The Diego Negotiations.

November 12, 2012 at 9:32 am | Posted in Battles (aka: toddlerhood), NaBloPoMo | 20 Comments

We don’t watch a lot of TV in our house. We don’t really have a rule against it; I have no problem with Lucky watching a show here and there. We use our Netflix a lot; they have Backyardigans, Curious George, and other things he likes to watch here and there.

I can’t tell you exactly when it happened. But right now?

Lucky is obsessed to Diego episodes on Netflix.

And by obsessed, I mean ADDICTED. From the first moment he is awake in the mornings, it’s an ongoing negotiation for more Diego time.

Which, honestly, wouldn’t be awful, except for the extreme fits he’ll pitch when we shut Diego off. After one episode. Ten episodes. It doesn’t actually matter how much or little he has watched his beloved Diego.

When we turn it off, the freakout is worse than any three year tantrum he ever had; there’s screaming, hitting, kicking, yelling, crying.

And when Diego isn’t on, it’s all he talks about and asks for. Mommy, can I watch a Diego? Last week, when he had a friend over for a playdate? He tried to convince his friend that Diego was awesome and they should watch it.

Diego makes our weekends really hard lately. We’ve done everything we can to structure our time away from the house; keep Lucky busy outside and away from the TV. Otherwise we risk hours of negotiation for more Diego.

HOURS, I say. I wish I was kidding, but I’ve kept track. I spent two hours yesterday morning trying to get Lucky to do something DIFFERENT. Draw pictures – hey, look, here’s a Diego coloring book!– or play with Legos or build with blocks or help me sweep the garage or let’s just go for a drive because SERIOUSLY I AM GOING TO LOSE MY MIND IF I HEAR YOU ASK FOR DIEGO ONE! MORE! TIME!


Yesterday we watched 50 million a couple Diego episodes in the morning. After weathering the inevitable meltdown when we told Lucky he needed to do something else, we successfully managed to avoid The Diego Negotiations for the rest of the afternoon. Lucky decided to clean our garage (he wanted to use the broom), and the weather was awesome – in the 60s – so he played outside for a good while. We watched the Patriots game, the three of us.

And then it was time to say goodbye to Charlie Brown, and it was he and I. I was cleaning up from dinner, when Lucky came into the kitchen.

Mommy? he asked. I was really good today: I was good, and kind, and brave. Wasn’t I?

I laughed (on the inside! Always on the inside!) because I knew what was going to come next.

Mommy, he said, very seriously. I did a good job today keeping my underwear dry*. I used the potty LOTS of times. I cleaned the garage. I ate all my lunch. I FINK**… he paused for effect, looking up at me very seriously,that I deserve a Diego episode. JUST ONE. And THEN, we can go upstairs, and take a baff, and read ONE story, and then go to bed!

In that moment, I wished I had a video of his performance. Because the child played the part PERFECTLY. It was an oscar-worthy performance; the shrug of his shoulders, and open hands, the wide open eyes, the smile on his face. His tone of voice was perfect – enthusiastic but quiet.

He was very convincing in that moment. Sure, just one episode! Surely that will be fine!

I can tell you what comes next. I say yes, and he claps his hands, jumping for joy, and he says, Yay!! One more Diego!!! And he watches one episode, and then we start the negotiation all over again once it’s over.

If I say no? He turns into the exorcist 4 year old: he screams, throws himself on the floor, sobbing like I’m the worst mother in the world.

I am largely impressed AND freaked out by his ability to negotiate, I have to admit. And all I repeat to myself when this happens?

This will serve him well later in life. This will serve him well later in life.

He’s learning by watching, at least. Yesterday he told me that chinchillas live in mountains and didn’t know how to swim. He can count to ten in Spanish.

But yeah. Exhausting stuff, these Diego Negotiations.

*Another post about this coming. He is still struggling with accidents and keeping his underwear dry during the daytime. We actually have an appointment scheduled with a pediatric urologist at the end of January.

** I will be so sad when he loses his toddler lisp; one of the few remnants of baby left in him these days.



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  1. That shit drives me absolutely crazy. If pestered, my answer changes from “yes, just a moment” to “no” in about three rounds flat. I explain why I don’t like it, of course, and suggest alternative courses of action, but it is literally three strikes for me. And I have these set pieces I do for the ensuing tantrums, of course. It seriously presses my buttons for some reason. Much more than others, I’ve noticed.

    We’ve also had to set a specified “TV time” to which there are pretty much no exceptions.

