I live with 4 small Literal, ligiugistic, lawyers. It’s true, I do.
My 4 burrs somehow have arrived on this planet as masters of a language many non native speakers say is one of the most difficult to learn.
Everyday I must carefully choose my words in our daily interactions as parent to my children.
Small nuances, for example, if I add please to the command take out the garbage, then I am only asking not commanding and said mini lawyer is not legally required to follow it as a command but can refuse a polite request.
Haha! Funny right. It was the first maybe second time but this practice continues in contract negotiations to this day.
I cannot say to these kids “in a minute” unless I actually mean 60 seconds because immediately somewhere an electronic timer will start. Any requests to go to a place or participate in an activity can never be answered “yes” or “sure” or “soon”, but instead must be layed out in specific detail including time constraints, impending weather, other family member cooperation as to whether or not said activity will ever take place. I never speak in absolutes only vague maybes qualified with extenuating circumstances.
My second oldest went upstairs once, got himself wet, got out of the shower, put on the same dirty clothes that he had on before and ran back downstairs. I looked at him and said please tell me those aren’t the same clothes you had on yesterday and he said “Okay, I won’t tell you”.
So that is a legal and literal answer to said question, right. I must also remeber to qualify all instructions for shower taking to including getting wet, covering all the body parts and hair with soap, rinsing off, and drying before putting CLEAN clothes on said body.
I think I remember also as a child that sometimes I too was very literal. Even as an young adult I would tend to blurt out “truths” or be very blunt about my opinion. I have softened my truths with age but I realize these small lawyers I live with have most likely learned their behavior from someone close to them.
Also, sometimes it is hard to explain to the 4 lawyers that although a story is legally and literally the truth it is also not appropriate conversation for a new friend you met just that day at the neighborhood pool. Like how our previous neighbors were “bad” (even though that was true) and the new neighbors are great because they bring us dumplings. Also, they break out the big three topics money, religion, and politics on occasion with other kids but also adults as well.
For me it is honestly mostly funny although challenging staying ahead of my kids word wise. I am hesitant to say to them don’t say that or this or tell them to “soften” their words because it can become a slippery slope I think. Also, they keep me very mindful of my words and interactions with everyone not just with them. I am less likely to make fake platitudes or polite promises I probably won’t keep, at least I try not to do so.
So I am off to study a new contract about impending school bedtimes.
According to the lovely little lawyers and the X-Files… The truth is out there.