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The Great Negotiation

by bkhoury on December 01, 2011

We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  This year it feels like the table wasn’t even cleared before the Christmas craziness kicked in.  Will has finally reached the age where I can lord over him the fact that Santa doesn’t bring toys to naughty boys and he had better be good.  I do admit I feel a tinge of guilt propagating this fantasy.

Despite my lectures about everything we have to be thankful about, the boys didn’t quite get Thanksgiving other than the fact that it was a party where there is “fire” on the table and they get to eat pie! Oh and did Will eat pie. He has also reached the age where dessert has taken on a new importance in his life. And as a mom, I have shamefully taken full advantage of this fact.

Before we even sit down to dinner, William will give himself a pep talk to eat his food. “Mom, I’m going to eat all my food so I can have dessert.” I start out the meal very altruistically, “Will, you just eat whatever you like until you have a full tummy.”  This tactic actually does work very well.  It puts the “control” back into his court.  But then, inevitably, halfway through the meal both boys start feeding off each other’s behavior (i.e. doing the dinner dance).  I try really really hard to bite my tongue, but I just can’t help myself, “Will, if you want dessert you need to sit down and finish your meal.” 

And the negotiating commences.  “How about I eat three bites?” 

I nonchalantly respond, “How about you eat it all.” 

“How about five bites?”

I’m secretly pleased he knows five is more than three.  He senses my weakness.  “Ok I’m going to eat five bites.” Which he proceeds to eat like it’s the best thing he’s ever tasted.  “Now may I have dessert?”
His food his gone. He has successfully negotiated his dessert. We should all be happy right?  Then why do I not have the same satisfaction he does? Am I rewarding him for something that should be expected of him?  Or should I just relax and be thankful?

  • Relax and be thankful!  Most days, I’m negotiating with myself to make sure I fill up on veggies before I hit the chocolate.  It’s a life skill you’re teaching him.

    PS—love the “fire on the table!”

    By Jennifer Davis on December 3, 2011 at 02:45 PM
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