Negotiation Abomination

I am told that one of the many developments in the third year of life is the ability to negotiate.  When your kids turn three, suddenly your house turns into a Middle Eastern bazaar.

Kid: “Can I have a cookie?”

Parent: “Not until you clean up your toys.”

Kid: “How about I clean up one toy and then you give me the cookie?”

Parent: “No, clean up all of your toys and then I’ll give you the cookie.”

Kid: “How about I clean up two toys and then you give me the cookie?”

Parent: “No, clean up all of your toys and then I’ll give you the cookie.”

Kid: “How about I clean up no toys, scream at the top of my lungs for a half hour and then pee on the carpet, eh?”

Parent: “Fine, have the cookie.”

As this phenomenon has unfolded in my house, one thing has become abundantly clear.  My kids suck at negotiating.  I will never, ever hire them to represent me in any business deal or trial.  They will sell me down the river all day long.  If you don’t believe me, here are a few examples of what they regularly do to themselves.

1.  The Carrot Conundrum

We were sitting at the dinner table the other night at the end of the meal and Addy wanted ice cream for dessert.  I told her she could have ice cream if she ate two more baby carrots.  She replied, “No FOUR more baby carrots.” Not wanting her to feel like I was an easy kill, I replied “No, FIVE more carrots.”  “OK” she said, and that was that.  She ate the five carrots.  Such a sucker.

2.  The Peanut Potato Chips

While eating lunch at the café at school on Monday, one of Addy and Zack’s classmates came over to say “hi.”  She was enjoying a bag of potato chips and my kids instantly wanted in on the snacktion.  “Mommy, can we buy those potato chips too?” they asked.  “Not until you finish your lunch, but if you eat nicely we can get them.” I replied.  “No,” Zack said “we can’t get them because last time you said that they have nuts and I’m allergic to peanuts.”  Bam, discussion over.  Potato chips were off the table.  And what’s really nuts is that Zack doesn’t have a peanut allergy!  Just kidding, he does…but I never said that those chips have nuts in them.  He made that up for the sole purpose of sabotaging himself!

3.  The Bedtime Battle

Zack was being a “baby jerk”© at bedtime a few weeks ago, refusing to get in bed, whining, screaming and convulsing on the floor.  We tried multiple approaches to get him to calm down and go to sleep, but he refused so we entered threat stage.  “Get in bed or we’re going to take away Bla Bla.*” we said.  “No, take away Bla Bla AND my camera!” he yelled.  “If you don’t get in bed in five seconds, we’re going to take away all of your toys!” we threatened.  “No, take away all my toys and throw them in the garbage!” he spat back.  We decided to end it there for fear that his next move would be an offer to have us cut off his pinky finger.  I guess, technically this is an example of him using an out of the box tactic to win the negotiation but it was risky, very risky.

So if you see a commercial on at 3 AM advertising the law firm of Addy & Zack, Esq. do not, I repeat, do not hire them to represent you in the Verizon Wireless class action law suit settlement you just got an email about.  Knowing them, you’ll end up owing $5 million rather than collecting the $0.32 that Verizon overcharged you back in 1998.

© Z, 2011 (My friend Andrew coined this brilliant phrase and I use it at least three times a week.)

*Bla Bla is Zack’s favorite stuffed animal


2 thoughts on “Negotiation Abomination

  1. blowingoffsteamandmore

    Ha! I just mentioned this in a comment on your other post. I see you have already gotten to the negotiating stage. They do get better at it!


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