I taught my granddaughter how to beg – beg, whine, cajole, wheedle, whinge, whatever you would like to call it. It wasn’t intentional and it was way too easy. My husband says I have taught her negotiating skills, but he is being generous.

My granddaughter is 8 years old and is very intelligent, as all grandchildren are. Of course in my opinion she is just a wee bit smarter than other people’s grandchildren.

We play house and dolls and pretend play, several times a week. This may go on for an hour or so and finally I’ll say, “Well, 5 more minutes and I need to make supper.”

And she’ll say, “Please,please, please just 15 minutes longer?

And I’ll go, “No, just 5 minutes; it’s getting late and I have to start supper.”

Please, please, please just 10 minutes longer?

At this point my grandmotherly heart is doing the thinking: oh I don’t want to disappoint her and aren’t I lucky that she wants to be with her old grandma.

We go through this routine everyday. My daughter in law suggests that I just say no, but how canI sayno to those pleading words? They stroke my ego; I swell with love.

One day Iasked my granddaughter why she always asks for more playtime when I give the 5 minute warning.“Because grandma,” she replied, “I know you too well. I know that 5 minutes actually means 10; I can tell by your voice that you’re saying no but really mean yes.”

Of course there are many times when I really do want to end our playtime in 5 minutes, but I’ve put myself into a corner and it’s up to me to get out of it.

I have said before that words are powerful, and I will now add that tone of voice and consistency are equally important.

I have consistently taught my granddaughter that 5 minutes more actually means 10.

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