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“Didn’t you get tested?”

One morning last fall, my son sat on the subway platform and refused to get up. It was rush hour, and there were puddles of dirty water on the concrete. As the stream of commuters pushed around us, several people stopped to ask if they could help. I thanked them and shook my head.

“Henry,” I said brightly. “Do you want to go to school?” Henry loves school. Although I was seething with frustration, I had read the parenting manuals that encourage a person in my situation to redirect a recalcitrant child by focusing on future rewards.

Henry nodded without much enthusiasm.

“You have to walk up the stairs to get to school,” I reminded him, firmly grasping his hand.

Reluctantly, he got to his feet and slowly climbed to the street, stopping emphatically on each step. At the top, he sat down again. An icy rain was starting to fall.

“Henry, we’re going to school! Remember?”

He shook his head, pulling his hand away. I pulled back more energetically, thinking about everything I had to do once I got to work. Henry lay down on the wet sidewalk.

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