Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I’ve got to brag

In his appreciation of Lewis Carroll in the March 22nd issue of National Review, Theodore Dalrymple writes:

The protean nature and appeal of the Alice books, achieved by goodness knows what alchemy, is illustrated by the joyful verbal pedantry of many of the exchanges between Alice and the other characters. Carroll knew that children delight to catch their elders and betters out by means of verbal trickery: What is cheek, if it is not a child’s exposure of a flaw in an adult’s attitude or argument, and what child does not congratulate himself on his cleverness on a piece of well-executed cheek, even should it bring retribution, often all the greater the more logical the child has been?At the parent-teacher conference to discuss how my three-year-old son Isaac is doing in preschool, his teacher told of introducing the class to her rule that the students must never say anything about a person (“Johnny is a stinker”), but only about what he or she has done.

Isaac raised his hand. “But Miss C—————,” he said, “what if I want to tell you you’re beautiful?”

“Cheeky little boy,” she remarked in her South African-accented English, “but I had to admit that he’d got me.”

I like to tell friends that Isaac will inherit the family business.


R. T. said...

Bravo, Isaac! (And David, such moments make parenting even more of a blessing.)