Thursday, December 6, 2007

The art of negotiating with a 3 year old GIRL

The art of negotiating with a 3 year old GIRL. An experiment. No, I do not jest. It can be done. Really. It can. Sometimes. Occasionally. Well, it's happened once. Today GIRL and I worked on vocabulary. Compromise. It is a word, yes. Not one usually associated with 3 year olds, I admit. However, today I experimented. Otherwise known as taking a walk on the wild side. Not to be confused with the wild side of my misspent youth. Youth. *Sigh* Alas, those salad days are gone. No, the only youth around here these days is the deadly duo of BOY & GIRL. Bless those bloomin' rosy cheeks. If we could only bottle it.

It all started with the beginnings of a tantrum. GIRL and I had buzzed BOY to school, zipped into TarJAAY to find that our pictures were not ready (don't you hate that?!), and zoomed home only to receive a call from my girlfriend that she was on her way to our weekly mommy & me group at church...early. Of course I had to meet her! How many times do I get the opportunity of the gift of gab with girlfriends and free daycare. Once a week. And I'm always primed for it, baby! So, out of my URGENT need for adult conversation, albeit all of us are moms of young children and our brains seem to be half-baked at best, I approached girl mustering my "Mommy is confidently in charge" voice:

GIRL, that was Miss S who called and we need to head over to church for God, Mommy & Me.

NOOO!! I don't WANT to. I'm NOT ready YET!!

GIRL, I really want to see Miss S and she needs my help. [A small lie. Trying to work the sympathy angle... With a 3 year old? I know...SO pitiful that I actually thought it would work.]

NO! I want to play at home like you told me.

I'm sorry, GIRL, I know I told you that you'd have time to play before we go, but now we need to leave a bit sooner.

I'm. NOT. Going. TO. [She was pissed.]

[I pulled on my surgical gloves, got out my hardiest manipulative tactics, and slipped on my combat boots.] O.K., GIRL, I know what we'll do! We will do a compromise! That caught her attention. Suddenly, she was riveted. Perhaps it had to do with some kind of consumable treat?

A COMPROMISE! A compromise is when one person wants to do something and another person wants to do something else. So, you both find something that you can agree on in the middle. [Much gesturing of arms and hands for illustration and use of my "too happy, peppy mommy on some kind of Ecstasy induced trip, speaking in an unknown octave" voice.] I want to leave now and you don't. How about if we leave in 7 minutes? You have 7 minutes to play! O.K.?

O.K., Mommy.

O.K.! O.K. It worked. By GOD, I'm brilliant. At least for today. Yesterday, definitely not. And tomorrow...anybody's guess. You've got to take it when you can get it. And that means NOW. Today a compromise. Tomorrow, with my luck...a stalemate.

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  1. That was brilliant!!! Good for you for taking the time to think of it and I am so happy that it actually worked - don't you love when that happens - when something works that you never really expected? Way to go. Take care. Kellan

  2. currently working on this with a 2 year old who shouts "Share! Share!" nonstop. LOL---it means someone should share with her, not necessarily the other way around.

  3. The girl-child is a complex being - you are smart to pick your battles.

    (I think my 9 year-old tears up now more than ever. The best is yet to come? I am delusional...)

  4. JCK, you rock. And you scare me to death. I have not yet experienced tantrums or compromise with my 14 month old.

    I fear they are on the horizon!

  5. You are brilliant. Compromises are a beautiful thing, and I hope this is just the beginning of many more! I'm glad you got to have some adult keeps a mama sane.

  6. Mary Margaret (4 next month) will only leave if we give her a countdown of 5 or 10 minutes. And Liv, she does that share thing, too!

  7. And the best part about that compromise at this age? They have no idea how long 7 minutes is! Cut that in half and it's time to go!

    I've tagged you with a Christmas meme! If you have the time, have some fun with it :)

  8. Haha. You know the only downside is that she's going to start using this on you. Just watch. In six months, she'll be the one negotiating. If I had a dime for every time my daughter has said, "I'll eat my (_fill in the vegetable_) IF... you give me TWO scoops of (_fill in the flavor_) ice cream for dessert."


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