Grammar, Manners, and Other Behavior

Happy Best Friend Day!

Dear Kid,

It’s Best Friend Day—Happy BFD. Wait, that didn’t exactly sound right.

Olympic friendship DearKidLoveMom.comBest Friend Day brings up the question How Many Best Friends Can a Person Have?

The orthodox grammarians among us know that the answer is One! Only One! Are you kidding me? I can’t even believe we’re having this conversation. “Best” implies One!

The orthodox grammarians among us need to chill a little.

Amazingly, I have a rather tolerant stance on the subject of BFFs. I think a person can have (if they are sufficiently lucky) many BFFs. Because, like genres of TV, not all friends fall into the same category.

Friends are kisses blown to us by angels. quote. Best Friend Day. DearKidLoveMom.comThere is the Will Agree With Me No Matter What BFF, the Loves The Same Movies I Love BFF, the Will Force Me To Face The Issue BFF, the Workout BFF, the Tells Me The Truth BFF, the Likes Cool Video Games BFF, the Work BFF, the I Can Call In An Emergency BFF, the Out On The Town BFF, and – perhaps most importantly – the Puts Up With Me At My Worst BFF.

There are others, but I picked some of my faves in the interest of space.

If you are lucky, you have a friend who falls into more than one category (also known by friendship scientists everywhere as the Super BFF). If you are extremely lucky, you have a friend who falls into several categories (known as Ultra BFF).

Did you say Best Friend or Beast Friend? Happy Best Friend Day!Happy Best Friend Day! How will you and your bestie celebrate?

Love, Mom

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Why Your Signature Is So Valuable

Dear Kid,

Your signature is an important and valuable thing.

The large print giveth, the small print taketh away. Tom Waits. DearKidLoveMom.comNot because you’ve starred in a blockbuster movie or because you’ve built the world largest house out of blocks or even because you walked around the block, but because it’s yours.

So you need to be careful where you put it.

Riddle: What can you put down many times without ever picking up?

You need to be careful when you sign a check. You can be less careful when you sign a birthday card.

You need to be very careful when you sign a contract.

When you sign a contract you are agreeing to all the terms of the contract—whether you know you’re agreeing to them or not.

Cool, huh?

Which means that you need to know what is in an agreement before you sign it.

Saying, “I don’t like that clause” works just fine—before you affix your John Hancock to the document. You can negotiate, refuse to sign, get advice, go out for coffeebefore you sign. Post-signature, those options are not available to you (except, presumably, for the coffee).

Saying “I didn’t know” gets you exactly nowhere (unless you were hoping to get A Look implying you’ve left your brain elsewhere and I’m happy to provide that any time you’d like).

Before you sign, take the time to figure out what you’re agreeing to. If it’s something short and simple to read, read. If it’s long and complicated, take the time to get help from someone who Knows About These Things.

Yesterday, I heard an Adult Who Should Know Better (I am not making this up although I wish I were) say, “That was an 85 page contract. You expected me to read the whole thing?” You will not be surprised to hear that he said that when he found out there were things in said contract he didn’t want to have to comply with.

You’re smarter. Stay smarter.

Love, Mom

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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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