Our local post office is small, and a bit rundown. The “carpet” is as thin as a Forever stamp and there are no soundproofing tiles on the walls or ceiling. It’s a good place to scream, if you need help and want paramedics to come running.
But when the scream is from a child who’s been led to believe that all the world, indoors and out, is a playground, I’m the one who needs medical-grade earplugs.
“Look, Mommy,” she screamed, in sync with the noise the pole made as the rope clamp banged into it every 180 degrees. “I’m making circles.”
I suppose I should have been happy about the geometry reference, but what was decidedly unhappy-making was Mommy’s reply each time.
“Good job, sweetie.”
Good job? It’s my current least favorite phrase. Take a walk through a suburban mall and count the number of times you hear “Good job,” from a mother pushing a stroller or providing personal care in a restroom. The inspiring act can be a slurp from a sippy cup or a—well, let’s not get too graphic about the good jobs in the Ladies Room.
In my day (this is a historical blog) “Good job,” if it was heard at all, referred to handing over a week’s babysitting, lawn-mowing, or paper-route money to “Mommy,” or washing and waxing the linoleum floor.
Times have changed, and now otherwise lovely, intelligent young men and women thrill at their child’s every move and sound, even if it’s a long sequence of screams in a public place.
I understand why “Stop screaming or I’ll kill you,” has gone out of favor, but can’t we at least resurrect “Stop screaming?”
Side note: I did some research to be sure I had the right definition of “stanchion,” and look what I found under “images.”
Hmm. Maybe I can sell this idea to the post office.
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