Some strange illness has visited us upon our return from Tennessee, leaving some of us stuffy, others sore all over, and all of us more than a little off-kilter. Several times a day, I push back the imposing thought that The Girlie’s entire raison d’etre is to step on my feet and whine into my knees while I’m trying to do something. Or to scatter toys, books, and electronic gear in a giant obstacle course, since it physically hurts me to bend over and pick up all of that junk.
But she’s asleep just now, and so I’m a little more reasonable. More philosophical, too, as I consider a way through my current ethical dilemma: how to engender language acquisition while encouraging good behavior. So, for example, if my child says, ‘Mess!’ in understated, dimpled description of the new puddle of milk in the middle of the floor, should I commend her for her linguistic ability, or kindly correct her for making the mess?