Somewhere around 3 years old, my kids had a firm understanding of basic right and wrong. Now that they have the framework to grow into decent people (I hope), part of my job is to dial in the details.
By dialing in the details, I mean helping them to understand life's subtleties when it comes to communicating with others. For example, this morning I corrected my son when he said I have "fat eyes."
"Um, I think you mean 'big eyes'," I said.
"It's the same," he said.
"No, not really," I said, but then remembered a similar conversation a month ago, when I corrected him after he said his grandma had "big legs." I said he should say she had "long legs" instead of "big legs" because it was nicer.
I was sure he was going to ask me why big eyes are OK, but big legs are not, however, luckily, Mr. Rogers was visiting the dentist on TV and that trumped our kitchen chit-chat.
Later that day, more fine-tuning came when I told Kai we couldn't say "thumbs down!" and pump our tiny, stumpy digits towards the sidewalk whenever we saw someone wearing a political button for the guy we're not voting for.
"But we don't like that guy," he said.
"We keep that to ourself," I said.
"I thought we had to share," he said.
No one told me parenting 5-year-olds was like being permanently cast in a "Who's On First?" skit.