  2. From Mel’s blog.

    Oo the funs of potty training… my oldest is 8 he didn’t potty train until almost 5! and my 3 year old…. apparently will potty at daycare but will run away and scream bloody murder at home if brought near a potty.

  3. We don’t watch much TV either but when we do let her watch a bit of Plaza Sesamo (Spanish Sesame Street) we know we’ll be paying for those 10-15 minutes of quiet time with as much tantruming afterward. The worst is actually the iPad. That is the thing she will scream to use and scream about not being able to use anymore. The iPad is our Diego.

  4. I’ve found that we go through periods of nonstop TV and then periods where J isn’t all that interested. It seems to work itself out.

    Since I got my new car I’ve had issues of J wanting to play in it instead of sitting in his seat, with battles when I try to get him to sit down. Believe it or not, it actually WORKED when I explained “if I give you 5 minutes to play, and you sit in your seat after, you can have 5 minutes next tiime too. If you fight me, I can’t keep giving you playtime.” I didn’t think it would work, but it did. Maybe you can try explaining to Lucky that if he watches 1 Diego and stops without a tantrum, he can have another one next time, but if he throws a fit, next time you’ll just say no?

  5. Oh.How.I.hate.Diego. (Oh, well, actually Dora is worse–at least Diego has animals…) Its just a phase, yep. Keep saying it, mama! πŸ™‚

  6. As for being unkind, this is your space to allow those emotions to happen with the hope that you are excising the blister allowing for better healing.

    As for Diego negotions, man, that is rough. We have the same rule. Nugget can watch 1 Netflix on-demand (usually the Backyardigans) every night and EVERY NIGHT we fight about how one is enough. I LOVE Lucky’s negotion tactis. I can totally see the shrug with the upturned hands. Ha ha.

  7. *Sigh* I’ve been there. Sad to say, I’m not in the clear just yet though… Mine’s got some new bargaining chips! Including one that goes straight to and through my heart. (Mommy, don’t you love your son?! Then…)
    Clever and precious aren’t they?! πŸ˜€

  8. Mine wants to go online and look at American Girl dolls. Like all. The. Time. I hate dolls anyway, but there is something about paying $129 for a doll that just galls me.

  9. we did this with Dora. On the bright side, we learned a little spanish

  10. Ohh gosh, been there. I can’t stand it! Great post, I know you feel the pain of the masses πŸ˜‰ congrats on FP!

  11. We are lucky to still have Netflix around aren’t we. Love your blog and Diego! Is Diego your favorite character?

  12. I watched my sister go through this with her two kids but in regards to Finding Nemo video. They freaking memorized the whole dialogue. They watched it like 10-15 times a day. They they will trick you by saying ” Hey Aunty do you know the name of the turtle that Nemo met? Yes, what is his name then? Ok Nemo time cause aunty forgot!” OMG!

  13. When I tell the monchers no more and if they whine or dont turn off the TV/Movie then I tell them no more TV for a week. Every time they ask I add a day. It works great for TV or video games or ipad games etc. The first time sucks but after that when they realize that you are serious, they start listening! πŸ™‚ good luck!

  14. It won’t last forever… kids move on so quickly from one thing to the next….hang in there… there will be a time when the name Diego won’t make you tear out your hair…lol…

  15. Reblogged this on i cittadini prima di tutto and commented:
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  16. It is a phase, but (excluding the tantrums) I still experience a little bit of this from my boys (12 & 18). We taught them to accept that sometimes (quite often really) they won’t get what they want in life, but that if you don’t ask, there’s no way that you’ll ever get what you want. So they ask. Often. For things they can’t have.

    The 18-year-old: “Mum, can you buy me a car?”, “Mum, can you buy me a ticket so I can go back to Canada…to live?”.
    The 12-year-old: “Mum, can I drive the car?”, “Mum, can I skip school so we can go for a 10-hour drive to visit my brother?”

  17. Reblogged this on misentopop and commented:
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  18. Oh boy, that’s some serious Diego love. I would turn it around. Don’t let him ask for one more Diego until you say yes, but give him less Diego the next day if he continues to ask after you’ve said no more. I still do this with my almost-16-year-old: Can I have some cookies? Yes. How many can I have? Three. Aw, can I have four? Oh-oh, it just changed to two. Okay, okay, three then. We do it jokingly, but for a young one this is a real lesson in acceptance of limits. Good luck!

  19. greets

  20. In the nicest way possible:
    I really, strongly hate that show.
    haha my younger relatives enjoy it so I try to keep it to myself, but I understand your frustration! Congrats on FP!

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