Negotiations with a five-year-old – just don’t

One of our air conditioning units has been out for a while now. Between dealing with insurance, extinct repair parts and forking over a few pretty pennies, I can finally say…WE HAVE COLD AIR! 

Luckily, we did have one cooperative unit that kept us comfortable even through those 100-degree days, but it played no part in cooling the girls’ rooms. So, we have been piled up on my bed and an extra mattress in my bedroom for the last couple of months.  

It has not been too bad honestly. Some nights were better than others. But you best believe after the A/C repair man walked out the front door yesterday I wasted no time getting their rooms ready and the mattress moved out of mine.  

When they got home from school, I was expecting the mixed emotions that I definitely received. Of course, Emerson (the pre-teen) was ecstatic. She went straight to her room and shut the door. She finally emerged from her dungeon to eat supper four hours later. Ashton (the five-year-old) on the other hand, was not as pleased.  

She peeked into her room and ran to my room and saw the mattress was indeed missing from the foot of my bed. She turned around and informed me that she was just going to sleep in the big bed a.k.a. MY bed. I shut that down before she finished getting the words out of her mouth completely. (I am only about three months behind on my television shows that are not kid appropriate.) 

She hopped on the bed and sat on her knees – eye to eye with me and said, “Mom, let’s make a deal.” 

I let her humor me. I am not much for bargaining, much less with a five-year-old version of myself. So, maybe I am up for a good bargain, but I just got my room back. I knew this was probably going to be good and let her make her case anyway. 

She said, “I will sleep in my room tonight IF you let me watch my I-pad for thirty minutes and I want to sleep with you still sometimes. Oh, and you have to leave the hall light on at night AND your bedroom door open.” 

This seemed pretty reasonable, so I agreed. The only thing I was thinking clearly about was the Netflix shows I was going to be streaming in a few hours.  

Nighttime comes. We ate, took a bath and made lunch for the next day. Emerson hops in bed, no problem. Never see her again until the next morning. Ashton grabs her I-pad and climbs up into bed.  

She reminds me that she may sleep with me one night this weekend and to remember to turn the hall light on.  

I kiss her goodnight and as I am making my way into my own room, I flip the hall light on and close my door. Ashton hears my door shut and I immediately hear her feet hit the floor. She swings my bedroom door open, glares at me for about 10 seconds and walks away not saying a word- just a tad bit intimidating.  

I regret agreeing to this bargain as soon as the hall light begins blaring into my eyes. It is like complete daylight in my room at this point. So, I make my way to her room and tell her that I cannot sleep with the hall light on because it is too bright. I then proceed to renegotiate. She agreed to let me turn her lamp on instead. So, I did and before I made it out the door the damn bulb blew.  

And the hall light is back on.  

About an hour later, I go to check on Ashton and see that she is fast asleep… I turn the glaring hall light off and climb into bed hoping to finally get some sleep.  

I am not sure what time it was, but a few hours later I woke up to a kid asking me, “Mom, what about our deal?” I do not remember much after that except the interrogation light switching back on.  

Basically, the whole point of this… Do not negotiate with a five-year-old.

(Paige Nash is a wife, mom, digital journalist for Webster Parish Journal and publisher of Bienville Parish Journal and Claiborne Parish Journal, who has learned the ins and outs of negotiations.)