Last night, I decided to take this matter into my own hands. The intrusions had to end, the attacks upon my disputed bed space had to stop. In short, I did what great leaders do in times of war, I entered negotiations. Some may say it is best not to negotiate with terrorists, but in order to make progress, you must open a dialog. And so I sat down to hammer out an accord that would put an end to our hardships.
At first the boys were resistant to any change in their current activities. They like ruling the beds of the house, changing freely from one bed to anther with impunity. I listened as they balked at my suggestion that we all sleep better when we sleep in our own beds, and that there is not really enough space for two adults and two big boys in our king size bed. After my first attempt to reason with them, I pulled out the big guns. The sticker chart.
"What if we put up a sticker chart, and after a week of you both staying in your own bed all night, we have a movie night with popcorn!" I suggested.
This was immediately rejected, two voices in perfect unison replied "No!"
Then their lead negotiator took on a thoughtful look. He moved closer to me and put his arm around my shoulder. "Maybe we could stay in our bed for a minute," he offered. He is still learning about units of time, and a minute to him may have meant something different than it did to me, but I was forced to reject his offer.
"No, that's not very long," I replied.
"Maybe another kind of minute," he offered, trying sweeten the deal. "Like ten."
"That's still not very long," I held firm. "We need you to stay in your bed all night."
He pondered this, and then he came up with a counter offer.
"Maybe we could use the chart you were making," he says. "And when we fill the chart, we could pick a toy"
Interesting offer. And more in line with what I was hoping to achieve, but I had to lay some ground rules.
"What kind of toy?" I asked.
"I don't know. We'd get to pick one," he replied.
"It has to be within reason," Mr. Dog interjected. "It couldn't be something huge, it would have to be a normal toy."
We do have to spell this out or it is completely in his character that he would pick a giant remote control dinosaur. Or a pony.
"Something like a superhero," I offered as a guideline.
"Oh!" says Big Dog. "You reminded me of what I wanted!"
"What is that," I ask, a little bit of dread seeping into my voice.
"A super hero, one called Super Man," he says, patting my shoulder as though to reassure me.
"Ok, that's a good idea." I agreed.
"If we sleep in our beds for five nights, we can each pick a superhero. And I pick Super Man," he summarizes.
Five nights, my little lawyer has already started skewing the deal. "Let's say seven nights. And if you come into our bed one night, it starts over. You have to start the whole seven nights over again."
He looks pensive for a moment, and I have a feeling that I'm going to lose the deal.
"Do you know why I come into your bed at night?" Big Dog asks.
"No, why?" I ask.
"Because I like to snuggle you," big blue eyes look up at me
And Little Dog follows his big brother's lead, "Know why I come into your bed at night?"
"No," I say.
"Because I love you really much," and then he hugs me.
Needless to say the negotiation just got a lot harder. These kids are playing hardball.