Is there such a thing as the Fixated Behavior stage? Has someone unearthed a biological imperative for toddlers to latch onto a behavior and decide it must be performed over and over for days at a time? Of course there probably is, and it’s called FBS, and some pharmaceutical conglomerate is cracking the whip in R&D trying to come up with the drugs to counteract it. (And what a great idea that can be!)
FBS takes many forms. Over the weekend, one of Robert’s friends kept repeating “I can’t stop crying! I need something to feel better!” and eliciting awkward shrugs from Mommy. For Robert, the obsession is making imaginary pizzas. The little chef pulls on his apron—which is really both handles of a cloth totebag pulled over his head—and stands at the couch, which doubles as the prep area and oven (“Don’t sit there right now! It’s hot!”). The parent is the sous-chef, who retrieves the dough (“I’m rolling it flat in a circle!”), the sauce (“Pouring, pouring!”), and all the toppings, which have ranged from pepperoni to spinach to Puffins. Then comes the very careful business of sliding nothing onto his pizza paddle (a wooden spatula) and carefully balancing it before sliding it onto the sofa cushion/oven, which he freely admits he is not allowed to touch because “it’s dangerous and very hot.”
Today was Day 4 of this little playlet, which usually goes on for 45 minutes before the parent finally tires of eat-miming and notices that the “fridge” is empty. We have to get more pizza fixins! That’s when he yells “I’ll go with you!” and sprints for the door.