There are basically five stages of bargaining I will cycle through with my toddler almost daily. Each time I return to stage one, I think, “Maybe this time!” This time I’ll feel like I’ve won and actually taught him something.
Unfortunately when dealing with that toddler age, bargaining never seems to go in my favor.
Stage one: Optimism and resolution. This WILL happen; he WILL eat his 10 green beans. I’M the parent. He’s going to do it this time.
Stage two: Forced patience. I know he will give in; I just have to be consistent and keep offering it. I’m going to keep this smile pasted to my face so he doesn’t know how close I am to screaming and lowering my expectations.
Stage 3: Lower expectations. Okay, he WILL eat 5 green beans. That’s good enough. Or maybe…
“How old are you? Yup, three! So THAT’S how many you need to eat before you can go play.”
Stage 4: Panic mode. Try all the sounds, bribes, stories of airplanes and hangers, scare tactics, even fake cry so he sees how upset it makes me when he doesn’t do what I ask him to. Something has got to work! Because what if he doesn’t eat anything green ever? My kid will be so unhealthy and get teased at school and never find a girlfriend and own fifty cats and die young of diabetes all because I couldn’t get him to eat 5 freaking green beans tonight!
Stage 5: Give up. Yes! He ate ONE! Well, half of one. Well, he sucked on the tip of one bean for five seconds before hurling it across the room. That’s still a win!
Wash, rinse and repeat with literally every crossroad or teaching moment I encounter with my toddler.