Fair Exchange

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Miss Rose is perfecting the fine art of negotiation. She learns fast and has discovered there are rules and boundaries so is testing them… Rather like a velociraptor… And finding methods of getting her own way.

For instance; squealing. I do not like squealing children. Crying, shouting, moaning, all things I’m not fond of but things which are tolerable as a cause and rectification are usually readily found. They also do not cut through me and make my skin hurt. Squealing is Rose’s “new noise”. This instantly results in a firm “no Rose”. She squeals again, “no Rose” with an angry face. What follows are a series of noises all bordering the squeal line. Testing the perimeter fence for weaknesses. Okay mummy doesn’t like this noise… But I like this noise… So what is the closest I can get to this noise before she reacts.

Another act of negotiation she is currently a big fan of is the “fair exchange”. The little crook has learned that mummy, or anyone else, is not willing to let her steal from them. If she attempts to remove a toy, piece of food, phone etc from someone’s hands then she is prevented from doing so either by an adult’s authoritative tone or by an offended child, victim of this attempted mugging, clonking her. This means that now if there is an item she wants, that is held by another, she has to find a different way of getting it, and this way is to trade.

Say a little boy is holding a car she wants, she’s a big fan of cars, on approaching said boy she will hold out an alternative toy, present him with it, then as soon as he’s taken it she takes the car. Usually the boy in question will be left clutching a building block or plastic tree and looking bewildered. If they continue to protest then the adult superviser will chime in with “you’ve taken the little girls block so let her take your car!” Or something of the sort. Victory!

These trades are not always fair. This evening I was lying on my back with my feet up against her bedroom wall and she got me in her sights. She waddled towards me with intent focus and thrust her biscuit at me then removed my glasses, then legged it. Unfortunately for Miss Rose I had a need for my glasses and no need for a biscuit so I made the same trade in reverse. If it were possible for a twelve month old to sigh with exasperation then that’s what she did.

I think this trade off has been learned as when she is playing with something she’s not allowed to play with I take it away and replace it with something she is allowed. When she’s attempting to pry a toy from the hands of another child I distract her with an alternative. When she’s purposefully headed towards something banned, such as dog food, I catch her and provide her with alternative, permitted, entertainment. Exchanging one thing for another.

She learns fast this little woman, and you can often see a disturbingly mature look in her eyes as she weighs up her options, calculates how best to get what she wants from a situation, and how to negotiate for a deal both sides are happy with.

Future politician? Future crime lord?

I’m not sure which is worse….

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

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