the power of the elder

I love eavesdropping on the children. Often life is so bananas that you miss the moments when those who are making you bananas are playing nicely or, as was the case this afternoon, negotiating a sweet deal. Let me preface this story by saying it could have gone terribly wrong. Catcher and Scout (and Tillie, by association) could have ended up throwing things or scratching one another or running into the kitchen to tattle. But instead this is what I overheard...

First, it's Valentine's week at school. The anticipation of candy alone is enough to send the kids into a tailspin coming off of the sugar-rush hangover from Tillie's birthday last Friday. Put that together with children from Scout's class handing out Valentines, which really means candy, early (today!), and you find yourself with nuclear-bomb explosion potential in this house. After Catcher had finished his homework this afternoon, he caught wind that Scout was hoarding a few sweet treats in her room (she's not the best at A] keeping secrets or B] keeping quiet--literally, she has a loud voice). Big brother assessed the situation--remember, he doesn't like chocolate--and discovered that there could be something in it for him (specifically a strawberry-flavored lollipop). This is where my eavesdropping ears perked up.

Through the power of persuasion and his determination to get that lollipop, Catcher convinced Scout that because she had exactly three pieces of candy, she should keep the Snickers for herself (duh!), give him the strawberry lollipop and Tillie the blue dum dum. And just like that...it worked! There was no backlash with cries of "No way! This is my candy!" echoing through the house. There was no grabbing of candy that didn't belong to one's self. Instead, Scout was so excited about the deal that she came running into the kitchen to brag to me about it. I told her how I proud I was--wasn't this one of those parenting moments they tell you about to praise good behavior?--that she was sharing her Valentine's candy with her siblings. Catcher overheard my praise of Scout and sauntered into the kitchen saying, "Well, I'm the one who came up with the plan." Good work, children. I think I'll keep you around a bit longer...at least through Valentine's Day.

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