metro mama

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Art of Negotiation

My daughter is no dummy. Lately every transaction with her is a complex negotiation. Take dinner time for example. I always try to put on her plate: a green thing, a protein thing, and something she likes, like pasta. So a typical conversation during dinner goes like this:

Cakes: Pasta!

Me: Do you mean more pasta please, mommy?

Cakes: Buddy! Pasta!

Me: If you eat two carrots you can have some more pasta.

Cakes: [holds up two fingers]

Me: Yes, two!

Cakes: [eats precisely two carrots]

Cakes: (with mouth full and carrots falling out on floor) Buddy, more pasta!

It’s like this all the time lately. Clean-up negotiations are intense. Teeth brushing talks are exhausting. We have many debates over the number of stories at night. I start out by offering two and let her barter up to three. But I always get suckered into at least four, sometimes five. McHotty is even less an opponent for our calculating Cakes. He’s usually good for at least seven stories.

Anyone other suckers out there?



Blogger ewe are here said...

Negotiating with our two year old can be very draining. And I really resist getting sucked into it... but yet, it happens.


5:49 PM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

We went through a LOT of this for a while, and we still do it at dinner time and at bedtime for numbers of pats, hugs, and kisses. At first I hated rationing kisses, but now I figure if it's the only way out of the room, that's how it has to be, so we make a little joke of it. "You don't want any kisses, do you? What? You do? But just one, right?"

6:48 PM  
Blogger Ms. Porter said...

Each stage has it's good and bad doesn't it? We have just entered the "why?" stage.

8:12 PM  
Blogger Denguy said...

I never negotiate. Never. Honest. I never do it. Really. But my wife is a HUGE sucker.

8:42 PM  
Blogger nomotherearth said...

We do this a lot for dinner. He'll get more pasta if he eats at least one bite of vegetable. Better than nothing, right?

I don't negotiate at bedtime, though. I'm too tired.

10:34 PM  
Blogger SciFi Dad said...

Tonight we went with a half hour of Diego instead of stories before bed.

Yeah, she's got me whipped.

10:35 PM  
Blogger motherbumper said...

I have the word written across my forehead - does that count?

10:56 PM  
Blogger bubandpie said...

I'm the softy in my family - hubby can get Pie into bed in half the time it takes me.

11:08 PM  
Blogger jen said...

they are all little wheeler dealers, no doubt because they are so successful at it. mine had no green thing, and even some ice cream. take that, mommy!

12:05 AM  
Blogger kgirl said...

unfortunately, bee thinks that 'special treats' (like a tv show or 2 chocolate chips) are now the norm, and uses them as a bartering tool before doing many things i ask. (though dinner is never an issue.) sometimes i cave, but sometimes she knows that there is no chance in hades that i'll give in. she asks anyway.

8:42 AM  
Blogger Beck said...

C'mon, buddy! Pasta!
I have no idea how to get a two year old to eat. Good luck!

10:01 AM  
Anonymous ali said...

oh my god. i'm the BIGGEST sucker.

3:00 PM  
Blogger Kyla said...

KayTar doesn't understand bargaining, so I'm in the clear there. However, we are working so hard on her speech that if she asks for something properly, she pretty much gets it, as long as it isn't harmful or ridiculous. LOL.

7:07 PM  
Blogger Lisa b said...

Mealtimes here are exactly the same, or I should say were, she's upped the ante and wants the pasta but won't eat the carrots.
Now its a battle of wills.

9:58 PM  
Blogger crazymumma said...

Nope. I turn into a bitch after 7:30.

My way or the highway. I need to survive, if not conquer.

11:09 PM  
Blogger Daisy said...

Your child can grow up to be a star bargainer and support you in the style to which you'd love to become accustomed.

12:25 PM  
Blogger something blue said...

Seven stories! McHotty's going to be handing over the car keys when she's five. hee hee

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Naomi (Urban Mummy) said...

Ah yes...the negotiation of getting the child to eat.

I had such a good eater. Then he turned 2. Or something.

What has worked for us lately? Telling him that he cannot eat the *insert item here*. As in...

put a piece of broccoli on the fork. Hold it up and say..

"Don't eat me. Whatever you do, don't eat me. *mouth opens, bring broccoli closer* Nooo!! Don't eat me!!! You can't eat me..."

And so forth. Actually works. Of course, sound effects help, and stopping midsentence as broccoli gets eaten elicits giggles.

Yesterday he even asked me to tell him not to eat the pasta. Yes, really.

10:29 AM  
Blogger b*babbler said...

I'm with crazymumma.

I definitely have a time at night after which I switch off. I don't see much room for negotiation with the Peanut in the coming toddlerhood, at least in the evening, as I *really* need "me" time.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Alley Cat said...

In my opinion, the absolute worst part of being a mommy is feeding time. We sometimes let her watch a video if we are not all eating together, and I have to turn it off to get her to take a bite. I let it play for a while, then I have to turn it off to get her to take another bite. And so on. Me? A sucker? You bet!

9:47 PM  
Blogger Nadine said...

Luckily we haven't entered this phase yet with Tim! Good luck with getting your little one to eat.

2:59 PM  
Blogger DJ Grammar said...

I'm fascinated by your infant's hunger for "narrative"; by this I mean her appetite for stories.

I can still remember my father's reading "Rocky of the Grand Canyon" to my brother and me.

4:28 PM  

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