Manners are important. They make meals nicer. They help people get along better. And sometimes, they're only thing that allow Lucy to live at our house.
She says "thank you" in a sweet, slightly lisping way almost every time you hand her something or do something for her. She says "please" more often than not. She guffaws and says "escuse me" when she passes gas (and will prompt others to do the same if they forget). We haven't been strict about teaching her these things, but she's caught on. I'm grateful, because it seems to me that good manners can disguise a whole host of flaws.
Even in a total meltdown, she understands the power of these words enough to muster a few of them. "NO, THANK YOU, MOM. NO, THANK YOU." She screams this when I am violating her by...changing her diaper. Or moving slightly outside her narrow margin of error. "THIS ONE, I WANT THIS ONE. PLEEEEEASE," she shrieks, collapsing into sobs because I have chosen the wrong book (life was clearer before pronouns). She knows the words but has not yet grasped the subtleties of tone or even volume. I want to explain, "It's nice when you say 'no thank you,' but when you scream like that it makes Mom's ears bleed."
Still, I appreciate her effort at civility. Politeness is crucial to her survival at our house and beyond.