Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

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.

  • It’s just the beginning. By the time they are “almost” 6 they say “can we move on now?”. For example:

    Me: How was your day at school today, Felix?
    Felix: Good. (pause) And not so good.
    Me: What was the best part?
    Felix: Playing with Liam at recess and lunch.
    Me: And what was the part that wasn’t so good.
    Felix: Having to sit still.
    Me: Yeah, that can be hard sometimes.
    Felix: Can we move on now?

    Along with “let it go”, “move away”, “I’m not your slave” and so on and so forth.

  • I haven’t been able to view any of the videos you put on your site and now your audio clip crashes my computer. Are you and Windows out to get me?

    I wish I had something clever to say that includes “Please, that’s right!” but it’s 5:30am and I’ve got nothing. So I’ll just tell you to have a good day.

  • I notice the sponge thing when the small English children wot frequent my office began swearing in Serbian.

    More power to them, their accent was pretty good.

  • LOL! Well, at least she doesn’t think her name is “Leta, no!”…which I’ve heard a few kids say when they do that adorable thing of referring to themselves in third person.

    The little monkeys…they really are somewhere between tiny Einsteins and a big lab dog.

    Cute video!

  • This is my first time to your site. It’s great. I just read the “About this site” section. I have to say YES! Another person saved from the meat hooks of Mormonism. I know all about that myself. I used to live in the Orem/Provo area so you can imagine how bad that was. As for BYU, I’ve never received a ticket for smoking in my car anywhere else. Need I say more?

  • FlippyO

    Okay, so I don’t have any kids, but my African Grey says, “Love you, night-night, morning” when she’s going to bed. We tell the birds each night, “I love you. Night-Night. See you in the morning.” She prefers to make it her own. Sadly, our eight year old will always speak like a toddler, and occasionally poop on the floor.

  • Sarah

    Precious!!! That’s right, huh? 🙂

  • THIS, THIS IS WHAT MAKES ME FINALLY SIGN UP FOR AN ACCOUNT TO COMMENT HERE!

    That is just too damn hilarious, and quite adorable, that’s right.

  • That audio clip made me laugh out loud, which is nice because I’m sad that 7th Heaven is over forever. Where else am I going to get corny family drama from now on? 🙁

  • You guys make me want to figure out how to record my little guys babbling… even if at 9 months all he says is Da Da… What do I have to do to get a mama???

  • Okay she can have our car or our first born child … do you think she is mature enough to care for a baby yet? (I mean she did say “please, that’s right, huh” which sounds pretty darn mature to me!!!

  • kerry

    how precious was that?

  • Zzzzzz…

  • coelacanth

    I caught the sarcasm, but I’m still interested to ask. Does anyone else find that using any degree of physical contact to discipline a child is the epitome of lazy parenting? I know the word stress often doesn’t begin to do parenting justice, but are some adults so ignorant that they lose the battle of wits with their 2-year old so badly they need to hit the kid? I hope that serves to most of you as nothing more than a rhetorical question.

  • Yay for you, Heather!

    As a future teacher, I’d like to thank you for teaching Leta manners, it’s too often forgotten these day. You get the Parent of the Day award.

  • CJ

    That is so cute! My kid, about Leta’s age says peas. I know he means please so he gets the whatsit, but it’s the shortest most condensed please. I love how Leta drew hers out. And the that’s right huh ending was hilarious.

    I also must thank you for the Chuck photo last Friday. Beautiful dog.

  • Now if you had said that you were putting ketchup in her bourbon, I would have been offended.

  • Every day should have a Leta soundbite 🙂

    When my daughter was 3, I was so proud she could say her whole name. When my grandma prompted her to say her last name, she proudly said it was “Don’t Touch”. Ouch LOL.

  • We’re getting the “oops-sorry” – like it’s all one word. The please? We’re getting there. I get shivers everytime I say “What do you say” – since well, I sound eerily like my mother. Some things you just can’t avoid, I guess.

  • carissa

    PWEASE put back up the video of the reading and the wiggling toes!!! I didn’t get to see it before but I finally figured out what I need to do to make it work (I was able to see the “twinkle twinkle” one, SO CUTE).

  • Awesome clip. My friend Ruby is currently pottytraining her little girl. Today, we had lunch at a semi-busy mexican restaurant and she took Ruby Jr. to the potty. When they came back, Ruby Jr. announced proudly, “Sammy, I peed!” Of course I congratulated her. Then, more loudly and clearly, “Momma peed, too.” So the restaurant and I congratulated Ruby.

    You can potty train em, but you can’t take em out.

  • That was so sweet and hysterical! I’m still laughing…

  • At least she’s not saying, “Please. That’s right, shitforbrains.”

  • TripTikGirl

    That’s the sweetest little voice I’ve ever heard…

  • You’ve gotten her trained well! Very cute!

