Thursday, April 8, 2010

Car conversations

Jacob had his friend Joe over to play after school yesterday. I greeted the boys when they got into the car:

Cathy: Hi guys! Did you have a good day at school?
Joe: Yes, ma'am.
Jacob: You don't have to call her ma'am.
Cathy: Wow, I'm so glad the rain stopped! It sure has turned into a nice, sunny day, hasn't it?
Joe: Yes ma'am.
Jacob: Joe! You don't need to call her ma'am!!

Okay, now I'm from Connecticut. We don't really "do" the ma'am/sir thing. I mean, kids are taught to address grownups with respect, but "ma'am" and "sir" are not any kind of magic words of respect where I come from. In fact - and this is no joke (and Gina, if you read this, please pipe in and confirm this for me) - if a child were to call a teacher "ma'am" in CT, the teacher might well think that the kid was being a smart ass. So I just don't insist that my kids call me "ma'am." It is not what I grew up with, and it wouldn't feel natural for me to demand to be greeted that way.

That said, I have a very strong "when in Rome" philosophy, and the reality is that we live in a region of the country in which "ma'am" and "sir" are VERY important -- and very much a barometer of what kind of kid this is and how the kid was raised. So I DO teach my kids to refer to other grownups (teachers, parents of friends, random grandpas in Publix who tell them corny jokes, etc.) as ma'am or sir. I hope they are learning that lesson. (**PARENTAL BRAGGING ALERT**) Teachers tell us that they are sweet and very well-mannered kids, so I think they are (learning the lesson).

So I had to laugh at how adamant Jacob was that I not be called ma'am. I'm not sure if it's because HE is just not used to calling me ma'am, or if he thinks I'm just not ma'am-worthy in general. If it's the latter, I better start cracking the whip around here.

The car ride continued.

Jacob: You have a little sister, right?
Joe: Yeah.
Jacob: Is she annoying?
Joe: Yeah. You have two little sisters?
Jacob: Yeah.
Joe: I'm lucky, I only have one. If my mom has another baby, I would want it to be a boy.
Jacob: Me too! Every time my mom has a baby I'm like "please be a boy. please be a boy." And it's always a girl.

What can you say? There is just nothing better than eavesdropping on kids' conversations.


Kayte said...

Well, it's not too late to try for another boy...oh, wait, maybe it is...I think the signs were all there that C is the away maternity clothes, baby things, yep...maybe not. Very cute, and I agree, overhearing conversations is quite the education...wait until they are teens!

Mom to 3 C's said...

Yep, only hear ma'am and sir when they are being wise. Of course, my 3 yo still doesn't quite have the gender pronouns right, so he will try to copy big brother by saluting Daddy and saying "Yes, Ma'am!" Pretty funny. Sure wouldn't hurt for some of those manners to make their way north!

Amanda said...

Yay!!! I'm so glad to see new posts from you!!! It really really really makes me really really really happy. I think Jacob is very polite! And cute.