Like taking candy from a baby

At the day care I work, there is a tough little guy that is just a little hard to handle. To be honest with you, I seemed to have overcome the hurdle of  having the desire to lock him in the backyard everyday... Gosh that sounds bad, but the backyard is a pleasant place. Me and this little dude, we're cool now.

I took the kids to the park today and had a blast as I do every time we visit the park. The aforementioned child came in tow, of course. While we were playing hide and go seek, little guy came out from behind the bush with a stick. As always I said, "Sticks belong on the ground." and as always, little guy ignored my direction the first time I stated the rule. Now, mind you- every single time we go to the park, I have the exact same conversation with the exact same kid. Things aren't going to change, dude! Don't play with the sticks!

Unless, of course Miss Stephanie sees that the stick little guy is holding just happens to be the ultimate in a perfect Hermione Granger wand to complete Kate's Halloween costume. Now, this child is a smart boy. If he finds out I want to stick, I will never get it. I envision a scene in which I am lunging for the stick in slow motion while he dramatically breaks it in half and sticks out his tongue. When I snap back to reality, the boy is stabbing the bush with the wand, I mean stick.

So in an effort to diffuse my enthusiasm, I calmly ask the little guy to put the stick on the ground. I swear, he knows I want it. But maybe he's slipped a little because he happily places the stick down and runs off. I swooped in a snatched that stick faster than you can say, "Lumos". With a near giddy expression I tilt my head to glance at what the boy is holding now.

Oh gosh, another stick... *Gasp* THE stick. The stick that is way better than the one I am already triumphing over in my hand. He DID know what he was doing the whole time! That kid knew he could outsmart me with a bait and switch. My eyes narrowed ever so slightly when I calmly say, "Sticks belong on the ground, sweetie."

How in the world am I going to navigate this situation?
I cannot wrestle a toddler for a wand. That just sounds crazy...
So, I watch carefully as little guy is running aimlessly (or so he wants me think) around the park. I offer to trade the stick I have now with the new object of my desire to no avail. In fact- he is now drumming the park sign with the perfectly knobby, dark, smooth stick!!!

If I ask him to put the stick down again, I know from past behavior that this boy has escalated to the 'stomp on the stick as soon as it hits the ground' stage. I must be stealth. I must use my head. While Hermoine's wand is being abused against the sign, "If you hit the sign again, I will take away the stick" I warn. That boy turns and looks at me with reckless abandon and starts sprinting around with my intended!

Well folks, I was wearing my running shoes- so run I must. And so begins the game of cat and mouse with me just waiting for the boy to hit some object with the stick so I can coax it out of his little hands. After much running, he finally stops at a tree and starts drumming away. I win!
With my firm voice (not trying to sound ecstatic, no doubt) I say, "Please hand me the stick." And with just a little hesitation, the little guy hands over the ultimate in perfection. Yes! I did it. I wasn't expecting anyone to see me tuck the wand into my waistband and under my shirt. But the lady walking through the park was looking at me with same expression you are probably wearing while reading this ridiculous story.

I will say this- Kate's costume will be fabulous.

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