(at dinner table)

Wonderful Wife: “You need to use your fork on the spaghetti, not your fingers. We don’t eat with our hands.”

Little Miss Thing, age 7: “Nope.”

WW: “That wasn’t a question. A better response would be, ‘Yes, Mama’.”

LMT: “No. I don’t feel like it.”

WW: (glaring)

Me: “That was strike two. If you don’t respond appropriately to your mother, there will be serious consequences.”

LMT: “Like what?”

Me: “Like… losing all your electronics for a day.”

LMT: “I don’t care.”

Me: “OK, wiseguy. How about losing electronics for a week?”

LMT: “I don’t care.”


Me: “Hmmm. Then I guess I’ll have to take away that new stuffed animal you bought last…”

LMT: “Sorry, Mama. I won’t do it again.”


Blurty Blurter

Wonderful Wife: “How was school today, Son?”

Little Miss Thing, age 7: “He went to the…”

Danger Monkey, age 10: “Nooooooo!!! I forbid you from saying anything for me!!!”

Me: “Whoa, man. Let’s not command your sister.”

DM: “Why not? It’s important.”

Me: “Because if you ask politely, I’ll help you enforce it. If you shout commands, you’re on your own.”

DM: (deep thinking)

DM: “Can you please not blurt out details of my day?”

LMT: “Sure.”

Me: “There. Doesn’t that seem better?”

DM: “No. She’s a blurty blurter. I don’t think she’ll stop without a threat.”

Me: “Believe it or not, it’s not about her. It’s about how we treat people. You’ll get better results with polite requests.”

DM: (dubious look) “We’ll see.”