Something you learn very quickly as a mom of boys is that nothing goes without saying. There is no rule too explicit for little boys. For instance, you can’t say “Keep your hands to yourself.” You must say “Keep ALL BODY PARTS to yourself.” The more specific and thorough you can be, the better. You must leave no room for ambiguity. My motto is: When in doubt, spell it out.
This leads to a number of rules that I never thought I would need to make. Such as:
- Do not put anything in your mouth besides food and a toothbrush.
- You may not dunk action figures in your milk.
- You may not purposely toot on another person.
- You must wear underwear when leaving the house. UNDER your clothing. And not ONLY underwear.
The list is endless. New items are added daily, sometimes hourly. And it’s a losing battle, because there’s no possible way to cover all your bases. There’s no possible way to foresee that one of your sons would get his head stuck in a kitchen chair. “No sticking your head through the rungs of a chair.”
So I was thrilled to stumble across a chapter called “Rules I Can’t Believe I Had to Make” in Rachel Balducci’s book, How Do You Tuck In a Superhero?: And Other Delightful Mysteries of Raising Boys, which I bought based on the cover alone. The author is the mother of 5 – yes, FIVE – boys. It’s a wonder she has the time, energy, and brainpower left to string sentences together. Some days I can’t even manage that and I’m only raising 2 boys.
Anyway, Balducci’s list includes such sensible items as:
- Never crawl into the trunk of someone’s car. Even if your brother dares you to.
- Never shut your brother in the refrigerator. I don’t care if he says he wants to try it out.
But her ever-growing list of unwritten rules also includes:
- No beating the tops of trucks with bats.
- Just stay off the tops of all cars in general.
- Don’t get on the roof either.
- No throwing things out of second-story windows.
- Yes, even if you have a bucket below to catch them.
- Especially not Daddy’s underwear and our nicely bound books.
See? You can never be too specific. Don’t say “Be nice to your little brother” when what you really mean is, “Don’t seal your little brother’s eyelids, nostrils, and lips shut with dinosaur stickers.”
Got any rules you can’t believe you had to make in your house?