We all try to teach our kids to use good manners, but are there any hidden problems with that?
“Now Tarquin, what’s the magic word?”
We’ve all heard this conversation, prompted our children in the same way, and even been on the receiving end back when we were all ill-mannered little louts, but is there a point when your child can become too polite?
Woah, don’t run off! This isn’t a humble-brag post about how my little cherub has the table etiquette befitting of a baron or something – quite the opposite. Instead, I’m concerned that My three-year-old son has discovered a loophole that means that he can still be an absolute lout as long as he does it politely. Let me explain –
On picking him up from nursery on my day off, the nursery assistant was all smiles, “Gregory’s been lovely again today, as always” she beamed. The car ride home though told a different story:
“I had to tell Courtney (the nursery assistant) off today, Daddy”
Uh-oh. It transpired that today had been photo day, and after what we assumed to be some pissing about in front of the camera (an assumption confirmed when we received five pages of proofs of Gregory in various ‘double-thumbs-up, Fonz-style’ poses), he was told by the nursery assistant “that’s enough now”.
“No thank you, teacher“ was the indignant reply. After which I can only assume he upturned his collar and got back to some fonzie-style posing.
Now of course, he said, “thank you”, addressed her formally, and totally got away with it, even getting a giggle from the staff. But when you get to the bare bones of it, he was being a bloody lout!
My suspicion is that he’s all-too-aware of this magical ‘get out of jail card’, and the signs are that he’s trying to get away with it at home now. Leaving him in a room playing whilst I nipped to the toilet, I returned to find the lounge looking like a deleted scene from Apocalypse Now. “How did you make such an incredible mess in such a short time?” I pleaded.
“You’re welcome” was the ice cold reply. Damn it. I can’t get mad at that. Another victory for the three-year-old gent.
Rudely awoken by his bedroom door opening and slamming against the wall in typical loutish-style the other morning, he shouts out “good morning, Daddy. It looks nice outside; are we doing anything today?”
“Well we weren’t, son, but seeing as you’ve woken me at 5am, I guess the world’s our oyster now!”
But of course, I was charmed by his faux-courteous greeting, and he gets away with his early wake-up call. By the time I’ve staggered to him half-asleep, given him a cuddle and promised to take him out, I realise that it was 5am: it didn’t look remotely nice outside, and the curtains hadn’t even been opened.
Well played, Gregory, well played.