Turning No into Yes: Jane gets played big time

Semi-sweet chocolate chips

Setting, foot path in our off-leash dog park. Actors: Jane. The kids. Dogs in background. Random stranger on foot path.

Random stranger on foot path: Are those dog treats?

…and I look at her, and I look at the metal bowl in my hand, and I chew and swallow, and say:

Jane: Um, no, chocolate chips.

RSOFP: Oh. You feed your dog chocolate chips? I thought chocolate was bad for dogs?

Jane: Um… yeah, these are for me.

…and this is the moment where she gives me The Look, and I feel the urge to explain that we were all out of all other chocolate in the house, see, no bars, no individually wrapped Hershey kisses, nothing left in the Hallowe’en or Easter stash, nothing except for baking chocolate chips, and it’s sort of warm out, and if I had just taken a had a handful of them on the walk, they would melt and be all gross and squishy, so of course I’m carrying them in a bowl…

…but then I realize that there is nothing I can tell her that transforms me from the “the crazy lady with bowl of chocolate chips I met on the hill,” a central character in a story she’ll be telling all and sundry soon. In fact, if she’s a blogger, she’s already composing the story in her head. And if she’s not, she’s trying to encapsulate me in 140 characters for Twitter. Or for her Facebook status update…

So I just keep on chewing and walking.

Question: But why were you going for a walk with a bowl of chocolate chips?

You really want to know? Perhaps that’s the point of the story, in fact. See, it started like this:

Cinder: Mom? Can we go out for burgers at Peter’s Drive-In tonight?

Jane: No, baby, not tonight.

Cinder: Why not? What were you planning for supper tonight?

Jane: Um… planning… um… well… let me think about it, ok? I’m not saying yes–but let me think about it.

Cinder: And see, Ender, this is why, whenever an adult says, ‘No,’ it’s worth your white to ask, ‘Why not.’ But it can’t be a whiny, high pitched ‘Why not’ like you use when you usually say you want something. It has to be this very calm, reasonable ‘Why not,’ and then you kind of make Bambi eyes while you do it…

Jane: Jesus, Cinder, I’m right here! If you’re going to give your brother lessons in how to manipulate his parents, shouldn’t you wait until we can’t here?

Cinder: It’s kind of more fun to do it in front of you. And then, Ender, if you really want to seal the deal, you offer the Mom some chocolate…

Flora: One step ahead of you, bro. There you go, Mom. Sorry, we’re all out of the good stuff, but I found the chocolate chips. And I even put them in a bowl for you.

And that’s why I was on the foot path, with the dog and assorted children, and a bowl of chocolate chips. Which they didn’t attempt to share at all.

And as we are nearing home:

Cinder: So, what do you think, Mom? Peter’s–where, even if we all get milkshakes, it’ll be less than $40 or so, and no need to tip, or sushi? The last time we had sushi, it was like $102 with tip and tax, wasn’t it? So, what do you think?

Goddammit. Little manipulative beasts.

What do you think they had for supper that night?

Some fun recent stuff from Undogmatic Unschoolers:

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A sample of what I’ve been doing for a living lately: Making productivity measures sound sexy. Or at least… funny.

P.S. I might have a chocolate addiction. Fine. So be it.

P.P.S. Bloggy friends, I will be back in commenting form as soon as it starts raining from the sky, and not from the clients. I’m going to try to hop here today:

…cause some of my favourite people hang out there, so if the world cooperates, I will see you at your cyberspaces today. Fingers crossed… xoxo Jane

24 thoughts on “Turning No into Yes: Jane gets played big time

    • Later that evening, Cinder and Flora were teaching Ender how to make Bambi eyes. Fortunately, they were failing: he just looked evil and creepy. I can still say No to him. Every once in a while.

    • Good genes, I say. Good genes. Although every so often, I think–man, life would be easier if they were a little dimmer. Not totally stupid… but just a bit less sharp…

  1. My son is just learning his way around Manipulation Station. He’s the conductor and I’m just a weary passenger.

    Just when I thought I would be too smart to be played…it’s hopeless, isn’t it?

  2. Ha. I think I said this on Rachel’s post one time, but my husband manipulates me this way; it’s only a matter of time before my son does. (ps – also addicted to chocolate. see! you have to move to Brooklyn so we can be IRL friends!)

  3. The only thing I’m taking away from this post is that a fellow WOMAN gave you The Look for eating chocolate chips. That’s inexcusable and warranted a kick in her shin. P.S. Love that you linked up at the Mixer today–it’s great to see you in action and I know it’s hard to find time to do everything, so THANK YOU for visiting lil’ ol’ me when you can. You’re super 🙂

    • I feel I’ve been a very bad blogosphere citizen lately! Kind of rainy cloudy Friday today and all comparatively quiet on the client email front, so I hope to play a bit more online today and catch up with folks. Thanks for maintaining MTMM while slackers like me screw off…

  4. Doesn’t everyone eat chocolate chips out of a bowl? I think learning manipulation is a skill developed early and honed as we age. Some are just much, much better than others (and it sounds like your three have it down). For the record, I’d happily eat chocolate chips out of a bowl (my own, so we don’t have to share) while out with the kids and dogs.

  5. Manipulation is an indicator of intelligence. I’m a teacher . . . I know this kind of stuff. 😉 I’m there with you, both on the chocolate addiction and the manipulation by children!

  6. I fully expect this to happen to us one day, when they can both speak in complete sentences. They already tag team us with their crying, yelling and sad eyes. At least I think they’re doing it on purpose. And I would never judge anyone carrying around chocolate in any form.

  7. Pingback: Quote This: Galileo on knowledge from within | Undogmatic Unschoolers

  8. Your kids will go A LONG WAY 😀

    Ender’s attempts at Bambi eyes reminds me how I once tried to get my 4 year old daughter to practise a “contrite” look after she got in trouble for smirking when told off at school. Just as well she’s homeschooled now! 😀

  9. Pingback: I’m the adult: not burdening children with responsibility for fixing our black moods | Nothing By The Book

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