The following exchange is wonderful though. He was sitting on his mother's lap, and she was getting him ready for "quiet time" (the time previously known as nap time). His parents like to give him choices, probably in an effort to make him feel more in control despite the many forces beyond his control. So she asked him, "Will you want your aunties to read you a story before quiet time, or would you like me to?"
He responded, epitomizing his life at three and a half, "I won't like anything!"
So there you have it. We eventually did read him several stories though, and he enjoyed them despite himself. He enjoys plenty of things -- he just won't admit to it, nor agree to them if he can.
Like when we went to the beach yesterday. He grumbled about the stroller ride, and he grumbled about the sunscreen, but once we got in the water he had a grand time. He pranced up and down, going fearlessly as deep as his shoulders, bouncing through the lake, talking up a storm. "I think this is the beach I wanted to go to," he told us several times. "This is where I wanted to go."
We built sand castles, and we dug pools for the water, and we chased a lot of fishies. Every time we tried to get him cleaned off, he would roll in the sand again. Finally we just gave up, and he spent several hours almost completely covered in sand. Before we even finished with lunch, he crashed on the blanket into a three hour sandy and exhausted nap.
Later that night we went to Millenium Park to have a picnic and hear an orchestra concert. We had brought a bunch of yummy food -- cheese, bread, pate, taco fixings, and fruit. He paced around the blanket several times, not eating anything. "I want a different thing," he kept saying. So my sister generously offered to take him to the snack bar to look for something different.
They came back, and he was eating a giant ice cream bar that was dripping all over him. Perhaps it wasn't so much that the ice cream was so big, but that he is still so very small.
We were all amused that he had managed to coerce his auntie into letting him have ice cream for dinner. But really why not... one day of eating junk food isn't going to do any harm. He was happier, and that made the rest of us happier too.