Heater, Mother of Lance

Ask nicely

In an effort to offset some of the eventual bad habits she might learn from us, like scratching her parts in public or asking a member of the wait staff for some ketchup to put on her steak, we’re trying to get Leta to ask for things nicely. It’s the least we could offer humanity.

Whenever she demands something that isn’t unreasonable, like chocolate candy for breakfast or maybe some ice in her bourbon, we stop her and tell her not to ask us like that. “Say please,” one of us will say, and then we wait for her to comply. If she doesn’t then we try something more convincing. Like spanking. Or yanking her fingers out of their sockets.

We didn’t realize that after she says please both of us were praising her with a hearty, “That’s right!” until she started tacking that on to her request: “More chips, please, that’s right!” And now when we tell her to ask nicely she always includes “that’s right!” plus an extra “huh?” because it’s all she ever hears.
If both Jon and I were forced to take that one word out of our vocabulary this house would suddenly become a family of mutes.

Here is an audio clip of Leta asking nicely.

  • Paula Schmitt

    2006/05/09 at 11:34 am

    How adorable is that?!

    My daughter does the same thing and she is 4 yrs old now!

    So sweet….

  • lane

    2006/05/09 at 11:51 am


    She’s soooo cute.

  • Nat W.

    2006/05/09 at 12:17 pm

    Too cute. Someone above mentioned something about “coat-on,” etc. I used to always say, “Where’s my bib-on?!” God, I must’ve been a cute child. 😉

    And some people have mentioned your Southern accent…my Arkansan ears are wondering what accent??

  • MelisAGoGo

    2006/05/09 at 12:20 pm

    Little Man (19 months) saw the reading/farting entry and was all “BABY!” When she sang Twinkle Twinkle, he applauded and gave a resounding “YAY!”

    He heard this, pointed at the quicktime logo and said “Peas?Peas?” and gave a prompt “Dat doh” with a nod when it was done.

    It’s awesome to see our little ones learn and grow. 🙂

  • chris

    2006/05/09 at 12:23 pm

    Finger-Socket-Pulling sounds like a proper punishment.

    She’s so cute.

  • -leslie.-

    2006/05/09 at 10:30 am

    When I was 14, I had a babysitting job for twins named John and Katie. They were in the same class at kindergarten, and it took almost a year for their parents and me to convince them that “you may be seated” was NOT an integral part of the Pledge of Allegiance.

  • Heather

    2006/05/09 at 10:30 am

    All that Leta cuteness in one tiny little audio clip!! Completely adorable!!

  • Vikki

    2006/05/09 at 10:37 am

    My son is 4 and has always had really good pronunciation but the other day, I heard him drop a glass in the kitchen and say, “Geez dischrist”. Clearly, he misunderstood that one. My daughter is just starting to talk and I can’t wait! These are fun times…

  • LeafGirl77

    2006/05/09 at 11:06 am

    When my sister was young, she couldn’t say “Yellow Thing”; it sounded like “Lellow Sing”. I worked tirelessly to get her to say it properly… Obviously I didn’t just take it for what it was worth.

    Now?? I’d give anything to hear “Lellow Sing” again. But I seriously doubt a 16 year old would do that for me.

  • Jen

    2006/05/09 at 10:04 am

    Thanks so much for sharing your life w/ Jon and Leta with the internet. I’ve been following your site for a while now, but Leta’s little voice pushed me over the edge, and I had to comment. Absolutely the most beautiful, sweet little baby girl ever, my ovaries hurt too! Keep up the good work.
    P.S. We share the same love of crap tv – I just have to have my ANTM, Law & Order, CSI…

  • sarahekite

    2006/05/09 at 10:07 am

    AH! That’s SO sweet!

  • RandiRed

    2006/05/09 at 10:07 am

    I just love these little monsters. They are so scrumptious at this age it’s amazingly fattening!

    For awhile we were chuckling when our son, a month younger than your Leta, would say thank you. He would do wahtever it is he was doing and say ‘Tank you’ and then right after a ‘Welcoe’. They just keep us rolling on the floor with laughter.

  • Tammytalksalot

    2006/05/09 at 9:16 am

    How adorable… Dooce, I am a longtime fan and I have to say Leta is so adorable! You’re a great mom!

  • Ms.Black

    2006/05/09 at 9:20 am

    I have a 3-year old that when I say, “ask nicely,” he says, “ask nicely.” I know my blabbing about manners does nothing more than fill dead air space. I hope his school doesn’t mind that he says, “I love your shit.” Who needs ‘please’ anyway?

  • lyndsey_elise

    2006/05/09 at 9:27 am

    In order for our 2 year old to say words correctly, my husband and I will often repeat back what she’s has asked for:

    Daughter: Muk, please!
    Us: Do you want milk?
    Daughter: Sure, o.k.!

    Like it was our idea in the first place.

  • amanda m

    2006/05/09 at 9:30 am

    You know I totally think you could get her to say “smoke a bowl mommy” using this type of conditioning….ha-ha!

