Evan: (rummaging through his toys) I need the thing to put the thing in!
Me: (As I come in from the kitchen) What do you need?
Evan: (Code 1: a little frustrated) I need the thing to put the thing in!
Me: Which thing? What thing?
Evan: (Code 2: frustrated) I need the thing to put the thing in!
Me: (I don’t fault him. I have issues about finding the right words, but at least I do hand gestures) What’s the thing do you put in it?
Evan: (Code 3: upset) Mommy! I need the THING to put the thing in!
Me: (Keeping a cool and level voice) I know, but what do you put in it?
Evan: (Code 4: seconds from a complete meltdown of Code 5, which will result in tears, stomping, screaming, and an immediate evacuation to the bedroom for calming down period. It all hinges on my response.) MOMMY! I NEED THE THING TO PUT THE THING IN! (This time he gestures to illustrate a sword.)
Me: (Aha!) You mean this? (I pull out the sheath.)
Evan: (Immediate relief and back down to normal) YES!!! (Evan grabs the sheath and a sword lying at his feet. He places the sword in the sheath.) I like sword fighting! I like to fight bad guys! I like to fight robots! I like to fight Star Wars! (Off Evan runs.)