The Negotiator and the Manipulator

Let me be honest. I love my daughters more than I can ever fully express. However, I fear we are raising a team of diabolical master planners. Beware world, lest you fall to the powers of Phoebe and Zoe.

For the prophets said, unto you shall come a tenacious negotiator and a mighty manipulator. They will appear cute, yet will unleash an age of parental oppression.

THE NEGOTIATOR: Phoebe loves to haggle. She’s four and, I repeat, she loves to haggle. I pity the poor future salesperson who will deal with her. If my mother-in-law offers her some pieces of chocolate (let’s say two pieces), Phoebe will ask for ten.

P-“How bout ten, Nonni?”

N-“How about two?”

P-“How bout eight?”

N-“How about four, Phoebe?”

P-“Okay, Nonni.”

Granted, I am of the opinion that if a grandparent wants to spoil their grandchild, they’re allowed. But Phoebe will try this with everyone on just about everything. Maybe she can watch “Sofia the First” AND have a story? Can she take a toy in the tub with her? How about TWO toys? And in the case of her parents, if it doesn’t work with one she will try the other.

“Mommy, can we go to the cat food store? Maybe Daddy can take me.”

“Daddy, can we have a treat? Maybe Mommy can get me a treat.”

She’s determined, I’ll give her that. And she knows how to be cute about it.

THE MANIPULATOR: Sweet little Zoe. Full of great big feelings and perfectly content to play with your emotions to get her way. She just turned two last month and she is becoming more and more of a troublemaker. And she is queen of the big “boo boo” face. Did you just do something she doesn’t like? Here comes the little pout and the teary eyes.

“Poor little Zozo. Here we’ll give you snuggles.”

Just like that, myself, her mom, or a grandparent scoops her up for a snug. She has poked at our squishy spots and struck gold. Oh, and forget about it if her sister gets a treat a Zoe doesn’t. Here come the big feelings! Quick, someone fetch blueberries or some crackers!

Now,Lisa and I genuinely love that Zoe is a sensitive little thing. But I’ll be damned if she doesn’t now how cute we think she is. As much as we may not want to admit it, she can play both of us just as well as her sister. Diabolical, I tell you.

Do I really think this is all that different from what other parents deal with? Not really. Do they always get their way? Definitely not. Which then leads to little meltdowns, time outs, taking toys away, and an early bedtime. It’s a pre-schooler and a toddler. This is all to be expected. And at the end of the day, these girls have their good days and bad days like anyone else. And there will be more as they continue to grow.

I realize I have a bias as a parent, but I think that Phoebe and Zoe are both pretty good girls. And I will do my best to make sure they grow into good people and amazing women. Hopefully, they won’t drive me totally nuts in the process.

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