Thursday, January 09, 2014

Cryptic Silence

Returning to the long-neglected "things the kids say" category, we turn now to the phrase "cryptic silence."  This is a category Natalie often invokes when she has asked permission to do or eat something, and we have failed -- either by virtue of spacing out or (just as often) -- because I am deferring to Mary, the household chief nutritionist and imposer of dietary discipline.  Typically Natalie will be asking if she can have a banana for her fruit serving, because it is the easiest thing to get and eat.  I often will let her.  Mary, however, considers that to be slacking, when I should really be encouraging her to eat a fresh pear or a mango or something.  So I pause, to let Mary pass judgment on the question.  Mary, for her part, is often either not focused on the question or (I suspect) wants to hear what I say to see if I am being a fruit slacker once again.

Into this space Natalie slides with her catchphrase:  "I'll take your cryptic silence as a yes," at which point she grabs a banana and rips the top off before we can stop her, making it a fait accompli.

This evening, while Natalie was perusing the offerings for Duke's TIP Program for this summer, her eye alighted upon a course listing for something to do with courtroom stuff, mock law for smart kids, something like that.  All of a sudden, I imagined her in the courtroom, cross-examining a witness for murder:  "So, were you at home on the evening of the 7th?", and I could see the witness freezing in the box, at which point Natalie pounces on her:  "I'll take your cryptic silence for a yes!"  Case closed.

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