How to talk to a 3 year old and win.

The other morning at 6.30 I was woken by my daughter’s hot sweaty face pressed up to mine on the pillow asking ‘Do banisters have legs?’

I had to think about this for a while.

Not the bit about banisters having legs. I know banisters do not have legs even at 6.30 in the morning. I am not an idiot.

But when a 3 year old asks a question you should always think before answering. Three year olds are masters of taking any information you give them and using it in ways you never dreamed possible.

Fortunately on this occasion it simply meant that the rest of the day was filled with dividing everything in the universe into things with legs and things without which although annoying was thankfully harmless.

(Important advice: When you have the ‘which people have a penis’ conversation don’t go out in public for a while. It is surprising how many people fall into the ‘don’t know’ category.)

The majority of conversations you will have with a small child fall into one of two categories: Negotiations or Fact Finding.

In my former career as a TV Producer I spent a lot of time dealing with agents. Negotiating with a three year old is very much the same as dealing with an agent but a small child is unlikely to start wittering on about favoured nations or call you a c*nt and slam the phone down.

Almost all negotiations will be about biscuits, chocolate or otherwise.(And by biscuits I mean cookies not those scone like bits of crap Americans like to drown in gravy)

During the negotiations there may be tears from either party but every single negotiation will end with a small child consuming more biscuits than you had at first intended.

If you decide the limit is two biscuits they will invariably end up eating at least five, with a break after the third biscuit for tears and a foot stomping.

You will probably end up eating  the rest of the packet washed down with your own salty tears.

The only solution I have found is to limit the availability of biscuits. So far my campaign for supermarkets to start selling packets of one biscuit has not had the support I’d hoped.

I have tried to avoid all  contact with biscuits but this seems to be impossible.

Crunchy little tossers.

Try keeping a note of how often you are near biscuits you’ll be surprised. Biscuits, like people who may or may not have a penis, are everywhere.

If anyone has a foolproof plan for biscuit avoidance please leave a comment below.

Negotiations are the easy part – any conversation that ends with people eating biscuits can’t be all that bad.

Fact finding is where this shit get’s real. Anytime a 3 year old asks you a question you should stop and ask yourself:

  1. Why are they asking this question?
  2. How is this going to end up hurting me and those I love?

For example: ‘Mummy why do they walk the plank on Swashbuckle?’ could really mean ‘Mummy can I push my baby brother off the dining table onto a wooden floor chanting ‘Walk The Plank’ loudly?’

I say ‘could’. I mean ‘did’.

Obviously this was my own fault I practically told her to do it by replying; ‘I dunno because they’re pirates? That’s what pirates do, it’s funny I guess.’

Wrong answer.

As an angry red golf ball swelled up on Eeh Bah Son’s head my daughter cried accusingly ‘You said it would be funny!’

Of course I did.

Now who wants a biscuit?

Just one!

15 thoughts on “How to talk to a 3 year old and win.

  1. I too have questioned the morality of ‘Swashbuckle’ on Cbeebies, but my offspring love it so I figure I can look the other way (whilst eating biscuits).

  2. This made me laugh because it’s so true. My 3 year old wondered into our room at 1.30am and asked ‘why do crocodiles eat us?’ I was in no state of mind to be working out why she was asking and thankfully managed to divert her attention and get her back to sleep!
    Btw I whole heartidly support your campaign for single biscuit packets!!

  3. I laughed so much while reading this! I wish I had figured out a way to avoid inevitable biscuit related tantrums. My most successful method so far is to eat them all. In one go. I’ll admit though, this has its limitations. Man, I feel sick.

  4. Buy biscuits you don’t like (correction, buy some you don’t like as much as the others) – less likely to all be eaten by 2am

  5. Have two biscuit tins. The one your three year old knows about (this always contains three biscuits) and the one your three year old doesn’t know about (this one contains unlimited treats). NEVER confuse the two.

  6. Ha brilliant post. Not sure I have much advice as without biscuits I could not shut up my baby, distract my toddler, make a phone call, go to the toilet alone, make it around the supermarket with no tantrums etc! I never thought one day my motto would be Never leave the house without biscuits.

  7. Pingback: Don't blink - you are a parent | Don't blink - you are a parent | [insert your personal quirk here]

  8. Mini bags of biscuits are the way forward – once they’re gone, they’re gone. And little biscuit addicts seem to think they’ve got one over on you – whay hay, there’s 8 in here, she’d never let me have that many from the tin! Plus, there’s something about their packety sealedness that stops me in my tracks where your general on-the-loose biscuits from the tin are such easy prey. Embarrassing if the vicar comes round for tea though…..

  9. My three year old does a good line in negative questioning. I have no idea, for example, how to answer the question: why don’t pigeons have shoulders?

    It’s why I drink.

  10. Pingback: Don’t blink – you are a parent | Don’t blink – you are a parent | [insert your personal quirk here]

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