My parents always impressed on me the importance of manners. As an adult I am still complimented on being polite, which is strange because 1) I am not a child and 2) I expect everyone to be well mannered so that the exception should be remarkable. The latter point led me to think not just about manners and their apparent decline but my expectations of other people. These ideas meshed as I considered the expectations I generally place on Little Chick and specifically the expectation to be polite.
When Little Chick first moved in, I was careful to not ‘correct’ him if he forget a please or thank you. His speech was limited and forcing language seemed unnecessary. Forcing him to thank me – for anything – when his whole world had been turned upside felt cruel. As he has grown more confident in us and in his speech, I have started adding please to requests and thank you when these are fulfilled. I’m not entirely comfortable with this, but perhaps I am overanalysing (not for the first time) and I should treat him like a typical toddler. Typically, I would encourage manners, knowing that they are learning the words and will understand and, hopefully, embrace the meaning later.
This week Little Chick has started saying thank you more readily and with little or no prompting.
Possibly this is prompted by encouragement from nursery staff. Or because he is settling more at home. For once I’m not going to overthink it. I will just enjoy hearing those two wee words and remember how thankful I am for Little Chick.