I bought both girls a packet of Moshi Monsters trading cards yesterday, because I am a soft touch/the best dad in the world.
I also gave Millie a lesson in trading (or “swapping” as we called it my day).
ME: Millie, you don’t have to swap a card if you don’t want to, you know.
MILLIE: I know.
ME: So why did you swap your favourite card yesterday – and for one you don’t really like?
ME: OK, let’s practice not swapping. I’ll ask you to swap and you say “No”.
ME: Millie, I’d love to have that card there (points to Millie’s one remaining shiny card) Can I have it?
MILLIE: Umm, no…?
ME: But I really really want it. Please swap it.
MILLIE (eyes looking left and right): N… Er… Um…
ME: Please please please? It’s my favourite one ever!
MILLIE (eyes looking everywhere but at me): …
ME: Say “no”, Millie.
ME: Just say “no”. If you don’t want to swap it you don’t have to. Say “no”.
When we got to school it was relief to talk to the mum of one of Millie’s friends who reported the exact same problem. I mean, kids are happy enough to say “No!” at any other time; why it should be such a problem in this particular instance I don’t know.
In a sort-of-happy-ending to this tale, Millie was later caught trying to persuade Amber to swap her best Moshi Monster for some old tat of Millie’s.
Amber, it unsurprisingly transpires, is even worse at saying “no” to any old silver-tongued rogue (or Millie) that wants her cards. Fortunately, Amber only cares about Moshi Monsters because Millie does – she’s just following her big sister’s lead – otherwise things might have gotten tricky…