The hardest part of parenting, particularly parenting three and five year olds, is the constant negotiation.
It starts at 6am and doesn’t finish until at least 8pm.
“Mummy, can I go downstairs?” “Is your sun up?” “Well, there’s one star left.” “Then you need to go and read quietly.” “But it’s sunny outside.” “Go back to bed, it’s six am.” “But I’m hungry.” “Then you should have eaten your tea.” …
And so it goes on right through to
“Can I have three stories tonight?” “No, you can have two like normal.” “But these are short stories.” “It’s past bedtime already.” “But I’m not tired.” …
I swear if you sent mothers in to sort out the crisis in Ukraine it would go something like this:
“Russia, Ukraine, if you can’t play nicely, go to your rooms. I’m putting Crimea on a shelf until you stop squabbling.”
Failing that, I could send my son to handle negotiations. I’ve not seen him beaten in an argument yet: he can come up with a way round any problem.
“Mummy, when are we going to go on a bus?” “One day. We went a few weeks ago.” “Why can’t we go today?” “We’re going swimming today.” “We could catch the bus to the swimming pool.” “We could, but we might not get back in time to get your sister from school.” “But we could leave swimming early.” “We could, but the bus is expensive.” “You have money.” …
And on… If he were in the negotiations I’m sure Putin would end up saying,
“Fine, you have Crimea, just STOP TALKING.”
In the meantime, I have the trump card, the parenting phrase we all swear we’ll never use, until our child turns three.
“Because I said so!”