Today, Cloud found a toy in the trash. It was an orange zebra eraser-thing, the tiniest piece of junk that you ever did see, and its legs were removable. The only thing Cloud has ever done to it was remove its legs and strew the bits all over the kitchen.
I found the body and one leg under some mail this morning and threw them away.
Later, when I was cooking lunch, Cloud looked up at me and asked, "Trash?" He was holding the zebra and his foot was on the trashcan pedal, holding it open.
"I threw it in the trash," I explained. "It's broken. It has no feet. The feet are gone."
He looked up at me mournfully.
"It's broken," I explained again, emphatically, not bothering to add that he was the one who broke it. "Put it back in the trash."
He did so, heaved a heavy sigh, and went off to look for something else to play with.
A difficult lesson to learn, but he survived it.