Thursday, April 19, 2007

Negotiating with an inner brat

It's lunch time and I'm rewarding my inner brat with a little blog time since she (begrudgingly) agreed that a bottle of water with lunch was a much better option than walking over to the laundry room to drop $0.75 in a machine for a soda.

Just like dealing with most any opposing force, dealing with the inner brat is all about the negotiations. If you're not a good negotiator, you don't stand a chance of having a peaceful ending. I've always preferred a peaceful, happy ending over an ending full of angst, yelling, anger, frustration, and general turmoil so I learned to negotiate. At least with my inner brat (and sometimes my child).

I have recently (within the past 48 hours) learned that my inner brat hates paperwork. She loves the toys - the colored pens and markers, the sticky notes, the folders, the paper clips, etc. - but hates the work part of doing paperwork. This would never do seeing how my desk is cluttered with paperwork that either needs to be filed, shredded, or otherwise dealt with! I had to find a way to negotiate some cooperation.

This morning when I caught my inner brat playing over at VistaPrint, I knew I had my negotiating tool. For weeks (months) my inner brat has been drooling over all the pretty toys there, and I can't begin to count all the time that's been spent laying out business cards (never mind that I don't have a business!! I want a card!!), post cards, and notepads. There have been days that she's even loaded up the shopping cart only to close out the window and walk away disappointed because of the cost. Even my inner brat knows that there are some things that need to be paid before we start spending money on toys.

But if the items are free and the only real cost is the shipping...

My inner brat broke into whooping screams of excitement when the email from VistaPrint was opened and she saw the latest special being offered to us. FREE!! We like free things, especially my inner brat, and off she went. An hour later (I was sluggish this morning LOL) I blinked with the realization of "HEY! I'm supposed to be cleaning!!"

"But... but... FREEEEEEEEEE!!!" my inner brat cried out with widened eyes full of shock that I'd even consider closing out the site.

I sighed and shook my head. "Cleaning comes first. Those are the rules."

My inner brat started to panic, fear replacing the earlier shock. "Nooooo..."

Moving the mouse so that the arrow hovered over the 'x' box, I paused with my eyes locked on negative $85.95 at the bottom of shopping cart and the big bold black letters spelling out the word 'FREE'. "However," I drawled the word out, plotting my next words carefully. "I suppose if the mess on the desk gets taken care of before bedtime tonight, and since it's all free, I can justify the $20 or so it would cost for shipping..."

Life and hope flooded through my inner brat's soul. I had her undivided attention.

Sliding the mouse to the left a little, I continued. "And by 'taken care of' I mean dealt with - put away, shredded, or whatever it needs to have done to it - not just shuffled to the table or the box in front of the desk."

She was cute as a button when my inner brat nodded emphatically. "Desk cleaned. Stuff put away or thrown away, not shuffled. I can do that!"

I chuckled at the sudden enthusiasm for cleaning my inner brat had. I knew it could be opening a whole new can of worms, but I couldn't resist asking. "Really?"

She huffled at me, crossing her arms over her chest and glaring up at me defiantly. "I can!"

I nodded slowly, thoughtfully, and minimized the shopping cart window. "Then it would seem some cleaning is in order. And remember, we have at least one errand to run this afternoon after K. gets home, and she wants computer time too."

After a moment of pouting (my inner brat hates giving up the computer), she exhaled a sigh. "Oh, ok. K. can have computer time later. Can I stack some of the desk stuff on the couch to sort through while she's on the computer?"

I blinked in amazement. My inner brat had come up with a strategy for cleaning? I was impressed. I smiled warmly at her. "That's a very good idea..."

Before I could even finish praising her, my inner brat was cleaning. She cleaned up until lunch time, and is now huffing at me with her arms crossed again, except when she's jabbing a finger at the clock. There's less than an hour until K. gets home. I think my inner brat is done playing now and wants me to get back to work.


Mississippi Songbird said...

What a cool blog. I'll be back to read again.. Thanks for sharing..

Amy said...

Hi! I can SO relate... my inner brat plays with graphic programs when she should be doing lots of other things. I'm doing the 30-day challenge, too-- I blog about it on my Flybaby blog.

I came here after your very kind comment about my lost photos. Thanks.. it's nice to know someone understands! And learning to burn those CD's is on this week's to-do list!

Co said...

Such a cute blog! I've never thought of the wrestling that goes on inside my head as an inner brat, but it fits, doesn't it? I like scrapbook stuff instead of paperwork stuff, and I have a lot of scrapbook stuff. But making myself sit and scrapbook is a chore - I love it once I dive in...but getting there takes time.