Tonight’s schedule of events will be as follows:
ACT THE FIRST
- 6:30 PM: Arrive home.
- 6:31 – 6:32 PM: Negotiate whether or not small girls should use booster seats
- 6:32 – 6:33 PM: Negotiate whether or not small girls should wear bibs
- 6:33 – 6:34 PM: Negotiate whether or not small girls should have their food served in big pieces, or in small pieces.
- 6:33 – 6:34 PM: Negotiate whether or not small girls have water or apple juice, served in which cup, and in what amount.
- 6:35 PM: Eat dinner
- 6:36 PM: Negotiate whether small girls that are done can, in fact, leave the table.
Let’s skip ahead, here…
ACT THE FOURTH [we join in progress]
- 8:36-8:37 PM: finish reading second book, per previously negotiated agreement to read TWO books at bedtime, no more and no less.
- 8:37:05 PM: turn out light.
- 8:37:06 PM – 8:37:15 PM: Begin singing standard bedtime song.
- 8:37:15 PM: Standard bedtime song stopped summarily. Request issued for standard bedtime song (alternate).
- 8:37:16 PM – 8:40 PM: Standard bedtime (alternate) sung. Deep, even breathing detected from mattress on floor, as small girl is transitioning from crib to a big-girl bed.
- 8:42 PM: Tippytoe out of room, shut door. Begin negotiations with cat over feeding schedule
ACT THE FIFTH [a coda]
- 2:47 AM: Plaintive summons issued from room. Investigation reveals small girl curled up in ball on rug next to mattress on floor. Girl climbs back onto mattress, requests re-covering with each of precisely three family quilts.
- 2:47:10 AM: Re-covered, small girl goes instantly back to sleep.
I’m reasonably sure that our girl isn’t spoiled, and she’s not horribly bossy or demanding. She is, however, a three-year-old in a couple of weeks, and various folks have been telling us that two is nothing — three is the hard year. Hey! Thanks for NOTHING, people! You should have warned us that we were going to be living with an ombudsman. Kate is incredibly patient, picks her battles, is flexible for things that don’t matter (“yes, you may pick your own shoes”) and firm when it does (“no, you can’t pick the sandals to go outside in the snow. “)
I know that attrition is a powerful tool in negotiations. Boy, do I ever. 🙂
Update: Kieran tells his own bedtime story on his blog.