My eldest daughter is not yet three years old, but she is already mastering her negotiating skills. We make rules, and she does not like it.
“You can have one popsicle, and then that’s it. OK?” Silence.
“Ithnan.” [two] She holds up two fingers, concentrating hard to keep the other fingers down and the two staying up.
“No, one. Do you want red or green?”
“Ithnan bosico. Wahid ahmaw, wahid akdaw.” [Two bosicos. One red, one green.]
I sigh. We go through this routine a dozen times a day, naptime, pottytime, mealtime, bedtime. When she wants something to drink, she attempts to negotiate the best option between what she would most prefer and what she would least. Milk in sippy cup-juice in sippy cup-milk with a straw-juice with a straw-just milk-just juice.
And finally, after tears and me turning to walk out, surrender comes. Ma bil shafata…. MAAAAA. Ureedu MAAAAAA FATTAT!
So with the popsicles, I wanted her to see that just one was a treat. Two was a long shot. And I’m very good at sticking to limits.
She relished her red bosico. “Mmmmmmmmmmmm,” she said with the exaggerated animation of a kid on a cereal commercial. Grinning, red juice running down her chin, dripping onto her shirt which would now have to be pretreated with Shout. Smaller, smaller, smaller, then the last piece of red ice slipped off the wooden stick into her open mouth.
Mouth still full with popsicle, she says expectantly, “Ukhwa.” [Another.]
Green is the color of grass, the flavor of limes. These popsicles are just 100% fruit juice, and I need 10 servings of fruit a day. Wouldn’t you like another serving of peace and quiet? I’m sure she would have said all of this if she could.
Instead, she begged in her two-year-old vocabulary and pleaded seriously with her juice-stained cheeks. When that failed, she resorted to wailing the virtues of green popsicles for the next three minutes, when she promptly found herself in time out.
Like I said, I have no problem sticking to limits with our world-class negotiator.