I’ve tried my best to eliminate fussy demands in my house (from the kids, at least). From the time Evan was little, Jarom and I have maintained that we can’t understand him if he fusses when he talks. Consistency has paid off, and it makes my life a little easier by giving me a go-to response to whining.

On top of the “I can’t understand you” approach, we’ve tried to encourage language development by having Evan ask for things in whole sentences as early as possible. It forces him to think about what he’s saying and avoid that annoying “I want a sandwiiiiiiiiiich” sort of fussing. The funny thing is, when we started asking Evan to use a whole sentence when he made a request, he’d speak very slowly and deliberately, clapping his hands once for each syllable. It turned into a rather robotic-sounding sentence, with the exception of a drop in tone at the end (as with a statement) instead of a rise (as with a question). (Surely there is a linguistic term for these tonal changes. Please share if you know what it is.)

The extra funny thing is that with June talking more and more, she perfectly mimics Evan’s robotic and deliberate tone when I remind her to ask nicely for something. I don’t think I’ve done much in the way of asking for whole sentences from her, and I’m usually just looking for a “please,” so the fact that she so accurately copies Evan amuses me. June normally uses decent grammar for her age, but it gets choppy when she switches to the slow-deliberate-robot sentences: “Please… can… have… more… milk!” Interestingly, June’s sentences most often end with exclamation points.

Aside from a few small-scale incidents, the kids have been on much better behavior for the past few days. Evan did earn his stocking back and his enthusiasm made Christmas lovely (more on that tomorrow). Today, I’m enjoying my robot kids and their funny mannerisms.