My six year old son, who has a penchant for blatant honesty and who often makes people uncomfortable (Read: Me) with his embarrassing remarks, has begun to develop some manners. Recently, he started apologizing in advance before hurling insults or doing something wrong.
“Mom I’m sorry to do this, but I’m going to step on the dog’s tail.”
“Mom I’m sorry to say this, but you have really big feet.”
The good news, is that he is finally understanding right from wrong. The bad news, is that he still doesn’t mind being wrong.
Last week, we were watching A Christmas Story (“You’ll shoot your eye out!”) with the kids when Ralphie’s father blurted out, “Smartass.”
I said, “Whoops. I forgot that there was a bad word in this movie.”
My son asked, “What? What bad word?”
I replied, “I’m not going to say it. It was bad.”
Completely dissatisfied with my answer, my boy questioned me further. “Did he say stupid?”
I shook my head.
He asked, “Was it dumb?”
I said, “No.”
Then came the pre-apology.
“Mom I’m sorry to ask this, but did that guy say balls?”
Yesterday morning, with family gathered around, my daughter presented my husband with a homemade present…101 Reasons Why I Love My Dad.
The list included, “You fuss about how old I am and tell me I am too big for being tucked in, but you still tuck me in anyway.” And, “You help me with math homework. DON’T TELL MOM I AM WRITING THIS!!!!! You are the only one I can ask for help, because Mom can’t do the math.” Sad, but oh so true.
As my husband read each line, I held my six year old son on my lap and we listened. It was wonderful and sweet, and the kids’ Grandma and I both began to cry.
He read the last item on the list, “You work and try as hard as you can. And you do it just for us.”
Grandma, who was clearly touched by the outpouring of love said, “That was really beautiful.”
And without missing a beat, my son said, “That was really boring.”
My daughter is a master negotiator. It doesn’t matter if I’m telling her to get ready for bed, take a shower, do her homework, or clean her room, she will try to find a way to put it off by making a deal with me.
There is no place where her sales technique is more evident than at the dinner table. She hates vegetables, but loves treats, so she will inevitably request a Hershey’s Kiss in exchange for eating her asparagus.
Recently her little brother started following in her footsteps. But the other night at dinner, it was clear he still had some learning to do, when he complained, “Mom, I’m full.”
I said, “Okay, just take four more bites.”
You could see his brain working as he thought for a second, raised his eyebrows, and asked, “How about five?”