Monday, March 07, 2005

Parsing Words

My children are the offspring of a lawyer and a mother who argues about way too much stuff for her own good. Obviously they've learned a thing or two from us.

Recent encounters:

The Boy and The Girl are chasing each other around the house. The Boy begins doing something that makes The Girl upset. I'm working on something, so I say, "Boy!" in a firm voice. The Boy stops the harrassing behavior for a minute. He then begins again. "Boy!" I say in a slightly firmer tone. The Boy again stops making his sister scream and I go back to the things I'm working on. A few minutes later the behavior begins again. I call The Boy to my side and say, "Boy, I told you to stop." "No you didn't," he replies, "You never said the word stop."

Another morning, The Girl, The Boy, The Baby and I are snuggling in bed. This time of family bliss can not continue uninterrupted for long though before someone gets into someone else's space and the turf wars begin. The Girl begins trying to shove The Boy off the bed with her feet. "Girl, " I say, "Stop kicking your brother." "But, I not kicking. I'm pushing."

Indeed, I really believe they might argue the time of day, the color of the sky or anything else when they are feeling cantankerous, and you have to be careful what you say, because they are listening and parsing every word.

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