I remember how disappointed I was as a kid to learn that breaking a limb did not necessarily include a severed appendage. Windows, dishes, and almost everything else you break in childhood shatters into pieces. How could a broken arm not involve amputation?

Now, when I tell my kids to stop roughhousing on the stairs because, "Someone's going to break a leg!" they pause to consider the warning. I know they're picturing a lone leg, snapped off at the hip, thudding down the steps. "You could break your neck!" prompts even deeper reflection.

I haven't corrected them yet. They already know the truth about Santa and the Tooth Fairy. I'll let them hold onto this one a little while longer.