Friday, August 6, 2010

Negotiating style of a 6 year old

I'm not a cat person, but recently and after months of hints by my daughter I caved in and got her a kitten.  Oh lord, now my son wanted a kitten now and I was not about to cave so easy.  God had other plans as a newborn kitten literally showed up at our front door within a couple weeks of my son's initial request.  We now have two kittens and a litter box that is busting at the seems and did I mention the aroma of a two cat house?. 

I do teach and require my children to take care of their pets and being a single father means that I'm the sole pet sitter for half of the year regardless of their efforts.  I was very impressed how my daughter without reluctance cleaned the litter box each and every time I brought up the subject, but my son is a different matter.  He gladly gets the scooper and attempts to go to work, but the sight and smell of poop makes him gag.  Even going so far as to cause him to run of to the bathroom to pray to the toilet goddess, much to my amusement I must add.  I quickly came up with a schedule that they must take turns in cleaning to the overloaded litter box.  One day I catch my daughter cleaning the litter box when it was clearly her brother's turn and she told me that her brother pleaded with her to take his turn.  Hmmmm, I'm impressed that she would help her brother this way, but....   There is another teachable moment here and then it occurred to me.  I told my daughter that the choice is solely hers, but she can ask for something in return from her brother.  My daughter looked a bit puzzled and so I provided her with some examples, such as having her brother clean her room.  However, the choice is hers and she can ask for basically anything she wants for her brother to do in exchange for her taking his turn at cleaning the minefield of poop.

Then it happened.  A couple of days later my son is wearing my daughters Cheetah costume from last Halloween running around the house.  Unfortunately, he was able to change before I could get the camera out and use this great moment for shear embarrassment in his later years.  At the time I really had no idea as to why he was dressed up in his sisters Cheetah outfit, until I saw that my daughter was cleaning the poop field.  She quickly smiled and said I took my brother's turn, but I told him he had to put on my Cheetah outfit.  Hahahahaha, no other response came to mind but laughter.  She reminded me that I had in fact told her that she could exchange her brother's turn for something else.  Yes I did and I'm very proud that she negotiated for something in return.  I hope my son, for his sake, elects to clean the poop in the future to avoid his sister's next idea that she shared with me.

Now the fact that my son would rather dress in his sister's Cheetah costume over cleaning poop is a whole other matter to ponder.


1 comment:

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