“I have an IDEA.”
Excitement gushes out of her big black eyes. Her entire face radiates.
Because she had an IDEA.
The problem is, she gets one of those about every other minute, so much that I can’t cope with those ideas anymore.
What they’re about?
Well, she’s almost four year old, so her ideas are about everything in life. Anything and everyone gets involved in her ideas.
“I have an idea: I’ll feed the baby today!”
“But baby, he’s fully dressed and you’ll make a mess. It’s not the right time”
“Well, in this case I have an IDEA. I’ll be very, very careful. I won’t make a mess”
“You know baby, this idea is not good enough because you always end up making a mess.”
“So I have an IDEA: we’ll dress him with his large apron, and I’ll stand on the stool. This way I won’t make a mess.”
And no matter what arguments I give, she always has an answer to give back. So you can figure that most of the time, when I hear that she has an IDEA, I’m not impressed because I know I’m off to a good battle.
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The good part is that the discussions are not tensed. They’re filled with excitement, with the hope that she’ll convince me.
Sometimes, when I’m in a bad mood, or when the IDEA turns out to be terrible, I make it clear to her that I’m done with the discussion, and I move on to something else. In those cases, she doesn’t insist much anymore.
And then sometimes, when I’m in a good mood, and when she keeps suggesting good arguments, I let her get it her way because that’s what kids need.
From time to time, they like to know that they had good ideas, that mom and dad listened to them, because if we don’t, who else would, right?
From time to time, when they’re not acting out, they like to know that mom and dad can thank back this behavior by showing that what they asked for matters.
Because it really does.
At least it does to me.
I want my daughter to know that when she’s excited about something, I am here, and will always be here to listen to what she has to share.
She is at a sensitive age, where kids learn to transition from the phase where they act out when they need to ask from something, and instead they learn how to use their minds.
As her mom, I would like her to know that if she asks for something, does it nicely, and comes up with the right arguments, there is a chance for her to get what she wants.
And this, my friends, is the first step towards becoming a true negotiator.
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