Today Susie found it necessary to have a little chat with four-year-old Oliver. "Ollie, sometimes when I say something you talk back," she explained gently. "You say it in a way that's not very nice. What you're doing is you're being sassy." She then cited an example of one thing he had done, and again explained that "that's just being sassy."
Oliver, to his credit, was looking at her and listening intently. "Mom ... mom," he said impatiently, waiting for her to finish. "Mom, I don't like that word sassy. Don't say sassy."