Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Art of Negotiation

My four-year-old holds out her cereal bowl of which she's clearly only eaten maybe a quarter of the cereal I gave her for breakfast.

"How many more bites do I have to eat?" she asks predictably, commencing my most-dreaded meal-time negotiation ritual.

"587," I say, mostly to amuse myself (or to keep from screaming).

"NO!!!" she says slightly amused. We've played this game before.

"Why not?"

"Because I can't count to that!" she says smiling, "How much, mommy?"

"You can't count to that? OK, how about just 87 then?"






"I know, 77!"

"No, mommy!" I'm impressed she seems to recognize I'm going higher now.

"How about 107?"

"No! How about 10?" She asks wide-eyed, and I laugh at her bold, yet hopeful and earnest offer. It's very cute.

Yet I counter, "How about 17?"

"Ok." She leaves with cereal bowl in hand. The negotiation is over and I'm amazed at the outcome. Normally, I give in at 10. I must be getting the hang of this.

It's a lesson for us all -- start high and avoid getting suckered by the cute factor.

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