Last week I spent a couple of days visiting my grandchild. He's nearly three. I loved being with him, as always, but he had a nasty virus that made him congested and feverish. He felt awful. His parents felt awful, too, since they got almost no sleep for several consecutive nights.
My grandson has learned to verbalize his feelings. Over and over he told whoever was in the room, "I'm sad." Sometimes it was "I'm so sad." After a while he expected a response and provided promptings when necessary. "Are you sad?" he would ask. Indeed I was, I always responded. Somehow it didn't seem enough, and so I would direct his attention to my face. I made sure my face looked really, really sad.
Other times he would inquire, "Are you sorry?" I couldn't emphasize enough how truly sorry I was. When I mentioned a telephone call from my husband, he asked "Is Granddaddy sorry? Is he sad?" I answered Yes, and my grandson nodded gravely.
At one point, when the fever was down and he seemed in the mood for it, I injected a little humor into our conversation. Face in hands, I pretended to sob over his plight. He squealed and clapped. More! More! He recognized Over The Topness when he saw it.
One of the benefits of being two is surely the power to direct the emotions of others. I admit it, I was a little envious.