* * *Last night over dinner my son and I entered into negotiations over a suitable reward for him completing the 8-mile "Fall Classic" bike ride taking place this month. We're doing it as a family. They have several versions and I'm hoping I can manage that much. Before I became a mom, back when I was living in the Land of the Beautiful People (Southern California) I'd routinely ride 40-50 miles on my bike. Now I have to rest after checking the mail. It's embarrassing. Well, we're doing it anyway.
So, back to the negotiations. I think it's important in life that people learn to negotiate well. I'm not saying I'm great at it but I have a lot of practice at it in my work. Six years old is not too young to start, and already he has some mad skills, so much so that I'm starting to regret giving him such an early start.
His opening bid for finishing the 8-mile trip was $100. In exchange for that he would give up a year of his allowance. It was a great line of thinking in some ways. Get all the money up front and you gain control of the funds to create your own yield at your own pace. You are the master of your destiny and can do what you want, good or bad.
The big problem is he can't do the math yet and his offer meant he'd actually lose $104 over the year which is a terrible business decision. Just as I was about to agree to it (because I'm a heartless and terrible mother) his dad stepped in to save him. I slapped my hand to my forehead and groaned in agony. Success was within my grasp!
Rob explained his near catastrophic financial mistake and I volleyed back with an offer of $80 in exchange for six months worth of allowance. He rolled his eyes with a nice mixture of disgust and condescension. He said he'd be satisfied with $204 to which I responded, "No, definitely not."
At his dad's suggestion he added, "AND a raise to $6 per week." I'm sure now he's going to be really disappointed when it turns out to just be whatever he wants from the ice cream shop.
In any case, at that point the negotiations pretty much declined when we looked down to discover that Tristan had been under the table the whole time with a black JUMBO permanent marker drawing on the white linoleum what he claims was a horse.
In case you ever need to remove permanent marker from your white lino, get to it fast with a green scrubby and some Lysol 4-in-1 spray cleaner. And big biceps. (Thanks, Rob.)
* * *The same night, when I was tucking Julius in to bed he complained that our television system was messed up. For the second time the living room satellite box is possessed by the devil and keeps turning itself on and off. So we had to move the bedroom stuff to the living room so Julius can't watch TV at night anymore.
I suggested that perhaps we should get rid of all the electronics in our house and then all we would do is just read all the time. He looked quite alarmed, then I could see the light bulb go on with one of his schemes. "I know... we could sell everything for like $230 at a yard sale and then buy all new stuff. And then it would all work."
"I don't think $230 would be enough to do what you're trying to do."
He thought about that for a moment and then said, "Okay, then $350. Would that be enough?"
All I can say is that it's hard to be the mother of a budding capitalist.
* * *For some reason Tristan decided he'd clean the table after dinner. He picked up all plastic plates, silverware and stuff for the garbage. Without asking. So, I guess the satellite dish isn't the only thing in our house that's possessed. For all this he got a dime from his dad and later was found polishing the front of the stove and then in the bath I saw him scrubbing down the sides of the tub. When I asked him what he was doing he said, "Me skwub da baff wiff soap."
None of this is behavior he learned from me. He is his dad through and through.