten til four, there was no second wind in sight, and so now he's going to wake up for dinner only an hour before bedtime and that won't be good. But you never can tell how it's going to go at 3 p.m. That's why I call it the witching hour.