Friday, June 21, 2013

Magic words

On the list of "important things to teach Genevieve", good manners are at the top. I've mentioned before that we have been doing a little bit of sign language with her, and using a Costco-sized container of raspberries (and a trip to Costco, coincidentally), Mom and I got Genevieve to consistently sign "more, please".

Positive reinforcement is an amazing thing.

She said "walk, please".
She wants a sip of water? Please. A toy? Please. Another chorus of "Ten Little Monkeys"? Please. She asks for things that are - generally - totally fine, and we insist on the "please" to get her used to saying it. (Truth be told, I'm a habitual please-and-thank-you-er. Old habits die hard. Or last on and on indefinitely.)

What Genevieve has learned is that "please" opens doors. All she has to do is say "please", and she gets what she wants- especially from Grandma and GrandpaDahling. (As it should be, said every grandparent ever.)

Since her language is developing at a rate that is slower than she'd like, Genevieve will take her grownup-of-choice's hand, tow them to what she wants, and sign "please?" If nothing else, it keeps our days interesting.

A couple of weeks back, after dinner, she was taking GrandpaDahling for an informational tour of the house ("That? That?") when she reached for the bathroom door. Normally, we have an open-bathroom door policy (two dogs and a toddler; the math is simple), but not so much with guests (or my dad) in the house.

Genevieve reached for the doorknob, and GrandpaDahling said, "Nope; you need to wait until your Mommy is ready for you."

Two which she gave him the Biggest. Eyes. Ever. and signed "Please?"

What could my father do? He was powerless against the cuteness. And the manners. He sent Genevieve in, and explained simply, "She said 'please'."


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This is a really great post. I hope you don't mind I pinned it to pinterest, I want to remember for if I have kids in the future. I am a please and thank you stickler too! Thank you ;)

  3. I always remember at gym club when my eldest was about 18 months. The teacher was pretending to be a magician. She asked " what's the magic word?" The other kids shouted "abracadabra" . My daughter shouted "please".

  4. Such is life with a toddler or two! Love hearing about the pleases because my three year old says "I want" more than anything else. I usually tell him I want a million dollars. Hubby and I talked about teaching our things to sign but he didn't want to learn to sign. I still think it would have made life easier a few years ago.

  5. I'm so well trained from my childhood and the childhood of my nieces/nephews that "What's the magic word?" can be a mildly embarrassing auto-response to requests/demands from my friend's kids, the neighbor kids, the husband... ;-)

  6. adorable. it's never too early to teach good manners.


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