Nigel and Ki-woon sit in adjacent high chairs. Scrambled eggs stucco their faces, their trays, and the floor beneath them. Toast crumbs similarly. Nigel calls out. "Dah! Dah!" "Do you want down, sweetie? You want down out of your chair?" Ki-woon: "Yes."
"Ki-woon? Do you want this apple slice? You want an apple?" Mary waves it enticingly just out of reach. Ki-woon leans forward. "Uh, uh!" Clear enough. He wants the apple. Let's see if we can get some manners begun. "Say 'ta-ta'." (This being an acceptable small-toddler substitute for 'thank you', for a the weeks or months till they can say the full word.) "Ta-ta. You want an apple? Ta.Ta." Very careful and deliberate enunciation, lots of eye contact, inches from his face. Mary waits. Ki-woon lunges for the apple. Mary pulls it back a little further, smiles encouragingly. "Say 'ta-ta', sweetie. You can do it. 'Ta.Ta.'" "Uh. Uh." Ki-woon is becoming annoyed with my intransigence. Suddenly... Nigel's pudgy hand flashes out and snatches the slice! "Ta-ta!" crows, impish grin wide across his face. Ki-woon is truly shocked by this development. "Uh! Uh!" More lunging for the apple, which is vanishing quickly. "Uh! Uh! Uh! Uh! Uhhh.... TA!TA!" Ha! This, my friends, is called "peer pressure".
~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P