It’s starting. My 4-year-old son has mastered the art of negotiation.
He’ll want to ask for something he already knows will be a hard sell. “Mom, now don’t say no. Just listen. And just don’t say no.”
I sigh. “OK, what is it.” And you know what? It works. I’m such a pushover. When my little guy asks so sweetly and pleadingly for something, it’s impossible to say no and he knows it.
The same thing happens when he knows he did something wrong and punishment is inevitable. “Mom, now don’t get mad, even just a little mad. OK? Promise?”
Sigh. “OK, what did you do?” Again, he has complete success. How could I get mad when he prefaces his confession with that plea?
Or there’s the obvious deal-making. “So if I drink all my milk, and eat all my dinner, then I get two ice cream sandwiches, right? Two healthy things means I get two treats. That’s fair.”
I’m really in for it, aren’t I.
When my daughter asked if a friend could spend the night, I was in disbelief.
There was a snowstorm coming. Her friend could be stuck at our house for a couple of days. Surely her parents wouldn’t agree to this.
Maybe in a moment of weakness we were all won over. What’s another child when you already have three. We had plenty of food, and she’d blend right in.
Then, my oldest daughter found out. Her friend had invited her to spend the night, too. She probably had thought I wouldn’t agree, but if I was letting her sister have a sleepover, she thought she should, too … even if it was at someone else’s house.
I wasn’t thrilled about it. I had thought our family would be together during the snow. Some of the best family moments are when you are surviving a storm. It’s back to basics. Snuggling in blankets, drinking hot cocoa, playing games.
But, I kissed and hugged her and her dad drove her into the snowy night.
Come Tuesday morning, with snow still falling, drifts almost as tall as my 5-year-old son, I thought about how everything was OK. I’m sure both of my daughters – one here and the other at another family’s house – were enjoying this winter weather with a friend.
When my son looked out the window for the first time that morning, he excitedly said, “Snow, snow.” That was priceless.
But by noon when his energy had kicked in and he was banging on the girls’ bedroom doors because he wanted attention, I was pleased with our arrangement. At least we didn’t have a sleepy teen-ager yelling at him to be quiet.