The art of manipulation


If you have read some of my other stories, or I am fortunate enough to know you; then you will already know that my youngest child is the three-year old Akasha.

She is, it would be correct to say, an adorable child. However, it is impossible to ignore, that she is an absolute master in the art of manipulation. With just one hand, she has for every one of the five of us, one very own finger for each of us to curl around.

I guess, with three much older siblings, she has much opportunity to learn. Five of us to feed her spongy brain. She is definitely smart and learns fast. But her winning ace has to be her massive brown eyes. One flutter of those eyelashes and I, anyway, fall.

The last few weeks have been mega shopping weeks. One birthday and one party after another, has thus obligated.

Akasha’s first issue, at the present time, is that she is the only one of our four children not to have a birthday, falling in the first two weeks of June. She’s been impatiently awaiting her birthday and therefore princess/pink party for several weeks. On each shopping trip she spots a new potential festive item to add to her list of requirements. No matter how hard I try to explain, she simply cannot comprehend how far away her November birthday actually is.

The nice part for her, is though, that a few people, have given her a small gift too. Always greatly appreciated.

Her second concern at the moment is money. Not only are the other children receiving mountains of cool presents. They also have a sudden influx of money. And they’re either constantly going on about, or actually buying stuff.

Akasha has found the sudden urge to become a purchaser too.

A couple of weeks ago, both Aden and Akasha procured football stickers in a supermarket give-away. In itself this prevailed as a highlight in Akasha’s week. She ‘had long watched’ from the sidelines as Aden, the only boy, received his stickers, (as simultaneously, I obtained the bill) at the checkout. Rendered too girlie, too young, Akasha waited, empty-handed. Jealousy glimmered. And Aden protected his precious treasure. His manly stash.

As Aden tore open his packets and declared which men he “really wanted”, Akasha clasped hers proudly in hand. Delighted by her unexpected windfall. Soon after, Aden discovered the man he particularly needed, had not been acquired. And his eyes started to wander to his little sisters unopened wrappers.

He began to bid.

“Akasha, Akasha! If you have Blah Blah Blah… I’ll swap you… I’ll give you… What do you want? I’ll PAY you!”

The head tipped up.

And the eyes sparkled.

“Okay. Okay, Aden.”

Opening.

“Yes!”

We arrived home. Money and stickers changed hands. I didn’t see it. But I heard of it.

Aden gave Akasha 60 cents for three stickers.

Akasha was ecstatic. Finally she had some cold hard cash.

We continued on throughout the month with our many shopping trips. There are other birthdays too. And a wedding. A school trip to Budapest. Our anniversary. Shoe requirements. And sometimes even food to buy.

Each time we’re in a shop, Akasha sees something that she desires. And wants to buy it. In the past I could always ask, “Do you have any money?” The situation would be immediately resolved. But now the answer is always the same:

“Yes! Aden gave me money!”

I stand in every shop and try to patiently explain that that, 35 Euro toy, can not be paid for with 60 cents. But she doesn’t get it. She, of course, has no sense of the value of money. She is too young to even try to understand. I have no chance.

Sometimes I buy her a little present. She’s always so pleased. I’m then joyful too. I do this for all the kids. Mostly individually. To make them feel special. But it’s just not possible with four kids, to buy them gifts all the time. Far too expensive. To be honest I wouldn’t want to anyway. It’s not necessary. There’s not enough space at home. And I find it better if they can appreciate what they are given. It doesn’t always work, of course. Especially in today’s throw away society. But I think it’s a good guide. All of the no’s make all of the yes’ much more appreciated.

Akasha, now armed with her 60 cents, has, if only in her own mind, the spending power of any millionaire.

And guess what?

It would appear that mummy is rich too. Always with a purse full of money.

This week in a local department store, Akasha announces that she would like that playmobil set. That one, right there. And that I should buy it for her. In return, she would give me the money back at home. From her 60 cents. Quite matter-of-fact.

Again explanations. No way. Your money just will not cover that. She listens. She cocks her head. She tries to follow. Eventually she sadly takes my hand, and lets me trail her to the checkout with my shopping basket full. On the approach she spots chocolates and juice. Can she have that then? No. She looks into my basket of necessary crap. Shampoo. Cards… She catches sight of wrapping paper… Can she at least buy that? Yes, yes… Happy with the compromise. The assistant babbles out some price. And I sign on the dotted line.

We leave hand in hand. Her carrying her gift wrap and me with my cloth bag.

We place all our wares in the car. She secures hers with a seat belt. Everything has to be protected at the moment. Toys. Kindergarten rucksack. Pictures. Even once: a leaf. No matter how late we’re running, she has to put the safety belt on by herself. Every time. Generally that’s why we are running late. She is completely independent and must do everything for herself. Or help with every job I do. No matter how difficult it is.

We drive to the supermarket and its neighbouring shoe shop. Food, and Akasha has outgrown her Kindergarten slippers.

I park. We walk together towards the shops. I look down at my daughter.

I’ve hardly heard the D-word from Akasha before. But then smiling sweetly, with those dangerous, colossal eyes:

“You have to buy me something, Darling mother!”

I can feel myself falling…

We leave the shoe shop sometime later. Akasha carries her own shopping bag. It contains one pair of Kindergarten slippers and one pair of pink and white ‘princess’ sandals…

3 thoughts on “The art of manipulation”

  1. OMG – you’ve got a master manipulator there!! 😀

    Should I worry that, at 22 months, whenever Cameron wants something he always tries to swap for it? I know when he wants the ‘whatever I’m holding’ when he disappears then reappears with Pooh Bear or something held out in front of him and a huge smile on this face??

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