    When my three year old wants food, he says, “Gimme snack!” I’ll reply, “No, say May I have a snack please?” He’ll smartly say, “Yeah, snack!” Like Duh, mom, that’s what I meant the whole time!

  • brainiac

    AAAAGGHH!! Must….resist….baby….lust….

    I can’t, I don’t, I shouldn’t, I won’t, think about having more kids but OHHHHHH that voice!! OHHHHH maybe I could stand having just one more. Somebody slap me before I do something crazy.

  • tksinclair

    I can’t help but wonder if you posted these sound clips on iTunes how much money you’d make.

  • sylvia

    The Leta audio is precious and sweet and I love it, but the one that makes me laugh out loud just remembering it is Heather’s, “Is this thang on?” I’m cackling as I type.

  • This made me, my 17-year-old and my 11-year-old Crack Up. Love love love the audio clips. Keep ’em comin’ please, that’s right, huh?

  • oh my lord, dying from the cuteness! so hilarious.

  • The “huh” is especially funny to me. My 2 1/2 year old son recently started saying “WHAAAAT?!?!”.

    I had no idea where he picked it up until I caught myself saying it in response to one of his full sentences of gibberish.

  • Melanieflorida

    Sometimes Leta makes me want to reach into the computer and squeeze her cheeks. Her little voice and her little ponytails (and her little farts) are too cute for words. You’re pretty damned lucky.

  • They are little sponges, aren’t they?

    At least “huh?” is less offensive than some of the things I’ve heard parroted back to me lately: “Mama, why did you say Jesus Fuck?” That’s my boy.

  • The Barb

    I listened because I could, because you put it out there and because my babies are 18, 16 1/2 and 10 and they will never ever say “pleeeease that’s right, huh?” ever again in their lives…

    B

  • Stacey

    Soooooo adorable! Thanks for making my day!
    Stacey, Australia

  • Nee

    Here’s something else you can teach her. Grabbing boobs is inappropriate (unless maybe you’re auditioning for girls gone wild.

    A friend’s 3 year old grabbed my C cup at a bbq and said “WHAT’S THAT?” As I pulled her hand away, her mother not so endowed mother busted out laughing.

  • Waiter: I am the waiter sir.
    Bruce Willia: Oh. Very nice. Fettucini con fungi porcinni. Prego. Oh, and bring me a bottle of ketchup, will ya?
    Waiter: Ketchup! Ketchup!!! Stupid Americanos always ketchup…

    Legendary Hudson Hawk. You and Blurb watch and let’s see if Rose’s head actually does explode. Then my head will explode. Chaos everywhere… induced by Hudson Hawk. The world will never be safe again!

  • Yeah..

    I meant Bruce WILLIS there. Sorry my typing is off today. I thanks everyone for their incontinence (instead of inconvenience) in a mass email. I should remain in bed.

  • Adorable! It’s amazing how these little beings help you see what phrases you use without even thinking. Apparently I say “sweet” a lot 🙂

  • KSharp

    So cute! I love how she makes it one long phrase … pweeeasethatsrighthuh. Thanks for the laugh!

  • tksinclair

    I used to live for your blog entries (I know, get a life, right?) but now I live for the tiny audio clips. How I wish they had technology when my kids were little – besides cans and string – listening to Leta I can easily imagine their little voices and it honestly brings joy to my heart and tears to my eyes every dang time. It never fails to smack me right in the heart and make me want to scoop all the work on my desk into the trash can and get out the photo albums. Thanks for sharing that. It made a very rough work day end so sweet.

  • painterly1

    Heather,
    I felt the need to tell you how much I enjoy your witty, talented writing. It’s like reading good literature with the added bonus of knowing that it is actually someone’s real life. Thank you.

  • Too cute! I love when they learn to say please and thank you. My two year old says, “Gank ew, Mommy.” Rarely does she ever say please spontaneously, but she will if we ask her to.

  • sadly, Rose, I had to ask Jon who Hudson Hawk was. he wasn’t sure.

  • Candice

    Cute!

    My niece is nine months, and I’ve taught her the sign language for “please.” When she wants something and I tell her to use the sign, she moans and begrudgingly slaps her hand against her chest. It looks suspiciously like the thing people do when they think something is retarded…

  • KfK

    That is funny. Children absorb EVERYTHING! I can’t imagine how many people are going to take you seriously with the bourbon and spanking humor. Get ready for the insults!

  • That is so so cute!

  • Ketchup on the steak? Dear Lord, is that a Hudson Hawk reference? Please tell me it isn’t – I couldn’t love the blurbodoocery any more, and if you’re closet Hudson Hawk fans, my brain will explode.

    Leta is just too sweet! Hope you are all well!

  • painterly1

    Heather,
    I felt the need to tell you how much I enjoy your witty, talented writing. It’s like reading good literature with the added bonus of knowing that it is actually someone’s real life. Thank you.

  • Gah, that’s priceless. Almost makes me want to run out and have one.

    Almost. Not quite, but close.