We've been having some communication issues here. Andy wants to play with Joey. Joey wants to play with Andy. Andy asks Joey to play by calling his name and inviting him to look at things and join games ("Look, Doe-y! Look what I made! I made dis for you! Let's be monsters, Doe-y. Doe-y! Look!"). Joey's preferred method is to invite Andy to sit with him ("Come sit here at your computer, Andy. Come sit with me. Play on computer number two.") Sometimes Joey ignores Andy altogether, unable to pull himself from his micro-super-focus to engage the world around him. The result is a lot of frustration. Andy doesn't want to sit next to Joey, he wants to play with Joey. Joey wants to do his own thing, but he wants his brother with him while he does it, but sometimes he doesn't want to really talk to his brother. This has aggravated the Witching Hour and two brothers who really love each other have a breakdown in trying to connect to one another on their own terms.
So today, after Andy had another fruitless attempt at getting Joey to play with him instead of beside him, and various other issues and events of the day, it was suddenly decided that Andy could go for a sleepover at Grandma's house (it is his turn, anyway, and this would give me some rare one-on-one with Joey). A great fuss was made about packing Andy up, announcing he was going to Grandma's, and generally making sure Joey understood that plans had changed and Andy was not going to be home this evening. Kisses and hugs were exchanged. Joey asked when he would be going to Grandma's (in his way... which is to state, "I'm going to Grandma's on Tuesday. Andy goes to Grandma's on Wednesday." Translation: I want to go to Grandma's, Andy should stay here.) Andy, pleased as punch (who doesn't want to go to Grandma's to get one-on-one attention and red pancakes?), settled into Grandma's truck and off they went.
Joey was in the kitchen with his computer. He had Andy's computer open, too. "Come sit at your computer, Andy, and play," Joey called. Andy was already gone.
I took some time to sit with him. I explained that Andy was at Grandma's house. Joey looked sad, and let me watch him play a few rounds of Tic-Tac-Toe. He told me he would go to Grandma's on Tuesday (BTW, he can't go to Grandma's on Tuesday, because he has school on Wednesday). Then he got up, moved to the livingroom, plopped on the couch, and stared at the silent and blank television.
"Do you want to watch something? You can watch anything you want," I offered in an attempt to cheer him.
"Oswald," he nodded. This was an out-of-character request, but I did have a few episodes recorded, so I turned it on for him, then knelt in front of him and gave him a snuggle and a tickle to get him to giggle. He pushed my face up to look into it.
"You love me." Was it a question, or a statement? It can sometimes be hard to tell.
"I sure do!" I assured him.
"And Grandma loves me."
"Yes, indeed! We all love you! You're the bestest boy that ever, ever was!" (This is a common statement of endearment in my family.)
"And Daddy. And Andy."
"Yes, we all love you."
"I love you, too. Play a game with me?"
And so we entered a World Championship match of tic-tac-toe until JoeyAndyDad got home. And he kept beating the socks off me.