Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Minding Your (Master) P's & Q's

Over the weekend it dawned on the Anonymous Husband & I - only some 22 months into the life of our wee darling CEO - that we might need to ramp up his manners training. Adorable as he may be . . .

The face of impending mischief
. . . he has taken to running our household with the entitled, maniacal zeal of a third world dictator. Orders are barked out, conversations are interrupted, fingers are gruffly grabbed as parents are dragged to and fro. Suggestions that he do ordinary things, like sit at the dinner table, are taken as an extreme insult.

Like any decent, apparently French parents, we realized that, while the antics are entirely typical of toddlerdom, we need to start expecting more Miss Manners and less Machiavelli.  As expected, our results have been splendid so far . . . for example, witness the following conversation between the AH & Master P, as son attempts to harass father into handing over yet another slice of dinnertime (organic hormone-free fun-free) cheese:

Master P: "Cheese, no!" (meaning "now", we think?)

The AH, trying not to laugh: "Master P, can you say - 'May I please have some cheese?'"

MasterP, after pausing briefly for stern reflection: "Cheese, NOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Mischief in action, escaping the dread dinner table

Clearly our first mistake was in forgetting that cardinal rule of lawyers - don't ask a question to which you don't already know the answer.

Which is my way of saying - please send help, either in the form of a top litigator or Emily Post. Pretty please?

12 comments:

Belle on Heels said...

He cracks me up. Never a dull moment :)

Amy @ Forever 29 said...

Ha! This is a big topic in our house...C's newest phrase is "thank you." He barely says anything else, but yet loves you to hand him something just so he can say it. We've been working on N to ask "with a sentence." He got the whole "cheese, please" thing, but now we're asking him to say "May I, yada yada" So don't worry, you're not behind the curve...or at least I'm right there with you if we are.

Whitericebryce said...

It doesn't get any better at 4.5. B and C sit at the table, bark out demands with nary a please or thank you without daily reminders. Example: Miss B, "GIVE ME MILK!". Mommy, "I didn't hear the magic word." Miss B, "PLEASE! GIVE! ME! MILK!" Milk is then delivered. Miss B, [silence]. Mommy, "What do you say?" Miss B, "This milk is not cold enough!" It is like a frustrating kick to the nuts on a daily basis.

The Preppy Princess said...

I'm sorry, I fail to see the problem, isn't this precisely how we want him running the as-yet-to-be-formed-corporation? (Heh, heh, heh.)

Signed,
TP's Evil Twin

AEOT said...

Spence has please down pretty well, but saying thank you is a CONSTANT reminder. He'll say it nicely when he says it, but he has never said it without prompting even though we've worked on it for months now. Our biggest goal now is getting him to say hi/good morning/hello/goodbye when greeting or leaving somewhere. He's much better at goodbye as he's warmed up to the situation by the time we are leaving, but Hello/Hi/Good morning have been impossible so far, especially at church or in an adult situation (the time when it's the most important, of course). We just keep plugging away at it!!

I read "Bringing up Bebe", and for all that people criticized it, I thought it was very interesting. Some of it wasn't surprising at all, some of it was criticizing stuff I would NEVER allow my children to do anyway, and some of it made a lot of sense. I'm glad I read it!

Thanks for your sweet comments on Spence's new room. I'm really happy with it and am glad we worked on it so hard. He's done sooooo well in his big boy bed, and I'm glad we transitioned him early so that he doesn't care about the crib anymore when the new baby comes. BTW, we've FINALLY got a name!! Just 2.5 weeks til we share it!!

Jen said...

I got a book on manners to work on with my seven year old daughter. She is very well behaved, BUT I fear we have been lax on emphasizing manners. I remember when she was little, my mil (who watched her for awhile) would CONSTANTLY require her (and the other granchildren) to say please and thank you constantly. Almost as in, 'please, can I breathe?' 'Thank you, Earth.' At the time it seemed a little overkill because it was not the way most people talk (including my mil) to each other. NOW, though, I definitely see the benefit! Every time we leave a friend's house I have to give my daughter an indiscreet nudge, which is the reminder to say, 'thank you for having me.' Every time!

Jen said...

I got a book on manners to work on with my seven year old daughter. She is very well behaved, BUT I fear we have been lax on emphasizing manners. I remember when she was little, my mil (who watched her for awhile) would CONSTANTLY require her (and the other granchildren) to say please and thank you constantly. Almost as in, 'please, can I breathe?' 'Thank you, Earth.' At the time it seemed a little overkill because it was not the way most people talk (including my mil) to each other. NOW, though, I definitely see the benefit! Every time we leave a friend's house I have to give my daughter an indiscreet nudge, which is the reminder to say, 'thank you for having me.' Every time!

Rachelle said...

It's so hard to be stern when confronted with an adorably impish face. We're starting to get a huge grin (head thrown back, eyes squeezed shut, flashing every single one of her eight teeth). We do everything we can not to laugh. But, when she knows she's got us, she starts wiping her arm in big sweeps across the table, knocking every bit of food to the floor. Oh well, at least the dog's happy.

Anna said...

This is too funny and entirely like many of our dinner conversations! Our latest battle: the normally sweet and mostly well-mannered, newly-minted three-year-old has a new favorite word. That word is none other than "boobies." We certainly don't use that word at home and can't figure out where he got it from! Any advice on how to get that word out of our rapidly expanding vocabulary? Trying to ignore it and correcting him only makes him repeat it more. And louder. Ahh, to be three!

Carly Anne said...

This is the kind of task that makes me terrified to parent. God speed, my friend.

Emily said...

My mom (a teacher) was here over spring break and decided my Jack needed some table manners. I was more than willing to let her take care of that. He learned to place his cup back on the highchair tray when he was finished drinking and to eat off of a plate (without knocking all remaining food into the floor when he was finished, which was his previous communication technique.)

I'm already lining up what she needs to teach him on her summer vacation.

Chas said...

I had my husband read this. He got a big kick out of it then looked at G with wide eyes and back at me. Haha.

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