Have You Beaten Your Child Lately?

This morning Lily walked up to me and said: “Daddy, don’t beat me.”

I paused, shocked by her request, and instinctively responded: “What?”

“Don’t beat me.”

“What do you mean ‘don’t beat you’? I’ve never beaten you.”

“Yes, you have.”

I was halfway through a longish lecture about how I had never beaten her, that I may have swatted her on the behind a few times in almost four years of life, but never had she really been spanked, let alone beaten in the sense of the word that most people use it. (I have to admit that I was a bit worried that her free use of the word might land us a call from some sort of social service agency.)

And then she said: “Don’t put your shoes and socks on before me.”

And I realized she had fine sense of the word.