When we were in St. Louis last month, several members of my family noticed that Daniel seems to have turned into a tiny lawyer overnight. He meets nearly every instruction given to him with, "How about this?" or "What if we do X and then do that?" Extra television, junk food, an extra few minutes before rest time; there is really nothing he won't try to negotiate.
Recently we were driving home from a late-evening event, and he'd had an early dinner. He asked if he could have a snack before bed, and I said I thought that sounded reasonable.
"How about some cookies?" he said.
"How about some fruit?" I replied.
"Okay, can I have an orange, then?" he asked.
"Can I have some milk with it?"
"Okay, so some milk, an orange, and cookies, then."
Seriously, this is how so many of our conversations go down. Being his parent requires constant vigilance against the onslaught of craftily-phrased demands. I wonder if this is what Monty Hall's parents felt like. Even when he doesn't get his way, he tries to work in a guilt trip, creating leverage to increase his chances of getting something else later. We're hoping one day that he'll be able to turn this skill into a profitable career as a realtor, union leader, or District Attorney.
On the way to tumbling Thursday, we stopped at the bank, where I turned down the teller's offer of a sucker for Daniel.
"Why did you tell her 'no thank you'?"
"Well, because you had a leftover Halloween sucker 30 minutes ago, and because we're on our way to tumbling, where suckers are not allowed."
"You know, Jesus lives in my heart."
"You know, I was going to put that sucker in my belly button so that Jesus could hold it. So now Jesus isn't going to get a sucker."
"I'm sure Jesus will forgive me."