Getting to “Yes!”

Oak with his hiking haul, preparing to summit the Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat.

As we left the house for our daily post-breakfast walk I noticed something hanging from our mailbox. Oakley ran to retrieve a plastic egg, and discovered 4 chocolate pieces wrapped in foil. He wasn’t sure what they were yet, but I knew immediately from the bell shape and thin, striped foil – Hershey’s Hugs!


Oakley asked, “Mama, what are these? And who brought them? Did the Easter bunny or one of our neighbors? This is a mystery!”

We embarked on a hunt for the generous giver of eggs, and noticed every mailbox had one!

Oakley put the plastic egg in his cart he was hauling (along with a sieve, funnel, two towels and half the contents from his play kitchen) on our hike up the Rupal Face around the block.

When we got back home he asked, “Mom, I think there’s chocolate in here, I saw it through the foil. Can Jo and I eat it?”

I told him I’d think about it, and reminded him that we don’t eat a lot of sugar in our house.

In our crew we limit processed sugar. This isn’t a story about whether or not you should give your kids a Hershey’s Hug so keep reading!

Fast forward 48 hours and he brought the egg into my room when he woke up and said, “Mama, have you thought about it yet. I still really want to eat the chocolate.”

Have you read any negotiating books about working toward a YES? Well, it should work with kids, right?!

Here’s what I mean:

  • We don’t eat much processed sugar if avoidable in our house so the Hershey’s hugs + kisses are an easy “no” for me. But where in this scenario can I move Oak’s experience to a “yes”?
  1. No, you can’t eat it, but you CAN play with it if you’d like (sounds weird, but they chocolate turns into putty-like texture after a while so they dig it).
  2. Hmm, we don’t eat a lot of processed sugar, but you can have some dark chocolate pieces in the egg instead.

He said yes to #2 so I said, “I don’t have any dark chocolate here, but I can go to the store and buy a piece of dark chocolate when I run errands this morning.”

I am okay with him consuming a piece of dark chocolate every once in a while if it’s ethically sourced, lower processed sugar, etc. He wanted it after breakfast, and again, I’m aiming for the “yes” so I said, “not after breakfast, but after school today!”

He was stoked, and we found a YES! in a scenario where I was going to simply leave it at “no”.

Other examples in our world –

  • Can we have Benny over for a sleepover? No, but we can meet Benny and his mommy at a park.
  • Can I have only blueberries for dinner, mom? No, but we can have 20 blueberries with some protein. Extra credit number sense work: Would you like 10 or 20 blueberries?
  • Can I stay up all night to watch the stars? Hmmm, what if we get jammies on and say good night to the moon and stars before bedtime?
  • Can you have another baby please? I need help taking care of our girls. Hmmm, what if I help out when you feel overwhelmed when you’re playing with Millie + Jo?

How do you “get to Yes!” in your world?

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