Friday, October 28, 2016

The Great Negotiator

I would like to think that I'm a good negotiator. After all, that is my job, as an attorney, I advocate and negotiate on behalf of my clients. And yet, my two year old, with his arsenal of manipulation, stands victorious more than I am here willing to admit. He has learnt to say "love you mama" which brings me the greatest joy but also laces me with liquid fear, for when he looks at me with his alluring aspect, his azure eyes with their emerald glitter, I am putty in his waiting hands and he is ready to rattle out a range of requests in rapid succession, while I am still imprisoned in the glint of his glare. I well understand that I need to be stronger, but it is proving a difficult task, particularly with his latest ammunition. For instance, when I have to change his clothes and bedding when he wets the bed, I know I should leave, but then his mellifluous voice ensnares me as he says "mama, love you! mama, cuddle! mama, cuddle!" and the next thing I know, I'm cuddling next to him and rubbing his hair as he smiles victoriously.

It easier when he simply resorts to asserting his contention and I can refuse, albeit he is very insistent and my general tactic has been diversion which works a charm and if not, I resort to bargaining. Yes, I bargain with my two year old and he is now well adapt at holding out and negotiating back so that we reach a modicum of consensus in which neither of us is upset nor well satisfied, the mark of a good compromise, I suppose. It is far easier to negotiate with my fellow counsels rather than my children. They know my weaknesses. When I was away the other day and my toddler was asking for me, my father told him that he had me on the phone and told L to speak to me and he said "mama, M is crying, home, home" knowing that when his little brother cries, I jump to action. Indeed, my 3 month old's arsenal is limited to crying, but it's a truly powerful weapon. His crying hits that pitch that lances me to his aid.

I find myself caught between their competing cries - each wanting my sole attention which I must somehow accommodate by dividing it. My two year old cannot stand when I nurse my baby, he cries "M, all done! M, all done! M, down! M, down! Mama! L hungry! L hungry!" and it crushes me that he is so distressed when I cannot stop nursing his brother. I don't have siblings, which may be problematic in being the mother of siblings and having to employ strategies that appease their want for sole attention without neglecting the other sibling. The aim is to foster closeness rather than incite jealousy and competition, but I am not sure how yet to tackle this. I trust it will be easier when M can crawl and I don't have to hold him all the time, for as soon as I hold him, L wants to be held too and invariably I end up holding both with L pushing M to one side and M crying in protest.

On another topic, I have to get Halloween costumes for the boys. Last year I dressed L as a ninja (I am particular to ninjas). For my outfit, I wanted something very simple so that I could with a simple prop wear black leggings, boots and shirt and get away with being in costume. I discarded Cat Woman as too boring (plus the last thing I wanted post-baby was to draw attention to my figure) and decided to go with Big Oil, which is legitimately frightening and which involved placing black strips around my back and arms. I was pretty stoked with what I considered my genius. As with the plight of most geniuses, nobody understood me with most people asking why I hadn't dressed up rather than even inquiring what I was, despite the fact that I had black paper streaming around me, which made me second guess my fashion sense. My husband was not amused either. He rolled his eyes and asked why I had to put a political bent on everything, to which I responded that there was nothing scarier than climate change... well, maybe that should be my outfit this year... hmm...I suppose we are sure to see many Trumps around....


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