I am kind of a stickler when it comes to good manners. Two places, in particular, that I tend to find many teachable moments, are in church and at the dinner table. I certainly don't expect perfection from my Love Bugs; they are children afterall, but I do point out behaviors that can be improved upon and possibly even polished a bit.
This afternoon, as Sweet Pea and Pumpkin were arriving at the table for lunch, I said, "Let's get ready to pray." Pumpkin responded with a very loud "WHAT?"
I decided to teach the girls about the word "pardon." I explained how "pardon" sounds a little nicer than always saying "what". So I invited the girls to do some role playing to practice using "pardon." Sweet Pea shouted, "Me first!" So I had her repeat the word a few times and then I muttered something that would be difficult to hear.
Sweet Pea: Pardon?
Me: Great job! That is exactly how you use that word.
Sweet Pea grinned, being very proud of herself.
Meanwhile, with a very puzzled look on her face:
Me: Not "what?", "pardon."
Pumpkin: Pardon what?
Me: Don't say the word "what", only say the word "pardon."
Me: Instead of saying "what", say "pardon"
Pumpkin: Say what?
Pumpkin: I don't get what!
Sweet Pea: I think she's a "what" girl, mom.