Sunday, September 20, 2009

Gift of Gab

In one short car ride yesterday I was challenged as a parent in two completely different ways within a single topic. Namely, the fine art of conversation.

The first challenge was presented by my daughter, who, while lovely and charming and wonderful up to yesterday, will now have to be sold into slavery.

You see, she has begun speaking in questions? Ending all her sentences with question marks? Like this? Which is so annoying I may lower my price for her when I sell her for medical experiments at the start of business tomorrow?

Thankfully she doesn't do it all the time (she saw my face turn sour in the rear view mirror yesterday and wisely chose to clam up), but it has been happening more and more of late and so I'm afraid the sale is inevitable.

Oh sure - the parenting pundits will say something about how parents are not teaching their children how to converse and listen and participate in a relevant fashion to the talk going on around them. WE can do that, but sadly we are not in charge of training the other 300 miscreant, illiterate peer-pressuring children my kids interact with on a daily basis.

The other parenting dilemma I faced during the same car trip was my son not really participating in Dad's chosen activity.

Now I know I should not be so insensitive as a parent to actually indulge in something I want to do for a few brief minutes, but I thought I could get away with it yesterday.

I was listening to a science program on the radio, about the possibilities of space-based power generation. Science intrigues me, and this topic was particularly stimulating.

In the middle of the best part of the interview, my son loudly said: "Dad? Jordan has a red Hot Wheel car - did you know that?"

This immediately brought a response from his sister, further drowning out the science program on the radio.

Sister: "Is that the one in the basement or the one in his bedroom?"

I comforted myself, face in hand, with the thought that the program I was listening to, now lost in the jumble of voices in the back seat, is also available in podcast form.

In the meantime, I have for sale 2 children, 8 years old, both with most of their grown-up teeth, house trained, polite, generally agreeable when not gagged. Will trade for new recliner or reliable automobile. Inquire within.

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