    They catch on to what they hear, why just last week my son came home with a note from his teacher asking me to ask my son what he called a character they made up in class. (They’re working on synonyms…and this king was a very BAD king) So I asked him and my son with his hands on his hips proudly said, “BASTARD”. We had a talk and quickly put that word on out dirty word list.

    Thanks for sharing your precious daughter with us!

  • Tommy from Michigan

    2006/05/09 at 9:47 am

    I cannot believe you serve your daughter bourbon without an age appropriate mixer.

  • monkey

    2006/05/09 at 9:58 am

    I have the dilemma of either saying the word so Connor picks it up in his vocab or getting him to use “Please”. (His brother is well known for his good manners, which I swear did not come from me.) Lately he’s picking up his name. So if I say something his brother’s, Connor will pick the item back up and emphatically say his version of Connor, which kinda sounds like “Cnnr”. No vowels. At least I think it’s “Connor”. It could be “Go to hell lady, it’s mine and I want it.” Either way, at least he’s communicating, right?

  • Amber

    2006/05/09 at 10:03 am

    Dear Lord, she is cute.

    When I have to remind Mini-Amber to say please, she loves to point it out if I don’t say thank you in return. Or if she says thank you, then I’ll hear “You’re SUPOSTAH say you’re welcome!” afterwards.

  • gordon

    2006/05/09 at 8:25 am

    I am personally worried about the fact that our 3 dogs and my cat get a better and much louder reaction from my 7-month old when they come into the room than when I come in the room. I think the 7 month old thinks she is a cat (or at least a dog…certinally not human)

  • Tiggerlane

    2006/05/09 at 8:28 am

    Great!! I agree — this could be the beginning of a club hit. She has a certain rhythm in her voice!

    Really amazing how sponge-like children are at that age. Then they become like a super-mega-defense sheilds as they mature – where everything you say is immediately rebuffed and contradicted.

  • Susan D.

    2006/05/09 at 9:04 am

    My kiddo is 2 1/2 and lately we’ve gone beyond Please and Thank you to “Mama, please may I have a cookie?” or “Daddy, please may I watch Wiggles?” It comes out “Mamma please cookie” but it works for me. The payoff was the day he started adding “certainly!” to the end of his requests. Guess I need to pick a new word. He already says “I welcome” after he says “Thank You.” Amazing little sponges, aren’t they?

  • blackbeltmama

    2006/05/09 at 8:05 am

    I can never hear the audios and am bummed about it because the video clips are so darn cute! Congrats on the whole asking to go to bed thing. It’s so wonderful when they do that on their own!

  • Stenar

    2006/05/09 at 8:18 am

    Southern accent? I don’t detect any southern accent in Heather’s voice, but then I live in SLC, too and it sounds like a typical SLC accent to me.

  • Krisco

    2006/05/09 at 7:35 am

    That’s cute.

    My little girls say “UHNH!” every time they lift something up, because, apparently, that’s what I do every time I lift up one of them. Oops!

  • Mack'sMom

    2006/05/09 at 7:37 am

    Oh, and we live in Minnesota so you can only imagine the poor Fargo-like accent she has been revealing! There’s no such thing as YES, she went directly to the “Yea” but with the northerly pronunciation of “Yah!” When she finishes it off with a “Sure ya’betcha” I’ll have to start keeping her away from her grandparents!

  • jenny

    2006/05/09 at 7:46 am

    I don’t have any kids yet of my own, but I’ve spent a lot of time with four-year-olds and up. I was amazed this weekend, however, when I volunteered at a day care center for 1-2 year olds. At first I thought it would be boring, because most of the kids weren’t old enough to talk in ways that would be understood by anyone but their parents. But then I started interacting with them, and I realized that, even though they weren’t saying much (that was comprehensible) back, their little brains were working at five times the speed of ours. Every time I said something to one little boy (who was a little older than the rest), he would repeat it back slowly, kind of nodding his head as if he was considering it very carefully. He repeated and processed every single word that he heard. But what amazed me most was that every time I’d pick up one of the kids to put them in a chair or whatever, I’d make a little noise. There was one girl who I hadn’t really interacted with yet, but the first time I picked her up, she beat me to it–making exactly the same noise I had made when I had picked up the other kids.

    And as I sat through therapy yesterday, hashing over all the bad habits I’ve picked up from my own parents, I thought, well, it’s just no surprise at all that I’m like them. Yes, their habits are filtered through my own personality, but still. In very many ways, raising kids is like programming a tiny, stubborn robot.

  • Dana

    2006/05/09 at 7:34 am

    When my niece was Leta’s age she picked up on everything. I soon realized that I said ‘No way’ and ‘Rock on” far too often.

    Thanks for sharing your life. I love multimedia blogs, which is something I need to get going on my own.

  • destiny

    2006/05/09 at 7:19 am

    Well that is better than saying the ever famous Compton style, “Please Biotch, Aight”.

