Let’s Make a Deal

If the art thing doesn’t work out for Emma, she will make a fantastic lawyer.

J. and I have been astounded lately with her knack for debate. She uses her negotiation skills for everything. Five more minutes of coloring before bed? Five, four, three more bites of her dinner. And she is famous for ONE more story before bed. I noticed the other night when I went in to tuck her in (Denise had put them to bed), that there was a stack of books, we are talking maybe 10 or 12 books next to her bed. I guess she found a tactic that works on Denise. She definitely has one that works on her Daddy. (Not so much on Mommy.) 🙂

For a time she would pose it as “Hey, Mom – I have a great idea! Let’s….” and so would begin her request. I loved it when she said this, she always said it with such enthusiasm, it almost didn’t matter what she was asking for. (Almost.)

But lately she has resorted to pleading…okay, let’s call it what it really is…whining. And what is the one thing Mommy cannot stand?


I think, however, that we have found a great tactic that is helping tremendously with the whining. (Listen up – all you Mamas with whiny 4-year olds!) I think J. actually started this with her.

E.: “But….(whiny, whiny, whiny little request).
M. (or D.): “Would you like to try again?”
E.: “OK! Mommy, may I have (insert request here) please?”

I am not kidding you…it works every time! And not only that, she is starting to censor herself! She will start and before I can even say anything to her she says, “Mom. Let me try again.” It is like a little game, and it is so beautiful. And it also makes me smile every time she does it.

Obviously we are not a whine-free household. Yet. But, I’m holding onto the fantasy. Someday.


7 Responses to “Let’s Make a Deal”

  1. 1 Colleen May 24, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    Sounds just great that the try again thing is working. I’ll have to jot that down somewhere in my mind for later with Zoe.

    I was a nanny in another lifetime. Sean was about 3 (he’s now almost 11!!!) He would pick things up from me all the time. One of my favorites was when he would tell me “Colleen, here’s the plan, we’ll go to the store first, then… we should go to the playground. Whatta ya think?” 3 years old and giving me the plan.

  2. 2 Christina May 24, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    I’ll have to file away that little tactic to try on Nadia in the not-so-distant future!

  3. 3 Becky May 24, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    Unfortunately, I don’t believe “whine free” exists! However, we welcome all creative tactics to keep as much whining at bay as possible.
    This is one method we choose to use with Katelyn. When she decides to let her attitude get the best of her, we calmly tell her that she needs to take her attitude to her bedroom and put it in her desk (or toybox or anywhere else we think of). The first time she actually did it was priceless. This works on all of them but right now, Katelyn is the biggest “whiner.”
    With time, we learn new tricks that work for us. Keep filling us fellow parents in on your “tricks.” It may just save our sanity.

  4. 4 msscatter May 25, 2007 at 5:09 am

    I think she got the debating skills from J. If I recall correctly, wasn’t he is some political something or other club when we were in high school? Sounds like she’s as smart as a whip (which she got from both of you) and she’s going to keep you on your toes for the next 45 years.

  5. 5 Stacy May 25, 2007 at 6:49 am

    We have a world class whiner in our house. We usually use, “I can’t understand what you are saying when you talk like that. Use your big boy words). That usually helps. Usually.

    Whatever works to keep the whining to a minimum!

  6. 6 Elisa May 30, 2007 at 5:11 am

    As they get older – and ever so slightly more reasonable we would ask,
    Parent: WHEN has talking like that ever gotten you what you want?
    Child: Never
    Parent: So, why do you think that will work not?

    Usually the behavior is then self-corrected! Early on with that strategy, it’s pretty funny to watch their faces as they try to recall a time when it might have worked!

  7. 7 Elisa May 30, 2007 at 5:12 am

    Oops – poor editing on my part…that should read

    Parent: So, why do you think that will work NOW? Darn – I hate when a typo totally steals the punch line!

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