Grammar, Manners, and Other Behavior

Learning to Speak Standard Restaurant Arrival Banter

Dear Kid,

Sometimes I worry that you don’t speak another language. Today, I am going to teach you how to speak and interpret Standard Restaurant Arrival Banter. Or possibly Sub-Standard Restaurant Arrival Banter.

The other night (let’s call it Sunday), Grandma and Grandpa and I went out for dinner. Let’s call the restaurant DD Flats.

Learning How To Speak Standard Restaurant Arrival Banter.

It was an adorable little place with about a dozen tables half of which were full when we got there.

Because you are a smart college student, I probably do not have to point out that this means that half were empty. As in not occupied.

Shortly after we arrived, we entered into the Standard Restaurant Arrival Banter.

“How many?” [Hello]

“Three.” [We’d like to eat here.]

“Do you have a reservation?” [Let me see if you’re on our List.]

“Um, no.” [Um, half your tables are empty.]

“One minute.” [I don’t care if the tables are empty; you have to wait because you don’t have a reservation.]

“OK. Thank you.” [Fine, but who are we really kidding?]


“Would you like to sit outside?” [Economy seating is available.]

“No.” [It’s a tad chilly for that. But thanks for asking.]

“It will be a 20 minute wait.” [Told you you’d have to wait if you don’t have a reservation.]

“Thank you.” [Seriously? Half of these tables are empty!]


“I checked with the Head Waiter and it will be a 20 minute wait.” [I’m just saying what I’ve been told to say.]

“OK. Thank you.” [Yeah. We heard you the first time. And the tables are still empty.]

EEEE-ventually (and I do mean eventually, but that’s a different story), we were seated and had a very nice dinner.

Dinner at DD Flats. Learning to speak Standard Restaurant Arrival Banter.

Dinner at DD Flats. Learning to speak Standard Restaurant Arrival Banter.


The two middle tables (which were apparently reserved for a party of 8) remained empty. All night.

Love, Mom

Food photos taken by Grandma. Because she’s better at it than I am.

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How to Use the Silent Treatment Effectively | Part Uno

Dear Kid,

How to use The Silent Treatment effectively:

How to use the silent treatment effectively at all ages. DearKidLoveMom.comWhen you’re 3 years old: Take a big gulp of air and hold your breath. Burp. Explain your burp in great detail while you laugh hysterically. Eat a snack.

When you’re 6 years old: Be silent. Start playing. Forget about the silent treatment.

When you’re a 12 year old girl: Any way you want. Trying to tell a tween girl how to behave is crazy talk.

When you’re 16: Yell. A lot. Then head to your room. Slam the door (in lieu of talking) to communicate the extent of your irritation. Stay there for a long time. Emerge when you decide you have punished the world sufficiently (or when you’re hungry).

When you’re in college: Glare with superiority. Heave a Great Sigh of Suffering and then explain How Things Are or Should Be in absolute terms.

When you’re an adult: The only adult way to use “the silent treatment” is to say, “Wow. What you just said has surprised/offended/shocked/confused/angered me so much that I don’t quite know what to say. Please give me some time to think about this before I say anything we’ll both regret.” Then go think. And come back to the person and talk.

If you find yourself really giving someone the silent treatment, you are probably acting younger than your driver’s license thinks you should.

Love, Mom

Don’t forget to share No need to be silent!

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What’s the Worst Compliment You’ve Ever Gotten?

Dear Kid,

You look marvelous!

You’re so nice!

What a great pair of shoes.

In case you didn’t know, it’s Compliment Day.

Which is a good excuse for you to call your mother and say something nice. Like, “You are the best mom I’ve ever had!” or “I love reading your blog, mom!” or something else kind that involves an exclamation point.

Exclamation points are an important but not mandatory part of Compliment Day. For example, you could say, “Great job!” or you could say, “Nicely done.” Either will make the person you’re talking to feel good; which you choose depends on who you aim the compliment toward.

If you’re talking to a dog, always go for the exclamation point; if you’re talking to a cat, don’t bother.

I conducted a formal scientific survey to see what the best and worst compliments are. (Just to be clear, by “formal scientific survey” I mean “not scientific at all”.) The best compliments are the ones that are sincere; the worst ones are the sarcastic ones.