  • Shelli

    2006/05/09 at 7:23 am

    my ovaries just melted!

  • Mack'sMom

    2006/05/09 at 7:23 am

    My 2-year old duaghter now says her please and thank you together.
    “Mamma apple? Pees. Tit-u”
    “Pees Daddy, candy. Tit-u”

    She has her manners down, just a little mixed up…like her parents.

  • yogurtweaver

    2006/05/09 at 6:58 am

    Can I second Carissa’s request for you to put the ‘I read’ video clip back up? Oh pwee….

    In our family, outerwear is still referred to as ‘coat-on’, ‘hat-on’, ‘gloves-on’ etc even though it’s nearly 20 years since my brother picked it up from my parents saying ‘let’s put your coat on’ every time they left the house. Old habits die hard!

  • Stu mark

    2006/05/09 at 7:10 am

    First, I really do dig the “…please, that’s right, huh?”… Thanks for sharing these moments, they really brighten the day, like fresh flowers.

    Second, bravo on your blog. I find it a terrific part of my day and I appreciate your willingness to be so excellent at it. Thanks.

  • Joyous

    2006/05/09 at 6:26 am

    She is so Damn Cute!!!

    I love starting my morning reading your blog! It always makes me laugh.

  • smoness

    2006/05/09 at 6:34 am

    This is hilarious! What else can you teach her for us?!

  • Brian

    2006/05/09 at 6:36 am

    We always say “YAY!” when our daughter Reilly falls down to circumvent any crying.

    After reading your entry, I’m now afraid that she’ll shout “YAY!” when other kids fall down on the playground.

    Also, I’m sure I’m not the first to suggest this, but you have to enter Chuck in the Old Navy new mascot competition. He’s perfect. (Not that you didn’t already know that.)

  • Britishgirl

    2006/05/09 at 5:57 am

    The first day my eldest child started school, the dinner lady was asking the childrens names or what they liked to be called my sons response “Feel free to call me little buggar” cringe. Out of the mouths of babes

  • suze

    2006/05/09 at 6:13 am

    ooh! more leta audio! please, that’s right…

  • SuburbanTurmoil

    2006/05/09 at 6:24 am

    I just love the “Pweeses.” My two-year-old has taken to drawing it out if she doesn’t get what she wants, “Pweese? Pah-weeese? Pahhhh-WEEEEEEEESE?”

  • katehopeeden

    2006/05/09 at 5:50 am

    My daughter starts with “gimmie, gimmie, gimmie, gimmie” and will only throw on the obligatory please when prompted.
    But whenever you ask her if she wants anything that she doesn’t, she always responds with “no thank you.”
    So, I must be doing SOMETHING right 🙂

  • Anne Glamore

    2006/05/09 at 4:54 am

    That’s the greatest. Each of my 3 boys said “uh-oh!” first. I take this to mean I’m a huge klutz.

  • Brad Martin

    2006/05/09 at 5:12 am

    I think I might have thrown up a little from how cute that was.

  • Karen Rani

    2006/05/09 at 5:25 am

    That is adorable. Lately Troll Baby has been saying “Peas Fank You.” I love this age – so much more fun than cracked nipples and no sleep!

  • Snickrsnack Katie

    2006/05/09 at 5:28 am

    That was too cute. Leta sounds like a little girl now! My 17 month old niece says “Where AH you?” and runs around the house looking for whoever it is that she can’t see or find at the moment. When she finds whoever it is she is looking for, she says “AHHH!” The kid knows she is smart, I swear. The other day I caught her saying “Where AH you doggie?” as she chased the poor dog around the living room.

  • Liz

    2006/05/09 at 4:30 am

    Oh, my God. My daughter does this same thing, with a slight variation:

    “What do you say? Pleeaaaassse!! Very good!”

    The please part comes out like “Sheeeeeezzzhh!” which really belies her exasperation with this whole routine, I think…

  • meganlc

    2006/05/09 at 3:30 am

    I hope you’re saving these comments to show Leta when she’s a wretched teen. You can say, ‘See? Even the Internet thought you were cute once!’

    The audio and video posts are really enhancing the site Heather, keep it up!

  • minxlj

    2006/05/09 at 3:09 am

    Someone had a good idea, that could be a good dance track…

    Leta is just too cute. But wait until she’s older and saying things that you CAN’T broadcast on the internet. It’ll won’t be so cute, just funny…

  • Bluevartouhi

    2006/05/09 at 1:49 am

    I thought my computer was going to explode with the cuteness…

  • Shana Banana

    2006/05/09 at 1:58 am

    Pweeeease… that’s right, huh? OH MY GOSH! She is really the sweetest. Madison just looks at you when you ask her ” what do you say?” and repeats it. ” What do you say Mommy? ” I can’t wait until the terrible twos.

  • kim from germany

    2006/05/09 at 1:47 am

    i still think little kids speaking english is one of the cutest things EVER. it’s cute in german, but english… makes my heart melt. that’s right!

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Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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