Are You Being Sarcastic?
by Risa Green
There are a lot of things that we as parents can teach our kids; like how to count, the alphabet, how to wipe their own butts, etc. But I’m finding that there are some things that are just un-teachable. They either have it or they don’t; like comic timing, the ability to do math in their heads, and, as my husband likes to say, heart. (As in, “He’s a good player, but he doesn’t have heart. You know, you can’t teach heart.”) Also falling into this category is sarcasm. Or, as my son calls it, "sarcrastic." (As an aside, just because it’s funny and also because I don’t feel like writing this down somewhere else and someday I’ll re-read this and be glad that I wrote it down here, my son is in that five year-old stage where he’s trying to use big words a lot but he can’t really say them or, in the alternative, can’t remember them exactly. For example, they’re learning about the ocean at school, so he brings up suction cups a lot, like on octopi and starfish. Except for some reason he calls suction cups ‘infections.’ I never correct him because I don’t want him to stop doing it, which some people may think is bad parenting but I don’t really care because it’s super funny. He’s also been using ‘literally’ a lot lately, which he pronounces, ‘lirally.’ As in, ‘mom, it lirally smelled like a fart.’ (He’s also been talking about farts a lot, but that word he pronounces just fine)).
Anyway, sarcrastic is a concept that my son is having a hard time understanding, and no matter how hard I try to explain it to him, he just doesn’t get it. A recent conversation went something like this:
My son: Mommy, you have an ugly pimple on your chin.
Me: Wow. Thanks, buddy.
My son (cocking his head to one side, like a confused dog): Why ‘thanks?’
Me: Dude, I’m just being sarcastic.
My son (sighing with annoyance): Mommy, I keep telling you, I don’t know what
Me: And I keep telling you, it means that someone says the opposite of what they
really mean. So when you tell me I have an ugly pimple on my chin and I say ‘thanks,’ what I really mean is…well, [struggling to think of a word that means the opposite of ‘thanks’], I guess what I mean is, that wasn’t such a nice thing so say, and it sort of hurt my feelings.
My son (head now almost parallel to the floor): I still don’t understand.