Clara and Lydia were deep in heated negotiations.

“Four.” Clara offered.

“No. Five.” Lydia countered.

Clara considered this and then continued. “No. I will give you two for the first, and two for the second. That makes four.” She leered down at her competitor from her much higher position.

Lydia shook her head.

I was enjoying the back and forth. I had heard the commotion in the upstairs bathroom and had come and found a front row seat on the floor of the hallway. Clara was sitting on the toilet. In front of her, completely naked, sat Lydia on her small green potty seat.

Lydia now stood up, holding the bowl of the potty tight to her bottom with one hand, she leaned towards her sister and stuck her open right hand in her face for emphasis. She was not intimidated by her sister’s bigger throne. “Five! Five Jelly Beans!” she demanded. It took several attempts to fit the bowl back into her seat to sit back down, but she somehow made this fumbling motion seem defiant.

Clara rolled her eyes at her little sister.

I had little sympathy for either party. They had both done this on their own. We had bought the tiny jar of jelly beans in an attempt to potty train Lydia several months ago. But she was completely terrified of the tiny green chair, and it was like walking an inmate down death row to try and convince her to even sit on it. So, we had given up and decided to try again after we had a baby and life settled down. Clara, on her own volition had come to the conclusion that it was time for her sister to use the potty, and had somehow persuaded her to come to the table to negotiate terms of reward.

Clara held up the jar of now dried out jelly beans and shook them tantalizingly. “Lydia.” She said to her sister. “I will give you one just for sitting down today. That was very good. But I will give you two if you go pee. And I will give you another two if you poop.” She put the jar down on the counter and held up two fingers on both hands as she said this. Then she brought her hands together. “That makes four jelly beans. Not five.”

I wished I had some popcorn.

Lydia eyed the jar of jelly beans. I knew she was focusing in on the purple ones. Probably even counting to see if there were even four purple ones left in the jar. Coming to a conclusion, she gave up. “Okay. One for sitting down.” She stood up and reached out her hand.

I took note of Clara’s look of disappointment at seeing that her sister had not peed or pooped while she was watching. This was something I wanted to document for future reference. I tried to picture the same scenario happening in the future.

I stepped into the room and took the jar of jelly beans. I poured some into my hand and Lydia predictably hunted out the only purple one present. After she left the room in search of clothing, I turned to Clara and congratulated her on a fine attempt. I let her choose a jelly bean as well. Although, I could tell she was still feeling let down for not having made a sale. I reminded her that business is about patience and maybe she can trade jelly beans for some of her sister’s poop tomorrow.

“Thank you Daddy.” She said genuinely as she hugged my leg. “I hope you are right.”