Please: Not Actually Magic

Dear Delilah,

Your knack for picking up the nuances of "manners" has been adorable to watch as it develops. I think one of my favorite phases was when you would cheerfully exclaim "you're welcome!" when someone would give you something you requested. You've refined things a bit since then, and now have a solid grasp on the appropriate timing of "please," "thank you," and "you're welcome."

PLEASE.


Somewhere along the way, you seem to have picked up the notion that "please" is a "magic" word. I'm not sure where, as I don't think I've ever referred to it as such, but you clearly think that "please" has some mystical properties.

I am sorry to disappoint you, but the word "please" is not actually magic.

"Please" does not magically make the ingredients to fix you a chimichanga appear when you've just finished breakfast.

"Please" does not magically make me want to let you kick me while helping you get your pants on.

"Please" does not magically turn "shut up" into a nice thing to say. Not even to the dog.

"Please" cannot turn purple grapes into green ones. It cannot turn your pink yogurt white.

"Please" does not make carrots and ketchup an adequate breakfast, nor burritos an appropriate bedtime snack.

"Please" doesn't make the cat enjoy having her tail pulled or the dog tolerate being ridden like a horse.

But please, don't stop trying, because your attempts to sway me with your sweet and insistent "Please!" do have the magical power to make me scoop you up in a laughing, loving embrace and store these adorable moments in my memory bank for the years when the only "please" I'm likely to hear will be "Please get out of my room."

Love,

Mama

Fine and Fair

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