A friend of mine and fellow blogger, Abby Green at Abby Off The Record wrote a post about the rules she never thought she would ever have to make as a mom to enforce with her two boys, “Rules I Can’t Believe I Had to Make”. I urge you to go read her stuff. It’s good. Really good.
What Abby got me thinking about were the rules I’ve had to make for my two girls. Are there different rules for girls? What rules have I had to make? Not surprisingly, I thought of a few. Big thanks to Abby for letting me “borrow” her idea for my own post.
Before my mom left my house and my wife and I alone with our newborn baby for the first time, she left me with this, “Remember, as long as she is fed, clean, and loved, she (and you) will be fine”
A simple rule for new parents scared out of our minds that we might break our daughter like she was a DVD player. I took and used my mom’s rule and for the first few months of my daughter’s life, it worked like a charm. Then something happened. My daughter began walking, talking, and finding things other than her feet or looking at herself in the mirror interesting. In the blink of an eye, the rule my mom so succinctly imparted on her way out of the house only a few months ago, didn’t mean squat. Feeding them, keeping them clean, and loving them still were important but so was keeping her from eating CD cases and walking down the cellar steps by herself. I needed a new set of rules.
The prerequisite ‘keep them safe’ rules came in to play of course. Don’t eat *fill in the blank*, Don’t touch *fill in the blank*, Don’t run with *fill in the blank*, Stay out of the *fill in the blank* were all instituted by the time daughter number 2 came. But before her and now well after, there have been a cavalcade of rules I found myself implementing. Some of them universal to all kids and some of them quite gender specific. Some of them I have made out of necessity and others were created by virtue of having two small girls running around my house.
Put Your Clothing On. My kids love being naked more than Sloth loved Chunk. Every time they take off their shirts or run from the bathroom after a shower in their birthday suits they remind me why I’m going to hate any boy they bring in to my house.
You’re Going to Have to Sit to Go. It didn’t take long for my kids to start in on the anatomy questions.
I’m a Grandfather. How did that happen you ask (believe it or not it has nothing to do with the clothing rule)? My daughters have “kids”. Kids in the shape of baby dolls, American Girl Dolls, and handed down Cabbage Patch Kids. All of which are as real as they are. We buckle them up in the car, babysit them, and most nights “Grandpop” has to say goodnight to them.
Your Highness. As quickly as my kids can be mistaken for a sub-sect of the Flying Wallendas around my living room furniture is as quickly as they can be royalty. Sometimes my girls just want to be Princesses. To have their hair done, to wear my wife’s jewelry, shoes, and strut around the house. I’m happy to serve as Court Jester.
You Need Longer Pants. Contrary to the belief of my children, Capris are not suitable clothing to wear in the middle of winter. Although, considering I have a hard enough time getting them to put on clothing, maybe I shouldn’t be so stingy?
Speaking of Flying Wallendas. My kids, specifically the little one, find particular pleasure in jumping off and from anything higher than the floor. This includes, but is not limited to, the coffee table, the stairs, and the dining room table. I’ve repeated, “Please stop jumping on the sofa” more times than their names.
Pink and Purple are the New Black. I’m waiting for any color to be the new black. Until the time when that happens, too much of my house looks like an Easter egg.
I don’t want to stifle my kids with rules but at the same time, in order to preserve the peace, and my sanity, and let my kids know if they have to play by the rules then so do I (just call me Grandpop). I know the rules are going to change, maybe as soon as tomorrow, when it comes to kids. I anticipate their teenage years the same way I put jumper cables on a car batter (I hope for the best but usually expect the battery to explode). I am anticipating just about anything even though I won’t be ready for any of it until it is here.
So until that time when the rules of engagement change, I’ll keep reminding my kids about keeping their clothing on and jumping on the furniture. I’ll deal with the pink and purple walls. I’ll answer their anatomy questions and serve faithfully on their royal courts. I’ll handle the complicated, can’t believe I had to say that, kind of rules and I’ll also make sure I remember the simple rules as well. I’ll make sure they are fed. I’ll keep them as clean as possible and more than anything, be sure to love them.