My wife and I got to witness the first time our 2 1/2 year-old daughter lost a balloon to the ugly gods of helium and gravity.
She's had balloons before and I was sure she had grasped the concept of it floating away if she let it go. The way she held onto the purple ribbon with a firm grip was a clue, as was her fixed stare on the floating orb dangling on the end of it.
It must have been that momentary lapse in attention when she was getting out of the car that the balloon seized the opportunity to "slip the surly bonds of the earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings."
Her reaction was classic and true to form for a 2 1/2 year-old.
First she screamed, "Oh, get it, get it, get it, get it, get it!" (picture the balloon getting further away as each two-word phrase emits from her scared 2 1/2 year-old voice).
Once she realized that there wasn't anyway TO "get it," she immediately kicked into the rationalization monologue of "that's okay, we can get another one," repeated about a dozen times.
The next and final phase saw the sheer and utter sadness that only a toddler can muster, emerge from her downturned mouth, crocodile-tear filled eyes, and quietly empty hands.
Then she cried.
And S hugged her, providing the level of comfort only a mommy could provide on such a somber occasion.
And I kicked into "bad cop" mode, reiterating why the balloon flew away, and how it was a good lesson to learn (okay, let's call it insensitive-jerk mode -- there, happy?)
And C? Well, she handed over her balloon, secured in her hands from lessons long learned, to her little sister and told her to take hers since she was done playing with it.
Insert awwws and oooohs here.
Yep, we must be doing something right with these girls.