My daughter is a master negotiator. It doesn’t matter if I’m telling her to get ready for bed, take a shower, do her homework, or clean her room, she will try to find a way to put it off by making a deal with me.
There is no place where her sales technique is more evident than at the dinner table. She hates vegetables, but loves treats, so she will inevitably request a Hershey’s Kiss in exchange for eating her asparagus.
Recently her little brother started following in her footsteps. But the other night at dinner, it was clear he still had some learning to do, when he complained, “Mom, I’m full.”
I said, “Okay, just take four more bites.”
You could see his brain working as he thought for a second, raised his eyebrows, and asked, “How about five?”
About a month ago, my son and daughter created a makeshift Christmas list by sitting down and circling items in a toy catalog. My daughter hasn’t wavered in her request for an iPod, a Nintendo DS and a Bongo Board. My son, however, can’t seem to make up his mind.
His first list included Transformers, a marble roller-coaster, and any and all things Little Einstein. I shopped, his grandparent’s shopped, and we thought the boy would have a very happy Christmas.
Roughly two weeks later, he decided he wanted a train, books, and some Webkinz. Then shortly after that, he took an interest in Backugan toys and added that to his list as well.
Despite trips back and forth to the store, and extra charges on the credit card, I thought we had things under control.
But all of that was before my son sat on Santa’s lap and we found he had changed his tune yet again. As he stroked the jolly elf’s beard, my boy put a sweet smile on his face, looked into Santa’s eyes…and asked him to bring us a horse.
The other day, I was snuggling with my little boy when I asked, “Who’s your favorite person?”
He hugged me and said, “You and Daddy both.”
I tickled him a little and teased, “Both? But I’m the one who feeds you, cleans up after you, does your laundry, drives you to therapy and school, reads with you, helps you with homework, and tucks you in bed.”
He replied, “Yeah, but Daddy throws me in the air.”
Yesterday morning we attended an annual Santa Breakfast at our church. The cafeteria hall is decked and filled with loud music, games, face-painting, greasy food, ugly sweaters and a visit from a very large man in a red suit.
A couple of years ago, this was a terrifying experience for my son. When Santa arrived, my boy grabbed onto his Dad and wouldn’t let go. Literally. I have a picture of my husband holding his arms straight out to either side, with my son dangling from his neck like a Flavor Flav necklace.
Yesterday wasn’t much different. Because when the DJ said that Santa had arrived and he was parking his sleigh outside, my son suddenly looked very nervous.
But, instead of grabbing Daddy’s neck, he grabbed his own rear end and then turned to the folks sitting at our table and announced, “I need to go poop!”