Josh and Matthew dumped their box of Matchbox cars – which is about 200 cars – at the top of the stairs. Sitting in my office I heard the unmistakable 'bang,' 'bang,' 'bang' of cars bouncing down the stairs.
"Guys, I don't want you throwing cars down the stairs," I called.
"I'm not," Josh said.
Having played this game 100 times before, I know how it goes. The choice of verb is critical. In his mind, he's not "throwing," he's doing something else. Until you specify the right action, he won't stop.
"Okay, I don't want you pushing cars down the stairs," I said.
"I'm not," Josh said, as another 'bang,' 'bang,' 'bang' echoed into my office.
Already tired of this, I cut to the end: "Okay, Josh, what ARE you doing with the cars?"
"I'm just getting them down the stairs."