I do not, by principle, negotiate with terrorists.
Apparently, however, I negotiate with 7-1/2-year-old boys and 5-year-old girls.
Oddly enough, I find them to be pretty darn similar on most counts.
Let's explore the similarities:
1. Terrorists and children both make highly unreasonable demands.
"Mom, can we sleep on the couches tonight instead of in our beds?"
Um. No. But thanks for asking! Run along now and clean up that tornado of toys you've got strewn over two bedrooms, the hall, the living room, and the kitchen, k?
2. They both have something to gain by their demands, while you get the short end of the stick.
"Well, if we can't sleep on the couches, what other options are there?"
What do you MEAN, if you can't sleep on the couches, what other options are there? There are no other options! NO, you may not set up the tent. In the living room OR outside. No, you may not trade bedrooms. You may sleep in YOUR rooms. In YOUR beds. WHY do you even want to sleep on the couches or in the tent??
"Um... we want to talk. And stay up really late."
Nothing good ever comes of either of those. Good Lord, he must think I'm missing half my brain. See point #1. And point #3.
3. They don't ever, ever give up. And they recruit others if necessary.
"But we both think it's a good idea, Mom! It's not just MY idea!"
Oh, good, drag your sister into this. She's supposed to be cleaning up her half of the tornado, you know... as are you, if we want to get back to the point *I* was trying to make. I'm also trying to make supper. You may NOT sleep on the couches. You may NOT sleep in the tent. You may NOT trade rooms for the night. Your rooms. Your beds. Heck, I'll concede that if you want to sleep on the floor, I'm okay with that, but YOUR floor in YOUR room.
"Can we sleep in the hall?"
4. They're very, very good at skewing your words to their purposes.
OMG no. Not in the hall. Dear heaven, not in the hall. I'd rather you sleep on the couches where I could at least keep an eye on you than have you both parked in the hall doing God only knows what.
"So we can sleep on the couches???"
NOT what I said. And tell me again why you're not in there picking up your toys?? Oh, right. Point #5.
5. They're both very good at dismissing anything they consider irrelevant to the conversation.
6. If worse comes to worse, they'll happily throw themselves under the bus for martyrdom's sake.
Cue meltdown because I'm "not listening."
In the end, Terrorist 1 and Terrorist 2 settled for getting to stay up half an hour later than their normal bedtime. I'm not sure how that made up for not getting to sleep on the couches since M1 can tell time but just won't take two seconds to look at a clock and M2 can't tell time yet, so as far as *they* know, it's 30 minutes past bedtime.... an hour early.
I do not negotiate with terrorists.