My youngest went to get his backpack out of the car yesterday. I lay in wait for him. When he walked into the kitchen, I jumped out and scared him. He yelled. I was going to laugh with him then but Julia went and spoiled it all.
From the back of the house, Julia started consoling the poor boy. He responded by tearing up and running to her. With some indulgement, he was weeping in no time.
I said, "Hon, if you just laugh with him he's fine. If you coddle him he'll respond in the way you ask prompt him to respond."
Julia said, "I don't know why men do things like that. Don't you know you can literally scare someone to death."
Julia's response was good in two ways. First, I got a huge laugh from her saying that I could have literally scared the boy to death. Second, I said, "O. K. I'm going to have to write a scene in which someone literally scares someone else to death."
I can't wait.