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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

"I will say no more"

"Can I have this candy?"
"I love candy! I don't get to eat it every day. So, can I have one more now?"
Not now.
"How come I can't have another piece of candy?"
You've had enough already.
"But, I just had 4 pieces. I want to have one more!"
I hear you. We agreed that you get to choose 4 pieces for now. And you did. So you are done.
"But the third and fourth were the same type so they don't count! I wanted 4 different types! So I get to choose one more?"
No. But, keep that in mind the next time you get to choose candies.
"But you never buy candy. I got it for Valentine's day from my friends! I want to know what this tastes like."
They all taste sugary sweet. Just save it for another day.
"But, why am I allowed only 4 now?"

"Can I watch another episode?"
No. You've just watched 3 in a row!
"But I love this show. So, can I watch one more?"
Three was the limit for this time, remember? Maybe another day.
"But, I don't want to see it another day, I want to see it today when it is more fun for me!"

"Can you play Pinch-Bottom-Monster with me?"
We just played that game for half an hour!
"Yeah, but that was not enough time!"
We set the timer and I said I'd play for 30 minutes and we did.
"But, Mama! That was too short! I want to play for a long time!"
You can play till dinner time, but I have to go and make dinner now. That's why we set the timer, remember?
"But, you did not play the way I wanted, so you have to play again and set the timer again for 30 minutes!"


Increasingly whining tone, mounting irritation at not getting the way, finding loopholes and negotiating wildly...

Well, you get the picture. Kids are natural that way.

Of course, there are many ways to handle it, depending on the child's age & maturity, the situation, and the nature of the request. Some work well, some don't at times. It's all part of the game of life.

I am glad that they are not at the stage in life where their hormones and sense of independence will nudge them to scream, "I don't care what you say, I am going to eat that 5th piece of candy whether you like it or not!" OR "I will watch as long as I want, you are not the boss of me!"

Keeping a neutral voice and being patient despite the barrage of pleas is not an easy prospect when dealing with skilled negotiators, especially when I secretly admire their tenacity and creativity during the process.

The kids have watched LotR several times. So, along the lines of "asked and answered" principle, to indicate that the topic is closed, I decided to quote King Théoden of Rohan when he thwarts Merry's attempt to sway him regarding participation in the war with a simple phrase comprising of 5 words.

The kids are tickled by it - especially when I attach a yarn beard and wear a cardboard crown like the king to deliver my final word. They even manage to stop their dogged persistence and laugh the tense moment away. For now. Phew!

"I will say no more."

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