Every week at Henry's school they do a different letter, and a few weeks ago it was M week. One of the M words they discussed was Manners.

I learned this during dinner, when Henry asked, "May… I…please have more pasta, please?" He said it like he had just learned to ask for food in Portuguese. It was a distinct change from his usual way of requesting more food, which is to throw his spoon at me and point at his bowl, barking. "So polite!" we exclaimed, and that's when he told us about Manners. Manners is apparently important stuff for peoples to learn, else we become savage-like. Or so he learned us about. It.

"Can you pass the salt?" asked Scott, and Henry raised his spoon and declared, "Manners! You should say may you please pass the salt?"

"Pardon me," said Scott, "Madam, please, would you—"


"May you please pass the salt? Please?"

"I certainly would, sir," I replied, and did so.

"Manners!" Henry cried out in approval.

"Henry, would you like more milk?" I asked him.


"Okay, I don't think that we need to say may I when I'm doing you the—"


"Henry. May I please give you more milk?"

"No, thank you, Mother. You may not give me more milk."

"So 'manners' just means using the word 'may' a lot?"

"Yes. Manners is when you are fancy."

"Okay, are you all done with—"


We tried to explain how we use manners all the time, without saying "May I" in every sentence, and how maybe using manners doesn't involve bullying your family, but he wasn't having it.

The next week was N, during which we learned about Napkins and how one is supposed to use them with one's meal. Wha? We explained to him that we already have things to wipe our chins on, and we call them our Shirts. I suppose he'll learn that at S week.