Thursday, 4 October 2007

How about it?

Let us say, for starters, that this is hypothetical.

Harried mother glances at floor which is strewn with sketch pens with the caps off, pieces of crayon that look like they were bitten, papers fluttering around, misshapen pieces of playdough, hundred small pieces of imitation - miniature kitchen ware, and so on. Vein pops. Blood pressure rises. She takes deep breaths. Counts to ten. Then -

"How about picking up all these things from the floor?"

she says, fixing her eyes on the two girls. The older replies

"Who says how about... ? Who speaks like that?"

More veins pop. BP goes off scale.

"Oh Miss Know-it-all; are you trying to teach me English? Cause you know, your English is crap. You have no idea. You have no aptitude for it, and, clearly, no attitude to learn it. Everyone who has any idea about the language knows that that is a polite way of saying pick the damn things off the floor before I clobber you on the side of your head and knock your teeth off. But of course, you would not know polite if it was given to you on a platter with horse-chestnuts around it. Besides, remember how you say things like 'The Lamp BEES there'? Well that is the most ridiculous sentence I have heard because BEES are little tiny insects that go BUZZ and make honey; while, all the while, the Lamp IS sitting right there, Miss Smarty Pants. So get those greasy strands of your limp unhealthy hair off your eyes, and PICK THESE DAMN THINGS UP FROM THE FLOOR AND PUT THEM AWAY..."

Of course parts of it are in her harried head.


SrgntPepper said...


kbpm said...

well, at least it was not my child who said that in reality. though if she did, she would have gotten an instant time-out with no arguments (in my head or otherwise).

csm said...

i think the question the child asked is valid.
we sometime bring our adult communication styles to children and sometimes it is just not appropriate. and it is not only the swearing parts!!
keeping it direct is the better option.
tangential meanings and rhetoric is avoidable.
at a multiple language learning level, this direct approach makes more relevance.
kbpm needs a chill pill :-)

kbpm said...

aah csm. true. i need to take a chill pill. but see, i get really riled at some of the attitudes i see in kids today. i do know, in moments of sanity, that its unfair to hold them fully responsible for it, but still.. anyway i am making more efforts to not get irritated at mere sight or mention of certain children (and adults). i have at least two conquests in the past week. Feeling much better for it.
You are also right that a direct, simple sentence works much better for kids than any crazy construction. I am just spoiled because I can get away with my multi-lingual monster with pretty much anything. Nevertheless not fair on my part. I hear you and internalise that.

choxbox said...


1. just for perspective, did we put our things away when we were the age of said kid? well maybe we didnt have this many things in the first place..

2. having said that, its a good idea to get them to learn these things asap. the younger they are the easier it is.

3. at the risk of sounding patronising here's what i have to say - 'toys belong to the cupboard, not the floor. they may get trampled and ruined if left here. they might be happier if they went back to their homes' works, well sometimes at least.

okay, i'll stop lecturing now.

Vanessa said...

I hope it is hypothetical. You got me scared there...i could actually see my daughter mouthing all that....

kbpm said...

see normally i don't stress much about maintaining five star hotel cleanliness in the house. we sort of clear up at the end of activities, before starting dinner. we do it together, it is never that it is her responsibility exclusively or mine. we play together, clear up together. that is OK, i live with it, as choxbox says, i did not put things away so nicely when i was young (nor even when i am this old, for that matter!). its fine.

my problem though is that some kids cop this attitude, as if, its their birthright to disobey outright. with a particular look on their face, a sneer of sorts. that drives me bananas. at the end of a work-day i dont deal patiently with that. but my lessons are - (a) avoid discussions with such kids at such times (b) find the beautiful parts of such kids - which are always there - and focus on that.

With my own, she is so damn sensitive that I just need to show my angry face and she gets really really upset and crying. Sometimes we take care of that with quiet crying time in her crib; sometimes I put in extra effort and talk her out of it; sometimes I yell a little more and we both get very tired with it all and "Give up Maardo"..

But the post was not about clean-up of house issues. I don't bug about it much. Not my thing anyhow.

Thanks for comments, perspectives & feedback, its always welcome!!