Thing 1 is my oldest son. He’s my Mini Me. In so many ways, I can see myself in him. He’s goofy, he can be a nerd, he has an insanely silly side. Dry sense of humor at times. Voracious reader since he was little – I quit teaching him to read with Hooked On Phonics when he started kindergarten because I realized that reading at a 5th grade level in kindergarten might not actually be the best thing. (He was reading Harry Potter books in kindergarten. And I wonder why we argue now…)
But we have some fun arguments. More like discussions, but they can devolve into silliness very easily because we both lean that way.
Best example – driving to his soon to be college campus a few weeks ago. Because Thing 1 has been reading so well for so long, I often don’t realize how much he taught himself. Randomly during conversations, he’ll say a word, and he’ll mispronounce it. I can’t even think of a word that he does this with at the moment, but it’s during converations with him that I’ll hear him say something, and I’ll ask him to repeat it. And of course, I’ll correct it. But this particular conversation started a little differently.
Me: That’s not how you say that. It’s (whatever word it was)
Thing 1: (sigh). Why do you do that?
Me: You said it wrong. You should pronounce it the right way or people won’t understand you.
T1: Did you know what word I meant?
Me: Well, yes. But..
T1: No buts. You knew what it was. So therefore you didn’t have to correct me.
Me: You should say it right. People might make fun of you. And what if I hadn’t understood?
T1: But you did. That’s the point. We communicated. I said something and you understood me, even if I said it wrong. You don’t have to correct me, because we C.O.M.M.U.N.I.C.A.T.E.D.
ME: One word. Mom. That’s what moms do.
T1: Do you think George Bush’s mom corrected him? No.
Me: I bet she did. He mispronounces stuff all the time. She probably cringed every time she heard him speak. Listen to your mother.
T2: But my MOTHER is correcting me when she doesn’t need to.
Me: You know who else’s mom corrected him – and he didn’t listen? Hitler’s mom. Hitler didn’t listen to his mother and look how he turned out. Bad. Don’t be like Hitler. Listen to your mother.
At this point, we’re giggling. It was a fun ride.
Now, fast forward to an eye doctor appointment the other day. I went with him for something to do. As I watched him fill out the paperwork, I sighed, and told him his handwriting was atrocious. It really is. I asked him to try a little harder so that it was legible. This dissolved into a conversation that had people around us giving us the strangest looks.
T1: There you go again. Can you read it?
Me: A little. But it looks like you’re in second grade. Write better, please.
T1: I bet Hitler’s mom didn’t correct his writing.
Me: I bet she did and he didn’t listen. Maybe that’s why he turned out so awful. Listen to your mother. Write better. Please.
T1: I bet Hitler turned out the way he did BECAUSE of his mother. I bet she nagged him about his speech. Or his writing. And one day, he just lost it. That’s when he became Bad Hitler. He was probably a great guy before she drove him mad. This does not end well, Mother. Just resist.
Me: Resistance is futile, grasshopper. Listen to your mother. Write better. And that’s not how you say (whatever word he’s just said wrong)
ETA: in reading back over this, one thing is clear to me…when did I start to sound like I was 80? Yeesh. Maybe that’s why we’ve never heard much about Hitler’s mom. She nagged herself to death.