It's been raining all afternoon.
Me: Ryan, wanna go down to the basement and play in the hall*?
Ryan: Yes, I want to play in the hall.
Me: Want to ride your bike?
Ryan: Yes, I want to ride my bike.
We put on shoes, he rolls his bike into the dining room, I put on his helmet. Ryan then opens the coat closet and starts poking around on the floor.
Me: OK, let's go downstairs.
Ryan straddles his bike, starts to pedal toward the door, cries, pedals, cries some more.
Me: What's wrong? What do you need?
Ryan: (incomprehensible word sounds/screeching/crying) skates (sobbing/screaming)
Me: Oh, do you want to go skating?
Ryan, tearfully: Yes.
I take off his shoes, put on his skates and kneepads. He skates through the door, starts to cry, throws himself on the floor.
Stu/Me: What? What do you want? (etc.)
Ryan: (crying/screeching/mucous) off the skates (crying/screaming).
Stu and I remove Ryan's skates and pads, offer him shoes. Ryan dissolves in tears and snot.
Ryan: Wah aaah aaah mommy wah aaah on da skates aaah play in da hall.
Stu and I confer and agree that Ryan must want me to skate while he rides his bike in the hallway. I put on my skates and kneepads.
Me: I'm ready, get your bike.
Ryan runs screaming down the hall, falls to the floor in front of the elevator.
Ryan, tearfully: Can... I.... have... play in the hall please?
For the love of God, yes, that's what we've been trying to do here.
I hold Ryan in the elevator while he sobs. I use the bottom of his shirt to wipe his nose. We get to the basement. I ask if he wants to race. I chase him once down the hall. He throws himself on the floor crying. I tell him to follow me home.
Ryan opens our door, puts his shoes on the shoe shelf, grabs a magic marker, and starts drawing at his easel perfectly calmly and contentedly.
Me: You're going to be the death of me, Kid.
I take off my skates and fantasize about margaritas. Scene.
* There is a long tunnel between the buildings in my complex.