Wednesday, June 22, 2011

We do not negotiate with preschoolers

My kids wanted to play Hullabaloo, and I told them we could play as soon as my son helped me clean up the matchbox cars he had dumped all over the floor. Here is our exchange:

Me: Please help me clean these up so we can play.

Kid: You do it. I want to watch.

Me: No, you dumped them. Now you have to help me clean up.

Kid: I like them out like that.

Me: You know the rules. When we (we??) dump out a basket, we can’t get out any more toys until we clean up.

Kid: But that’s really hard work. It’s too hard for me.

Me: Yes, it’s hard work for mommy to clean up too. That’s why you have to help me. Because you dumped them out and made all of this hard work by making a mess.

Kid: But I’m too comfortable.

Me: I want to be comfortable too. [God, kid, you have no friggin’ clue how much I want to be lounging on that bench being comfortable like you are right now.] But right now, if you want to play Hullabaloo, we have to clean up the cars.

Kid: [This one is my favorite.] I’m right behind you. Go ahead. [I put one in. He doesn’t move a muscle.]

Me: [eyebrows raised] Please come help me.

Kid: But I’m just so tired right now.

Me: OK, but if I clean them up, I will put them in the trash. Do you want to help me put them in the basket or do you want me to put them in the trash?

Victory. I think he actually cleaned up more than half of them in the end. I don’t know what that child is going to be when he grows up, but his negotiating skills are pretty awesome for a not-quite-four-year-old. Not to mention his cojones. “But I’m too comfortable.” Mutter mutter.

P.S. Please refrain from speculation on where he learned these excuses. Especially too comfortable and too tired.

P.P.S. Bonus. If you skip my half of this conversation, and read back only my son’s half, forget that it was spoken by a child, and add “in bed” as if his negotiations are fortune cookies, it’s kind of hilarious.

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