Recently, I was at the playground with my five-year-old, when another kid grabbed a toy that we brought. It wasn’t just any toy, it was his beloved Great White Shark toy, but that’s beside the point—my son wanted it back; their daughter didn’t want to return it.
We all felt awkward, but in a true twist of weirdness, each parent started passively and performatively narrating the awkwardness aloud.
Her dad spoke up first. “It’s OK! We’re taking turns and sharing.” (The little girl went on ignoring him and playing with the shark.)
Then I felt compelled to respond with, “She is going to hand it back to you soon; we’re going to practice being patient.” (My son’s face crumpled in frustration.)