Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Art of Conversation

Thursday, Ethan went out of town. I got the kids ready to go to the store for the needed trash bags (and several grocery bags worth of not-so-neededs). While I readied the babies, I sent the older kids outside.

When I came out, Benjamin (8) informed me that he was instructing Lily (6) in the Art of Conversation.

"Mmmm-hmmm," I absent-mindedly replied.

But then when we got into the van, the Art of Conversation instruction was continuing, and I was more alert.

"So, Lily," Ben was saying, "if you want something like...a goldfish, you can ask. And then if Mama says, 'No,' you don't just stop there. You go a little further...'Well, Mama, I'd be willing to pay for it.' If you're willing to pay for something, they're more likely to let you get it, because then if the goldfish dies, who cares? You paid for it, not them! But if she still says, 'No,' go a little further ... ask, 'Why not? What do I have to do to be able to get it?' If she still says, 'No,' think how you can go a little further. Mama's easy like that. She's a softie. [!!!!] 

"Now I actually tried this conversation with Mama, and at first it was simple. But then it got complicated. Mama said, 'You'll have to ask Papa.'

"Papa is much harder. When he says, 'No,' he means it. But I've found that if you use special language with Papa, that sometimes works ... if you say something like, 'Oh, kind and brave father...' "

Lily interrupted. "Oh, like fairy tale language!"

Ben quickly clarified. "Well, I like to call it poetic."

"Pathetic?" asked Lily.

"No!" corrected Ben. "Poetic! Poetic!!!"
Now several things come to mind here. First, they think I'm soft? I say, "No!" all day long! But, come to think of it, I guess that's the problem: I say, "No" all day long, while Ethan just says it once.

And Ethan can be buttered up with flattery? Good to know...

We did find this lying on one of our nightstands last night:

This was found on MY nightstand. Chance? Or strategy?


  1. There must be something fishy in the air because Peter wants a goldfish for his birthday, which is - OH - a MONTH away. And I don't know where to put a tank or bowl where it won't get knocked over or someone's smelly sock won't be haphazardly tossed into it. And guess who would probably get stuck cleaning the tank? And Peter is a softie, so when it goes belly up... But Pet Smart has them for $.13. Now who is thinking like a softie?

  2. I certainly hope something in all this effort has paid off in a goldfish at your place. :)

  3. Andrea, I know, I know!! I don't want another thing that I have to take care of! And they could be GIVING the goldfish away and there'd still be the headache of getting the food, taking care of it, cleaning the tank/bowl, etc., etc., etc. But Ethan's verdict was, "We'll see," so I guess ... we'll see.

    TobyBo, you HUSH! They do not need a co-conspirator in this!!!! Why would you wish that upon a poor goldfish? :)

  4. Ok you need to send me your email address. Oh, and by the way, we have 4 goldfish. Abby won them when she was in 2nd grade. She's now in 7th. Despite underfeeding,overfeeding, gray water, chlorine, algae and general neglect, they are doing swimmingly! WHAT am I doing wrong?

  5. Oh, Peggy, what a horror story! One tip: you may have too much water in the tank :)

    My email is covenantmama(at)juno(dot)com.

    Uck! Really??? FIVE YEARS of goldfish? That's a lot of ick.

  6. personally,I think I deserve a goldfish!


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