Esther Cepeda / Politics

How Answers Define Us

CHICAGO -- In the course of raising two teenage boys, a mother finds herself wearing many hats, nearly all of them of the rule-enforcement variety.

There's "eat your vegetables, drink your milk, stay away from that candy" and "pick your clothes up off the floor, push your chair in and turn the lights off."

And don't get me started on the category of instilling good grooming habits in adolescent boys that aren't fit to describe in a family newspaper.

But lately I've found myself in a new role: I'm the "yeah" police. It goes a little something like this:

Me: Honey, did you remember to let the dogs out?

Son: Yeah.

Me: I'm sorry, what?

Son: Yeah.

Me: Try that again.

Son (through gritted teeth): YES, Mooommm!

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