Should the time ever come when you want to improve your skills in manipulation (which I don’t necessarily condone, unless it is for the greater good of course!) then you really don’t need to pay a lot of money to attend a seminar or course led by somebody holding a university degree or a masters. A very learned person who has studied hard and slogged their guts out, attended lecture after lecture, countless tutorials and basically had their head stuck in a book for four years in order to obtain a qualification.
No, if you really want to see manipulation at work, in a real-life scenario, then the best candidate of all is often a five-year-old girl with her father. Although to be fair a daughter of any age will suffice - age is not really a factor. You will witness skill and tact of such a professional nature that even the most highly-trained adult could not compete with it. This girl knows what she wants and she knows how to get it – by asking her daddy.
You see they learn very quickly that mummy normally says no, well at least to the wildly absurd requests anyway. However, if they were to ask me for reasonable things like “Mum, can I have a snack please?” or “Can I have a drink?”, then as long as this snack is of the banana, apple, crackers or brown bread variety then yes I am your woman. The same goes for drinks too. If you are seeking a glass of milk, water or juice then again I am more than happy to provide you with refreshments.
But if the question goes along the lines of “Can I have a biscuit?” or “Can I have a piece of that chocolate cake?” (at 11 o’clock in the morning), then you are guaranteed to hear a resounding no from me.
Yes, mummy is the bad guy because she always says no to the fun stuff. She won’t let you sit watching Peppa Pig all day, she won’t let you eat Maltesers after breakfast and she won’t bring you to the shop to buy markers which you will then draw all over the walls and furniture with. She is no fun.
And therefore rendered completely redundant when it comes to getting your little paws on any of these things.
Cue the soft touch over there in the kitchen, otherwise known as their father. The poor guy, an innocent creature, who is completely out of his depth when it comes to the manipulative skills of the female species. There he sits at the kitchen table, checking the football results on his phone, completely unaware of what is about to happen.
She spots her prey and makes a beeline in his direction. He doesn’t even see it coming. She starts off quite timidly by softly treading up to him with the very long, drawn out “Daaaaddd”, (at this point her head is slightly tilted and that sweet angelic smile is widening on her face). She then follows with “I’ve been a really good girl today and did all my homework, can I have a treat?” The smile has broadened even more and at this stage her arms are wrapped around him as she moves in for the killer hug, the one that should seal the deal.
I sit watching him, his eyes softening as his face breaks into a smile. He then looks over in my direction. “What do you think?” he asks me. I, arms folded, am not buying any of this routine and reply back promptly “The only reason she is asking you is because she has just asked me and I said no. I thought we agreed that there would be no treats until Friday."
“Ah yeah, but it’s only a little treat isn’t it?” as he looks down at her, her arms wrapped tightly around his shoulders, nuzzling in for a cuddle. She is nearly there. “Fine, whatever you want. I’m having nothing to do with this”, as I raise my hands up to the sky. Yes, mission complete. She soon walks off with her Freddo bar back into the living room to continue watching her cartoons, our two-year-old right behind her because she had to get one too.
Every time I see her do this I begin to imagine the same scene, only it’s ten years from now and this time as she approaches him with the same lilting “Daaaaddd” she is now asking to go to a junior disco. And after she has convinced him to say yes she will probably talk him into handing over a 20 Euro note to go with it.
Before he even realises what has happened she will have raced out the door and he will be left sitting there dazed and confused. Fast forward another four years and she will probably be standing there asking if she can go on holidays with her friends.
Which is why it is such good luck that I am around to patrol these situations. Yes I am the local law enforcer in these parts, but you can call me mum. Honestly if I wasn’t here to intervene at times and lay down the law when required, I dread to think what would happen.
Our daughter is just about to turn five and she is already a mastermind. A skilled manipulator, truly brilliant at her craft. And her little sister is two-years-old and already beginning to follow in her path. So soon there will be two of them. The poor guy doesn’t really stand a chance does he?