Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mr. No Manners

I must apologize for our son. He seems to be having trouble with manners. Day in and day out, Jennifer and I try to teach him proper etiquette, but every time we turn around, he's spitting up on another nun.

Studies have shown that humans are born with certain skills that they forget shortly after entering this world. Babies know how to swim, they can perform basic math, and they understand what a "yield" sign means. Unfortunately, manners are not included with those skills.

Kyle has given us the finger. He talks in church and cries in restaurants. He leaves the toilet seat up. On one occasion, as his mom and dad tried to sing him a sweet lullaby to sleep, Kyle stared back at them and, without changing the serious expression on his face, let his bowels loose.

And then there's the belching. It should be limited to after meals, when we are burping him. In some cultures, a loud clearing of the air is considered a compliment to the chef. Apparently Kyle feels that compliment can be given at any time, and to anyone. Sometimes before the meal. Sometimes when you pick him up. Sometimes when he just wants to show off. It's so embarrassing. This kid has the talent to burp the alphabet. Fortunately he doesn't know any letters yet.

In recent weeks, Kyle has been taking pleasure in sticking his tongue out at people, usually with a smile. He does it often, and at everyone - it doesn't matter if you're a parent, grandparent, or a sweet little old lady just wanting to borrow some sugar. It's Kyle's new way of mocking us, as if he's saying, "You have to worry about work, unemployment, wars, taxes, gas prices, economic meltdowns on Wall Street, health care, weight loss, relationships, and alternate-side parking regulations. I don't care about any of those things - I can just lie around all day and make funny noises. Na-na-na-na-naaaaa-naaaa."

Jennifer and I have been working hard at teaching Kyle manners, but it's hard to punish bad behavior by threatening to take away dessert when he's not able to eat desserts yet. So, all we can do now is apologize to our family and friends, wipe the spit-up off of them, and pray that they won't take Kyle's mocking personally. He'll get better. We hope.

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