Right Aid

It’s a hot day here–even at 10:25 AM you can feel the sizzle of sun on skin when you step outside. Mike, who is now officially on hiatus, is out front working in the garden. He wears a long-sleeved waffle shirt, which I’ve told him pointedly is inappropriate for the weather. He dismisses this, saying “it’s surprisingly light,” and “all gardeners wear long sleeves.” Neither of which is true. We agree to disagree.

The latter is a phrase I love. It saves marriages, friendships, maybe entire countries. I taught it to Myra-Jean recently, and to good effect. Now she breaks it out whenever her fledgling efforts at kiddie communication break down.

“That shovel’s mine!”

No, it’s mine!”

“Let’s agree to disagree!”

It works wonders at the playground. Mostly because the other child has no idea what she’s talking about. But also, I like to think, because they have at least a vague sense that she’s trying to honor their point of view.

Until she walks off with their shovel.

Another phrase I’ve found helpful in all kinds of altercations is “You may be right.” It’s a fantastic way of defusing a disagreement while still refusing to admit you’re wrong. I use it regularly on Mike. So regularly, in fact, that he’s come to know exactly what I’m doing. Now when he hears it he just vees his eyebrows at me and says “whatever.” But there was a time (insert romantic sigh here) when it worked like a charm.

I’d be tempted to teach it to MJ as another playground strategy, except I use it on her even more than I do on Mike:

“Mama? I think I just saw a flying saucer.”

“You may be right, sweetie.”

“Mama? I’m never going to poop in the potty in my entire life.”

“You may be right.”

“Mama? Awigas says San Francisco is farther away than China.”

“She may be right.”

(I say this pretty much daily in reference to Awigas. She’s the imaginary friend who lives in Northern California. And who is just chock full o’  misinformation. Most of it harmless, but still. I keep a close eye.)

Anyway. See how effective one little phrase can be? Now you know why I won’t teach it to MJ. Once I explain its cunning and potent nature I’ll no longer be able to use it on her. Not to mention her friends–real or imaginary. So for now my daughter will have to stick with “agree to disagree.” I think I’ve been more than generous.

Awigas probably thinks otherwise.

And she may be right.


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