“Daddy, I don’t wanna go outside.”
Shena stands right in front of the door, throwing a tantrum. She put on her winter clothes, grabbed her jacket, and was ready to leave out that door. She even sat down to put on her snow boots, and now she says she doesn’t want to go out.
I lean down on one knee so I can get down to eye level with her, “Shena, you said you wanted to go play in the snow. Now you don’t want to?”
“Why don’t you want to go outside?”
“Because I don’t wanna go outside!”
But she was the one who wanted to go outside in the first place… I swear, I don’t understand this kid sometimes.
Acknowledging the situation now, I let out a sigh, drop my head forward, and gently pat my daughter on the head. I take a moment to collect my thoughts before beginning negotiations with this little girl, “We can’t have you cooped up here all day. The snow isn’t high at all and it’s fun to play it. Let’s just go out for a little while to go place, okay?”
She folds her little arms and turns her back to me, shouting out “NO!”
… Time to pull out my game changer tactic.
“I’ll give you chocolate milk when we come back into the house.”
Shena instantly turns back around and gives me the most serious face her seven year old face could possibly make, “How much?”
“One mug worth.”
“Two. And I want a vanilla creme cookie to dunk with it.”
“One mug and one cookie. And I’ll throw in a few mini marshmallows in the milk.”
She squints and I squint back at her. She points at me and I point back: our negotiations are reaching its end. I slowly extend my hand out, “So? We got a deal?”
“Don’t go back on your word, ‘Mister.’”
We shake and our agreement is sealed. All that’s left is to put everything into motion and endure the snow. I unlock the front door and slowly open it, giving way to a pure white scenery on our front lawn.
Everything from the curb of the street right up to the bottom of the small three steps that lead into the house is covered in fresh, untouched snow; it looks like somebody put a new silk blanket across the world.
Shena takes a deep breath and clenches her fists, taking the first ground-breaking step into our winter wonderland. She stops for a moment and turns back to me.
“What is it?”
“I’m done playing outside. I’m ready for cocoa milk now.”
“All you did was take a step outside!”
“Yeah, my foot had fun taking that step in the snow and I’m ready to go back inside.”
She turns right back around and walks past me into the house as if nothing happened, which nothing did happen. Taking just one step outside doesn’t count as playtime. And I know how to make sure everything goes my way.
“This doesn’t count as playtime. If you sit on that couch, you won’t get any chocolate milk and cookies.”
As soon as I finish that sentence, Shena comes sprinting out of the house and jumps face first into our snowy lawn. Next thing you know, she’s making snow angels like there’s no tomorrow all across the lawn, yelling out Christmas carols and songs during the entire thing.
“JINGLE BELLS, JINGLE BELLS! JINGLE ALL THE WAY!”
Now that’s playtime.
Laughter fills my lungs I try to catch my breath as I watch Shena rushing her body to try and have fun just for chocolate milk. But I did say that both of us would play, so I run back into the house to grab my coat before I join her in the snow angel madness.