You probably do a good job of being kind to people and giving compliments on a regular basis. Today is just a reminder to continue.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever gotten?

Love, Mom


You are the best son ever!

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How to Solve the NFL Behavior Issue (Best Idea Ever)

Dear Kid,

I’m so proud to be from Cincinnati. And a Cincinnati Bengals fan.


I’m still a fan of the Bengals. But the whole professional behavior thing has to be addressed.

Clearly, the Bengals aren’t the only team demonstrating unacceptable behavior recently. I understand when celebrities and pro athletes say they should be left alone. They just want to do their jobs (act, sing, score touchdowns) without being judged on their off-field/off-screen behavior. Except, um, no. You’re in a profession which puts you in the spotlight, you are a role model whether you originally intended to be or not, and ergo paparazzi. Behave yourself, be boringly normal, and people will leave you alone.

As I said, I understand (even if I don’t agree with) the desire to be left alone outside the work environment.

Recent, er, displays, however, have been on-field. During important games.

Something must be done.

I have put a great deal of thought into the whole professional athlete debacle and I am delighted to announce that I have figured out how to solve the problem.

Pro sports teams need moms.

I am not joking.

When your mom is watching you, you behave better. Assuming you have a good mom who is involved in your life, anyway. And if the team doesn’t have the right mom, I’ve decided the league should provide them.

Consider the Campbell’s Soup commercials with that the football player (I’m sure you know who I’m talking about) and his mom. He loves Mom, he respects Mom, and he has never been involved with the kind of nonsense we’re seeing both on and off the field from other players.

Point proven.

Love, Mom

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Should You Celebrate Be Nasty Day?

Dear Kid,

Tomorrow is – I kid you not – Be Nasty Day. Now I’m all for a free day to be nasty to people who deserve it (and by “who deserve it” I’m talking about in my own particular brand of opinion) but seeing as how tomorrow also happens to be a Very Special Someone’s Birthday (and by VSS I mean you) March 8 seems like a terrible day to be nasty.

Hence, I suggest we get all the nastiness out today and move on to wonderful happiness tomorrow.

As I sat down to think about who to be nasty to, I discovered something very interesting: I wasn’t at all sure who to put on my Be Nasty To List.

Oh, there are the universal suspects like terrorists, but (thankfully) I’ve never met a terrorist face-to-face and so the opportunities for in person nastiness are lacking.

Then there are the people who have in some way Offended Me Personally. But I’m finding that thinking about random, spontaneous nastiness in my head is quite sufficient and actually planning any nastiness just seems like a waste of time.

Perhaps I’ll growl at a crazy driver today or roll my eyes when someone butchers the English language or Give a Look to someone who does something uncalled for. But that’s life, not particularly nasty-oriented.

All in all, I think Be Nasty Day is a general waste of time and energy, so I’ll just pass if it’s ok with you.

Hope you skip over the Nasties too.

Love, Mom


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The Speaker Can Make All The Difference

Dear Kid,

I had the great joy of eavesdropping on a conversation today. It was in a public place and while there were open tables for miles around the conversatees chose to sit directly behind me. So I felt totally justified in listening.

One person was a teenage boy, probably a junior in high school. The other was a retired school teacher who I see frequently at the gym. She now tutors students especially for improvement in their SAT and ACT scores. She’s a strict sort, not one to put up with nonsense, excuses, or mumbling. Probably one of those teachers who made her students do a ton of work and they loved her for it.

What struck me was how different people in our lives can speak to us in the same way but with totally different results. (This is not news, but it is worth repeating.)

Any fool can know. The point is to understand. Albert Einstein DearKidLoveMom.comTeacher: Did you read the parts I told you to?
Student: Yes, but I had a little trouble with one
Teacher: Let’s look at it. (They talk.) How do you know x?
Student mumbles
Teacher: No, don’t tell me, show me. Where did you find that in this passage? Here? No. You have to look further.

An alternate scenario:

Mom: Darling, you mentioned you didn’t understand x. Do you need help with your homework?
Kid (rolls eyes): I can do my homework, Mother. Leave me alone.
Mom: Well, I’m here if you want to review anything
Kid: I SAID I’m FINE and I DON’T NEED HELP!! (storms off to text 4,000 people about the injustices in the world)

Thank heavens parents aren’t the only people in the world who care.

Love, Mom

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