EldestGirl had a birthday recently. She turned four years old. Whilst she is normally a polite and thoughtful child, she has not yet learned the niceties of receiving presents. In her world, anything with a My Little Pony on is an acceptable present. Any type of clothing and/or book (much though she loves being read to) is deemed thoroughly unacceptable.
Mindful of the fact that her birthday party was the next day, I thought I should do some coaching for receiving presents.
“EldestGirl,” I started, “when you open your presents tomorrow, there might be some that you don’t really like, or maybe something you already have.”
“No thank you,” said EldestGirl. I told you she was polite.
“No,” I said, “you mustn’t say that. You must pretend you really like it.”
“Like lying?” she asked.
“Yes, exactly like lying. Let’s practise. Let’s imagine I’ve just given you a pair of socks.”
EldestGirl asked, “Do they have Rainbow Dash on?”
I sense this is going to go on for a while. “No, they have no ponies on at all. They’re just a pair of socks. What do you say to your friend when she gives them to you?”
EldestGirl pauses. Her face screws up with concentration and then lightens as the perfect answer dawns on her. With a withering tone she pronounces, “Fank you anyway.”
Thank God all her presents were popular and/or pony-based.