What My 3-Year-Old Wanted this Saturday Night

What My 3-Year-Old Wanted this Saturday Night

If my 3-year-old, Yaakov, wants something, watch out…

Yesterday, it was a marshmallow.

First little Yaakov looked at me with his heartbreaker sky-blue eyes and said, “Eema, I want a marshmallow.”

“No, I’m not giving you a marshmallow.”

“But I WANT a marshmallow.”

“No, Yaakov, I’m not giving you a marshmallow.”

“But I want a marshmallow NOW…!”

And then Yaakov started crying so hard and so long that at 4 PM he simply collapsed into a deep sleep for three hours. After about an hour, I covered him with a blanket, which prompted him to call out from the middle of his sweet dream, “Marshmallow! I want a MARSHMALLOW!” and then fell back into his deep, deprived slumber.

On Saturday night, as I was washing dishes, Yaakov also wanted something. Very badly.

“Eema, I want Shabbat!”

“You want Shabbat? But Shabbat is over…”

Yaakov wasn’t going to let me off that easy….

“But I WANT Shabbat!”

“Yaakov, next week. Next week there will be another Shabbat.”

“But I want SHabbat NOW!”

“I’m sorry Yaakov. After Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday there will be another Shabbat, you’ll see.”

At which point Yaakov walked back to his blocks with sunken shoulders and a sad expression.

I guess even Yaakov realized this request was a lost battle before he began to cry. Because if crying would work to bring more Shabbat, wouldn’t we all?

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  1. Yes! So true!

  2. i dont know if it will work with Yaakov, as it often worked for my children, but i found that when i acknowledged the desire-yes, i hear you really want a marshmallow—even when the answer was no, it took a lot of the strength away from what could be a crying session/tantrum. By saying, i know you want a marshmallow, but you cannot have one (and possibly even offering an alternative permissible treat), i have found it softens the-you’re-the-enemy because-i’m-not-getting-what-i- demand. Also, one can even empathize with Yaakov and say i want Shabbat also, how wonderful that you love Shabbat so much–what is your most special part of Shabbat? I also cant wait until it comes round again, it says you want just what he wants–not you’re withholding something from him like a marshmallow, etc. just sharing what worked -at times-for me. and thank you for sharing so much of your inspiring life with us chana jenny.

    • Your strategy works because you acknowledge the child’s feelings and give him his wish in theory rather than saying no – you can’t have it.

    • that’s smart–I will try!

      • This is great when you REALLY want to acknowledge the childs feelings. When it’s just a strategy to get what YOU want it rarely works…..

        And some children enjoy having their feelings heard and still stay stubborn, as in, MINE. 🙂

  3. So beautiful and sweet. Thank you!

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