There was a time when I had only one hard-and-fast household rule. This rule was as follows:
1. You must wear at least underwear at the dinner table.
Those were the days of triage parenting. You who have toddlers and preschoolers at home right now know what I am talking about.
Today we have more rules. The interesting part to me is to consider that every rule is made because someone pushed a little too far, things went horribly wrong and we had to set a boundary there. For instance:
2. No sticks in the house or car.
3. Biking and scootering may not be done barefoot. And wear a gol-durn helmet.
4. After being tucked into bed, you get one last request. More than that earns a freak-out from Mom.
5. You may not go outside in socks unless you are also wearing shoes.
6. Close the #$&*! door!
7. No bugs in the house. Not even in a jar.
8. Stay out of the food coloring.
9. No scissors, Game Boys, or toy airplanes at church.
10. Bathing, complete with shampoo and scrubbing, must occur at least three times a week. An adult must supervise the use of any liquid soap products.
11. You may dig only in the specified dirt area. Not in the grass. Even if you are looking for ants.
12. Children must not use eBay.
13. No toys in the washing machine. Or the dryer.
14. The ability to ride a bicycle does not equate to total freedom. Stay in the neighborhood.
15. Almost 8 is still not old enough to drive.
16. Almost 6 is still not old enough to carry a baby across a tile floor.
17. You may not walk through a closed screen door, even if it is already ripped a little bit.
18. No spray paint, ever, ever, ever. Especially not on the new landscape boulder in the neighbor's yard.
19. A power drill is not an earth moving tool. (Wah! My beloved drill!)
20. All is forgiven any time you use these words:
a. Good morning
b. Thank you
c. Okay, Mom
d. I hope you had a good day, Mom
e. I love you