“No dialogue”

March 24, 2013

While they were growing up, our kids were very close despite the fact they’re not that close in age.  Jonas really really wanted us to adopt Jordan (and more kids after that, too).


They played a lot of Lego together, is one of my basic recollections.  They also watched a lot of Zorro, Batman,* Marx Brothers, and Robin Hood videos and PBS kids programs together, which is relevant here.

They had this habit at the dinner table of lapsing into exchanges of dialogue from some entertainment they both knew, and for some reason, Willy and I both had a negative reaction to it.  I think Willy objected to how mindless it was, and to me, it was like humming — fine if you’re doing it, annoying if someone else is.

We imposed a rule, “No dialogue,” at the table.  This rule was also applied in the car.  Dialogue could be discussed, just not recited as if it were a conversation in and of itself.

Anyway, as an adult I object to being expected by another person to have particular reactions to their behavior or to respond with particular words; it feels like being handed a script with written dialogue to memorize.  With some family members, we actually do repeat the same conversations, years apart, each time we talk.

What occurred to me is to wonder whether the superficial annoyance of hearing children parrot dialogue from entertainment was tied to a deeper-seated issue about repeating unhelpful patterns within relationships.


*These were the versions of Batman from the 1960s and from something like the 1920s.


2 Responses to ““No dialogue””

  1. Judah Himmelstein Says:

    When “The Mark of Zorro” was trending on TV, every kid in my Hebrew school class but me joined an impromptu ad hoc “Zorro” club. I ridiculed them and was eventually ambushed and beaten up.

    • Diana Moses Says:

      My younger son wanted to be Zorro for Halloween when he was in third grade, and he grew his hair to make a ponytail. I can’t remember whether he kept growing his hair in preparation for the next year’s celebration, but he did keep growing his hair for a few years, and it ended up being down to his waist and the envy of many girls before he had it cut short.

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