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But Sometimes You Let Me!

November 10th, 2008

Kenny.   My sweet negotiator.   Relentless in his pursuit of winning his way.

I used to let him watch TV (or more accurately a DVD) three or four times a week for no more than 30 minutes, usually while I made dinner.   Then we had Cooper.   I didn’t increase the  length so much  (ok, sometimes I slipped into the hour-long Sesame Street), but it turned into everyday.   Mostly so I could either shower while Cooper took his morning nap without risking Kenny waking him up, or so I could pump milk in the morning without Kenny staring nose-to-nozzle with the pump on my nipple.   Anyway, it had gotten to the point where every morning, Kenny would ask me when he could watch his show from the moment he got up.   Then keep asking me over and over until the allotted time.   Something like this:

K: When can I watch a show?

Me: You can watch Curious George when I take a shower.

K: When are you taking a shower?

Me: At 7:30, when Curious George is on.

K: Can I watch it?

Me: Yes.

K: Is it 7:30 yet?

Me: No.   I’ll tell you when it’s 7:30.

K: When can I watch a show?

And on it would go over and over until the magic hour arrived.   Finally Friday, I cracked.   I said, “Kenny, you can watch Curious George today, and then I’m unplugging the TV for a week.   No more TV!”   And Lo.   A new state of panic settled in.   “But sometimes you let me!” he said over and over the first day.    But, we have successfully completely day three and there has not only been no permanent scarring, but he has started to play better by himself when I can’t be there with him.   Ah.   The TV just may stay unplugged.

Kenny negotiates on everything.   On naptime, mealtime, bedtime, tv time, what to play, where to go, when to go there, and in what order I put he and Cooper into carseats.   If he asks for a snack and I say ok, the bantering begins.   He starts with chocolate cake and I counter with yogurt.   He counters with Goldfish and I respond with Tricuits.   It’s maddening.

(Actually it’s kind of cute when I think about it later when he’s asleep and not chattering in my ear…)

But seriously, I’m making it a goal this week to be firm and clear and consistent and work to break this pattern of constant negotiation.   To paraphrase Dr. Dobson, I will not negotiate with a three-year-old!!   I will prevail!   I will be in charge!

Now if I could only get Cooper to nap longer than 45 minutes at a stretch, I’d be Super-Mom!


  1. nolamom says

    A wise friend and mom always told me when her kids began negotiations with her and she found herself playing their game, she would ask herself, Who is driving this ship? I am driving this ship! I ‘ve never forgotten it. don’t always apply it but never forgotten it.

    November 11th, 2008 | #

  2. grammy says

    Alas, again, like mother, like son. We called you little “well but”, because you would leave the room, think it out, and 2 minutes later come back with another approach. It was amazing to watch your brain in that mode. But you turned out sooo smart, what can I say? He will be a great negotiator in the business world!!!!

    November 11th, 2008 | #

  3. Stephanie says

    Ever heard of Secrets of the Baby whisperer? It teaches you exactly how to turn that 45 minute nap into 2 hours! I just had my third baby and it’s worked with all of mine. My youngest will be 4 months old in 6 days and she’s been sleeping through the night for a month now, too. You should check it out!

    Loved your quote about Dr. Dobson. Wise guy, he is! Great blog!

    November 11th, 2008 | #

  4. a-licious says

    awwww, how I have missed your blogs and oh how i can SO relate…lol
    i agree with grammy’s post!! 😉


    November 12th, 2008 | #

  5. jenna says

    one day my 4 year old was relentless about having chocolate milk for dessert. he would not have that there was no chocolate milk powder. he must have had 15 solutions including dipping icing in milk, a hershey kiss in the milk, using chocolate chips, crumbling up chocolate cookie. he did not appreciate my years of cullinary wisdom in the transformational change icing would require to become one with cold milk. 4 yr olds are maddening at times, yet i giggle as i type proud of my boy for superior problem solving skills.

    November 13th, 2008 | #

  6. the mrs. says

    I had to laugh… and relate!

    We have a saying in our house, “we will not negotiate with terrorist” and in our house well, the little ones are the terrorist. But adorable ones!

    November 14th, 2008 | #

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