Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Master Debater

Brynna is an argumentative little cuss. It's probably just a phase, but it's about to drive me up the tree.

This is a near-perfect transcript of an argument we had the other day:

Brynna: Well, I have saw big turtles too.
Me: Seen. You have seen.
B: No, I have saw.
Me: You have seen.
B: Saw is the past tense of see.
Me: Saw is the past simple tense. Seen is the past perfect tense. As in, I saw turtles. I have seen turtles.
B: No. Ms. Parker says that saw is the past tense of see.
Me: Well, Ms. Parker is not wrong, because saw is the past tense of see, but when you use the word have with an irregular verb, it changes it. So, the past perfect is have seen.
B: No, it's not. It's saw. I have saw.
Me: Listen, I spent four years and forty thousand dollars getting an English degree and having someone teach me grammar and you are second grade and I'm not going to sit here and argue this with you.
B: Okay, 'cause I'm right.
Me: anguished scream.

I have tried everything I know to try. I've proved her wrong. I've because I said so'd. I've told her that when you argue with people past the point where no one is going to agree, you are just trying to make them feel stupid and no one wants to feel stupid. I've yelled. I've spanked. I've time outed. It just doesn't seem to matter.

And the truth is - I'm reaping the whirlwind.

I've always tried to teach my girls that nothing is absolute. That if you disagree with something, you should calmly present a solid, well-thought argument and we shall see. In other words, it's okay to try to change my mind, so long as you do it well.

Brynna, my incredibly and amazingly logical child, has always gotten this. Until now. Now, her arguments always, always, always fall into one of two camps: I'm right because I'm right or I should get to because someone else does.

I feel that I've done my due diligence on providing information on exactly how strongly these arguments will be rejected: You're only right if you can prove that you are and I'm not so and so's mother and if I were, then I'd be having this argument with them.

As a past debater, I've always been a little proud of her amazing ability to out-argue many adults. She's completely floored a couple of people at church and even out-argued one of her teachers once. I'm not sure why we've gone backwards, but I am not happy about it.

I suppose this is just practice for those pesky teen aged years. I do hope the arguments get more creative, though. And perhaps about more interesting material.


ann said...

Amazing. And I bet she's just going through a growth spurt and that her arguing abilities will be back to normal, or even better than before, when she's through it.

Ady said...

Kai is always arguing with me and it drives me bonkers. This morning he wanted to wear his black & blue socks that have Monsters on them, but he said that wearing silly socks to school today would be against the rules because it wasn't silly sock day. We argued for 30 minutes on how it was not against the rules. He still thinks that it is. AAGGHH!!