Three reasons why negotiating with a baby is a (mostly) fruitless endeavour

  1. They can’t talk.
  2. They don’t know what “negotiate” means.
  3. They do know that when you use that tone it means they’re not getting what they actually want.


I tried negotiating with my nine-month-old son the other day. It didn’t go as well as I had hoped, primarily for the reasons noted above, but we did learn more about each other. 

I think I was making things too complicated for both of us. He really wanted to eat his toasted O’s, but I had made him some mushy cereal. Not wanting to waste the cereal, I offered that he could have a toasted O if he had one spoon of mush. His mouth clamped shut, he raised one eyebrow, and stared at me without blinking. If he knew he had a middle finger, I believe he would’ve used it. The bright side is that now we both know what he really wants, and I don’t need to make mushy cereal again. Life just got a little easier!

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