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Parenting Camp

For the next week, my wife's insane mother and seven year old son will be staying with us. For the following week, just the seven year old will be staying with us.

For me, this is the longest continuous period of time I've ever spent in the presence of a younger-type human. Only child, you see. I'm finding that it's sort of like a parental training camp. I am rapidly learning that my old mode of speech may not be entirely appropriate for dealing with the young. For example...

 

Seven Year Old: (Whips my ass seven consecutive times at Nintendo)

Right: You've very good at that game.

Wrong: (Irritatedly) Well, I would have done a lot better if you'd brought the instructions so I could learn how to play.

 

Seven year old: Look! My front tooth is loose.

Right: Wow. You're getting to be a big boy.

Wrong: Cool! Pull it out!

Very Wrong: I'll give you ten bucks to pull it out.

 

Seven year old: (Shoots, like, 50 Russian soldiers in a row while playing Nintendo)

Right: You're good at that game.

Wrong: That's what you do when people make you mad at school.

 

Seven year old: I'm half Hungarian and half Polish.

Right: That means you have a very interesting heritage. Let's fire up Encarta and see what we can learn about your people.

Wrong: That means that you REALLY hate the Russians.

 

Seven year old: I trade Pokemon cards with kids at school. I can trade my really bad card for their really good cards, and then I can sell them!

Right: That's not very nice. You should trade fairly with your little schoolyard chums.

Wrong: That's great! Then you can take the money and buy people's bad cards for really cheap, and trade THEM for good cards, and make more money!

 

Seven year old: School is really boring. It's too easy.

Right: Now, Edward. School is very important, and you need to work at is as hard as you can, no matter how hard that is.

Wrong: I'm sure it is. It was for me too. That's OK. It'll get more interesting later on.

 

All examples were drawn from actual, recent conversation. Now guess... how many times did I say the Wrong thing?

Yes. All of them.

So my children, should God allow me the have them, will probably wind up burying hitchhikers in their crawlspaces. But at least they'll be able to make witty, ironic comments while they do it.


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