It seems I need to explain this Facebook post/Tweet a little more. So here you go….
Do you have House Rules?
Do you post them somewhere in your home?
We used to just have house rules in concept, but I had to remind the kids of them each of the 400x a day they’d break a rule.
This gets exhausting.
I even tried to write up the most important 3 or 4 rules in the basement for when friends came over, go over them with the kids before leaving everyone to play down there.
This short list was inevitably always torn off the wall, shredded, and shoved into the play kitchen’s oven to die a broiling death. (Not the desired effect.)
So one day when my kids were increasing my blood pressure to dangerous levels and I was very close to telling them off, I grabbed some blank paper and a black crayon from the coloring bin and got to work.
I sat down at the kitchen table and had them help me come up with a list of house rules to hang in the kitchen.
They came up with most of the rules, and we have added to the list since then. We’re up to 18 rules so far:
Some of the rules are obvious, like 1, 2 & 3. But apparently when you live with two
raging lunatics kids in Preschool & Kindergarten, you need something tangible to point to when one is kicking the other in the neck in order to prove that they are, in fact, misbehaving.
#4 came about because Miss A suddenly decided it would be a good idea to climb onto the tv stand and pull at the flatscreen mounted to the wall, while Mr. T simultaneously popped the DVDs out of their cases to use as ice skates on the hardwood kitchen floor. Not sure how you run things in your home, but I rather frown upon these activities.
#7 was related to #4, because it seemed they always threw toys at the tv. Not at the toy box. The tv.
#10 had to become a rule. They would act as if it was reasonable to Opt Out of cleaning the massive piles of Legos, puzzle pieces and dress-up costumes that created a kind of Toy Soup in my basement. Their reasoning? Cleaning makes them “so tired”. Well, yelling at you makes me even more tired. So pick up your crap, kids, or else it all goes into the recycling bin.
One day Miss A came up to me out of the blue and said “MAMAMAMAMA!! I HAVE NEW RULE!!” Pleased at her initiative, I fished out the black crayon and poised myself over a new piece of white paper. I wrote down the number 11, and said “Okay, what’s your new rule?” When she told me, I laughed for a week, in between wondering what on earth made her come up with such a specific rule. I still haven’t decided whether her rule is assuring or frightening.
#12 is all mine. I cannot be held responsible for my actions if you mess with me pre-coffee.
#13 is, again, one of Miss A’s rules. I actually think this is a good one, because we have had someone break one of our walls before (long story for another time). Moving on…
A few weeks back, I had one of Miss A’s friends over after school. The two of them did art projects at the kitchen table as her mom and I chatted at the island. Her little brother would call our attention this way, Mr. T would require my attention that way. The girls were hanging their masterpieces on the kitchen wall, which kind of registered, but not totally. A few days later I went to take them down, then noticed something: we were out of tape. So the industrious girls had somehow found a glue stick, applied glue to the entire backs of the paper, and glued the drawings directly to my kitchen walls. This actually gave me a serious case of The Giggles once I figured out how to get them off the wall without ruining the paint, but also inspired rule #14.
My kids are insistent. Particularly Miss A (are you picking up on a theme here?). If she wants something she follows me around incessantly trying to break me down with a whiney alien-chicken voice at pitches that make the windows vibrate and my nerves unfurl. It makes me want to drop-kick her. Instead, I furiously scratched out rule #16 and followed through on it each new time she attempted this tactic. Thank God this one is helping end this super-annoying stage.
#17 is more for me on some days, more for the kids on others. I think we all benefit from this.
Lastly, it was a situation in our basement that had me adding #18 to the list about a week ago. A few 4 & 5 year old boys decided to karate-chop the crap out of each other during a playdate. Karate isn’t allowed here, but that’s one of those things my kids just know. So I spelled it out for everyone else: there’s no Power Rangers-style karate-kicking our friends in my home. ‘Nuff said.
This list came out of frustration, but I must say it really does actually help things around here.
Even if makes my in-laws think I’m crazy when they see it during their visit.
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