Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Bargaining Skills, Or Why You Could Work As A U.N. Negotiator

Tonight you met your match. We like to pretend we rule the roost 100% of the time, but it's really not true. Sure, we have rules and regulations, but when there are low-stakes requests, we will often let you have your way. Sometimes this comes back to bite us in the a**.

We have long said you could work for the U.N. in conflict-resolution. Or, really, we could, depending on the issue. Tonight the scene in our house reached critical mass: there was biting, hair pulling and, after dinner, a drawn out bedtime snack negotiation. In the middle, of course, there was sweetness and light. Our meal conversation was happy and interesting. But you are really attached to your bedtime toast. Tonight, however, you didn't mention the need for said toast until we were upstairs and ready to begin the other bedtime procedures. You did not need the toast--for you had actually been noshing on snacks before dinner as well--and so tonight we stood firm. You were, for lack of a better word, pissed.

"Okay, then -- I'll take 3 pieces or ZERO pieces!"
"I'm going to sleep in YOUR bed tonight!"
"The FIREMEN are going to come to our house and shoot FIRE at you!"
"Give me my DINNER BACK! You didn't let me FINISH!"

Eventually, of course, it ended because we refused to battle with this attitude. This behavior always surprises me because, well, you are my baby. I see, most of the time, a girl who is growing so quickly--who is strong and smart and reasonable.

During the turning moment, we had a talk in the dark hallway about letting go of wanting things, or, even, letting go of wanting a different feelings. Dad spoke of your Yoga practice and breathing. Finally, you held out your little fist, palm up, and opened it slowly, saying, "I'm letting go of want. The grumpy feelings are going away." In that moment, we all got what we wanted and needed.

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