Natalie and her mother were talking about opposites. The opposite of up is down. The opposite of open is closed.
"The opposite of American is Filipino!" Natalie blurted. Her mother had a good laugh over that one.
But the children, aged 4 and 7 years, have had their share of good laughs recently, thanks to a game that Daddy invented. It's called "The gentleman's game."
Here's how it works: Daddy explains how a civilized gentleman behaves in various adult situations -- at the dining table, at the office, on the train. He stands tall. He looks men in the eye. He wipes his mouth gently with a napkin. Thus is the stage set for the next demonstration, which depicts how NOT to behave. This is the segment that gets the audience howling and typically includes monkey faces, slurpy Bronx cheers and wild motioning of the appendages. Scatological references have proven extremely effective.
After one particularly well-executed routine, little Natalie slowly managed to say: "I can't … stop … laughing." Her parents never heard her say that before and wonder where she got it.
Daddy believes that the children's civilized development will benefit from the serious first half of the comedy skit, while suffering little or no harm from the slapstick, anti-social antics.
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The Clarks of New Jersey haven't really gone on vacation this year. Any recommendations?