The other night, I was in the bathroom when my toddler started screaming. I of coursed opened the door, to see him about three steps up the stairwell, trying to carry up a large wooden stool (large to him, not to an adult) that had gotten stuck and now he couldn't figure out how to get it up the rest of the stairs. He was very frustrated, but I knew he wasn't a quitter by nature and that he often manages to figure out these dilemmas for himself. So, I let him struggle.
Apparently he decided it was too much for him, however, and after several more seconds of struggling, he stopped screaming and let go of the stool. It tumbled down the 3-4 steps he has previously managed to traverse, and as it did so a look of utter defeat went over my boy's entire body and he started to cry a most heartbreaking cry.
I sat at the top of the steps and invited him to come and get a hug, which he did. I comforted him as best I could.
But, the most surprising-- and gratifying-- part of the story has yet to be told...
My 4-yo took notice of the entire episode, and in a bout of brotherly compassion and love, he approached C and said, "It's okay, C, I'll get it for you." And he went downstairs, picked up the stool, and carried it up the stairs for his little brother. Then, he asked C where he wanted it, and C showed him. And C said, "Oh! Thank you Z!" In a tone that implied, "You are my hero!" And he was happy again.
There is a life lesson to be learned here.