negotiating with terrorists

Okay, Tristan, let’s have a talk, you and me. Lately, you might have noticed I’ve been saying “no” quite a bit. I can tell that you think it’s cute when I act like I’m in charge. I know it might be a little bit confusing when I am saying “no, no, no” but I’m laughing a lot. And sometimes, it seems at random, I exert some kind of discipline. Maybe during lunch on Tuesday, you smacked your brother in the head and nothing happened, then today you did the same thing and got your fork taken away. Perplexing. Sometimes I try to prevent you from getting inside the dishwasher or the oven or from writing on the TV with a marker. It seems like I am perpetually trying to keep you from living your dreams.

I’m going to need you to level with me, though. No more lies. When I ask you if you stink, no more running away as fast as you are able with a loaded diaper, yelling, “I NO TINK!” I think we are bigger than that. Honesty, unless it is me lying about how many cookies are left in the box. Also, raisins are candy. 

Sometimes in life, you can’t find the help you’re looking for. And even when you yell “INEEAGRUNGAR” as loud as you can, repeatedly, for one hour, I might be unable to locate the grungar, because that is not a thing. Let’s reason. Let’s watch cartoons, okay? Let’s watch a lot of cartoons, because that is a lot like a grungar. 



Another thing we need to talk about is humor. There are times when you hit the window very, very hard with a blunt object while laughing hysterically. I don’t want to try to quantify comedy, it’s subjective and we both know that. But when I ask weakly for you to please quit breaking the house, I am not shooting for “funny”, even though it seems like I have you in stitches. Other times, when you try to empty Daddy’s file cabinet and I am laughing but Daddy is not, I might be sending a mixed message. Let’s play with toys. How do you feel about toys? We have a lot. Despite your current preferences, you might find blocks and squishy animals every bit as fun as screwdrivers and coasters. Agree to disagree, got it. 

Listen, I don’t want to get on your bad side. I think we all remember the incident when I tried, absurdly, to make you eat dinner instead of cookies, and you screamed until Daddy put you to bed with no cookie. It was a bad night for all of us. I admire your persistence, it takes a lot of dedication to repeat the word cookie until you fall into a sweaty and frustrated sleep. When you wake up the next morning, cheery and smelling like the bowels of hell, we will be friends again. I might need to change your diaper, but you have to believe it’s not something I want to do, so let’s just try some cooperation. Okay? Please? 

I think we’ve covered a lot of ground today, good progress. We both have things we’d like to happen, changes. So, let’s compromise. I am prepared to give you whatever you want, instantly, as long as you stop screaming. Also, if you make a really cute face, I will give you whatever you want, instantly. Okay? Okay. Good talk. 
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