Like a sniper stakeout, I am constantly surveying the landscape and pouncing on any opportunity to remind and practice manners. I sit at the dinner table and wait, ready with the "where does your napkin go?" or the classic "what do you do with your dish?" and the kicker "did you ask to be excused?"
Obnoxious, I know. But how else do the kids learn the stuff but in the heat of the moment? I've decided that with enough practice, it will come natural. But it hasn't yet. Maybe it's me or maybe I'm doing it wrong.
Everyone else's kids appear to "yes, ma'am" me with no problem. Other people's children show gratitude without the whiny prompting I give to the tone "now what do you say?" Gosh, I hate that. Maybe it's just the fact that I have a boy and the Y chromosome doesn't think like that.
Lately I have made it my mission. I'm reading "365 Manners Kids Should Know" by Sheryl Eberly -- Nancy Reagan's etiquette guru. It reads like a daily devotion with today's entry of "how to eat tacos." Not exactly what I was after, but always helpful to know how to manage those pesky things. I figure if Nancy's go-to gal says it, I probably need to work on it. At least it will mix up my vigilante style.
I read in the book that Ms. Eberly told her children they would never be invited to the White House if they had bad manners. I like that. In fact, after today my son will be ready to eat tacos with Mr. President.
PS. If you have any good tips about teaching kids manners, please share! I'd love to hear your ideas...