Having a three year old and a twenty month old has taught me many, many things. The most important thing I have learned is how to negotiate. My husband prides himself of his negotiation skills, he is great at convincing people to do things, he has scored us great deals on cars, he has sweet talked his way into free drinks and several other discounted items. However, no one can convince our three year old to get out the door in the morning like I can, and no one can get my youngest to bed like I can. How you ask? I am a professional negotiator.

Now, some glass-half-empty mothers may refer to my approach as “bribery”, but, hear me out, I’m not bribing, I am truly negotiating. Here are some of my most recent accomplishments:

Example #1: My three year old would not leave the house this morning because she wanted a yogurt cup. Ok, sounds like a reasonable request for breakfast, but she had already had cereal, toast and fruit. Enough is enough! She opened the refrigerator door on her own and started grabbing at the yogurt cups. I could tell that my husband was seconds away from scooping her up and and carrying her to the car kicking and screaming. So here is what I did. I calmly talked with her and told her that if she proceeded to put on her coat and get in the car, that tomorrow she could have a yogurt cup for breakfast and bring one to school for lunch. She agreed to my terms and the morning went smoothly.

Example #2: My twenty month old refused to stay in her bed. She was crying and screaming and demanding that it was not time for bed, even though it was past her bedtime and she was exhausted. She wanted a bottle, she wanted a snack, she wanted to read a book, she was stalling. We came to an agreement; she could wear her favorite Umi shoes to bed if she hoped right into bed and stopped crying. Within ten minutes she was asleep.

Do you see the difference between negotiating and bribing? I’m not saying, “clean your room and I’ll give you candy”…well at least I don’t see it that way. But then again, maybe my lack of sleep, denial, and too many attempts at logical reasoning with a preschooler and toddler has caused me to negotiate away my own logic and reasoning. Ok, you can argue with me all you want…it’s effective!

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