Little Miss Manners

We’ve always worked hard to develop good manners in our daughter.

For the most part, we’ve been pretty successful. We frequently get, often without prompting, a “please”. We tend to get a lot of “thank you”. We get an, “excuse me” when she burps (and an, “excuse you” when we burp). We even get a lot of “excuse me” when we’re talking, and our daughter wants to say something.

I’m very proud of my daughter for being so polite.

However, lately, manners have made reading certain books a real chore.

zaxTake for example, The Sneetches, by Dr. Seuss. Particularly, the stories, The Zax, and What Was I Scared Of. The Zax, for those who are too lazy to click the link aren’t familiar, is the story of two stubborn, uh, Zaxes, one who always goes north, and one who always goes south. Well, of course these two run into each other, and neither one will move out of the way. A nice lesson, no?

Well, I get a few pages in, reading in my totally awesome Zax voices, and I get a, “No, no, Zax! You’re supposed to say excuse me! Don’t bump into each other! You’re supposed to say excuse me!” Of course, she expects me to talk as the Zax… what can I say? I can’t agree to say, “excuse me” because then why bother reading the rest of the story? I can’t be rude and refuse to say, “excuse me”. I’m lucky if I get to finish the story.

In What Was I Scared Of, there is a… uh… some kind of Seussian creature who runs into a pair of pale green pants (just pants, no person inside), and is repeatedly frightened until he(?) one day discovers that the pants are afraid of him. Then they become friends. Again, a few pages into the story, I am hit with, “No no! Don’t be frightened! He’s friendly! Don’t be frightened! You be friends later on!” Okay, not necessarily manners, but does still kind of kill the story.

Okay, one last example. We picked up a small “Vintage Disney” book in the dollar bin at Target called, The Clock Cleaners. It features Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck attempting to fix up an old clock. Of course, as the always do, they screw it up. In the end, Minnie Mouse yells at them. Thank goodness it is at the end! At least with this book, I am pretty much done reading by the time I get the, “No no, Minnie! Don’t yell at Mickey and Donald, all right?!?”

So, reading may be a bit difficult these days, but I am very happy with her manners.

[You can buy your own copy of The Sneetches at, and teach your children some manners, for just $11.96]


3 Responses to Little Miss Manners

  1. Perhaps you could take the ‘You are smart’ tack with her.

    Let her know that she knows better than the Zaxes, but the story has to play out in its own fashion.

    [Kaz: I do that sometimes. Or, I will try, speaking as the Zax, of course, to explain that I am too stubborn, then work toward the lesson of what happens when you are too stubborn. You know, like daddy.]

  2. L.A. Daddy says:

    I get a bit of that too. Part of me thinks it might be that she’s also trying to include herself in the storytelling process. LA Toddler wants so desperately to read back to us that she interjects to talk about the story.

    Of course, the other part of me is convinced that it’s a stalling tactic so that she doesn’t have to go to bed.

  3. Sarah says:

    The Zaxs teach a lesson, if you were paying attention, at the end they work it out and the relize arguing is no way to deal with things

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