It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Tag-Team Babies

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

July 11, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Too funny! Perhaps Nigel would like to teach my son? He’s only 9 months old of course but it’s never too early to start.

    I checked out your Parenting board- excellent work! I noticed your list of reccomended reads, how do you feel about Barbara Coloroso? I really should be posting this question over there I suppose- I promise to in the future, this way I’m only posting once though. :^)

    Comment by Chelsea | July 11, 2006 | Reply

  2. I love Barbara Coloroso. I read “Kids are Worth It” about ten years ago, and loved it. I confess I haven’t read any of her subsequent books, though – more for my reading list.

    Comment by Mary P. | July 11, 2006 | Reply

  3. Thats awesome. Yay for peer pressure (and your gentle persistence).

    Congrats on your new project by the way! Wonderful.

    Comment by Sunshine Scribe | July 11, 2006 | Reply

  4. HaHa! That’s great – K was signing please and thank you at that age, speech was beyond her capabilities at that point. So, TaTa wouldn’t have happened for her. Heck, she was the kid with ‘mama’ (and that’s it, nothing else) at like 20 months. I think we had please and thank you (kind of, they’re still not clear) at about 26 months or so. After we started speech therapy!

    By the way, I love the idea for the other blog as well. I’ll be visiting, even if I’m not a parent!

    Comment by Angela | July 11, 2006 | Reply

  5. Hahaha! Go Ki-woon!

    Comment by Kristen | July 11, 2006 | Reply

  6. Mary P., sounds like the little devils set you up.
    You get her to work on “tah tah” and I will swipe the cookie.
    Team work!

    Comment by Peter | July 11, 2006 | Reply

  7. Oh, excellent teaching opportunity! “TaTa” is a good idea. Q can manage “peese,” and we’re using the Chinese word for thank you, which is a little easier to say. At some point, we’ll need to sort out the languages!

    Comment by Lady M | July 11, 2006 | Reply

  8. LOL–that is toooo sweet!

    Comment by Amber | July 11, 2006 | Reply

  9. LOL, new kids…new stories!

    And the cycle continues!

    Comment by kimmyk | July 11, 2006 | Reply

  10. that is one of the many reasons we switched from a shared nanny to daycare, too – she could do everything her one friend could do and more, but other kids would give her some challenges in keeping up. Great the things they learn from each other!

    Comment by kittenpie | July 12, 2006 | Reply

  11. That’s priceless. When a child finally learns what you’re trying to teach them, it’s like discovering gold, isn’t it? We taught The Little Man to say “ta” but couldn’t get him to say “please”. He just didn’t get it. Finally, I figured out that he was associating the question (“What do you say?”) with the answer (“ta”). So now, we ask “What’s the magic word?” when we want him to say “please”. We’re working on teaching him to say it without having to ask but since he said his first two-word combo (“Daddy, poo!”) a few days ago, I’m not too fussed. A child has to have priorities after all. 🙂

    Comment by Kat O+ | July 12, 2006 | Reply

  12. OMG, too funny there! But you’re right, peer pressure surely does wonders as incentive for getting what one wants.

    Thanks for the chuckles!

    Comment by Jennifer | July 12, 2006 | Reply

  13. Go Ki-woon!
    Ta Ta for the great story!

    Comment by appleseed | July 12, 2006 | Reply

  14. I wish I could have seen you with the kids!

    Comment by Jenorama | July 12, 2006 | Reply

  15. That is great!

    Comment by Misfit Hausfrau | July 21, 2006 | Reply

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