Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Rules

This parent gig is really the best one I've had yet. A few of you might find this surprising, coming from me, but it is true. Every day brings new challenges, new opportunities, surprises, a few tears and a whole lot of laughter.

As most of you know, I work 12 hour shifts. This makes daycare a bit tricky as my shifts start and end well after daycare hours. We are very fortunate that Daddy-o works 8-5, Monday to Friday and is able to take care of the drop offs and pick ups. He's also been in charge of most of the breakfasts and all of the baths/bedtime rituals once I returned to work. That little bit of consistency has saved us a lot of grief over the almost three (!) years that we have been doing this. It's a pretty good system, I think. It does mean that I miss out on an awful lot, however.

A few weeks ago, on one of my evenings home, Sean was getting Quinn ready for bed. There was the usual screeching and giggling going on and I could hear him rapidly losing his patience. Suddenly I heard "What's rule number 1?" and a little voice give a reply. "What's rule number 2?", and Quinn replied in a sad voice again. "What the...??!" I asked myself. What boot camp went on around here when I was at work? I had to investigate.

As it turned out, there were only three rules at that point and all had a lot of merit. Rule #1: Don't touch the hot water. Rule #2: Water stays in the tub. Rule #3: Don't throw anything down the stairs. Quinn knew them by rote. It was cool, in a severe disciplinarian type of way. A few minutes later (most of which punctuated by ear piercing shrieks from the boy), Mommy had added another; Rule #4: Use your "inside voice".

Over the next few days, the list slowly grew to 10. Some (such as #10) should be higher up on the list, I agree, but each was created as they presented themselves. We also agreed that 10 would be the limit. Here, for the first time ever, is the completed list:

Rule #1: Don't touch the hot water
Rule #2: Water stays in the tub
Rule #3: Don't throw anything down the stairs
Rule #4: Use your "inside voice"
Rule #5: Hugs and kisses are free
Rule #6: Don't go under the sink
Rule #7: Don't touch the toaster
Rule #8: Don't touch other people's glasses
Rule #9: Mambo!
Rule #10: Always listen to Mommy and Daddy

Ok, so there is really only 8... I had to break it up a bit.

"The Rules" as they are referred to now, have also provided hours of comedy gold around here. Not only can Quinn recite them backwards and forward, he has also made up songs, danced to The Rules and educated complete strangers. They've also become a game, as Quinn will throw out a random two digit number and ask what that rule is. He will also carefully point them out to Mommy and Daddy, when he feels their behaviour warrants a check. And, yes #9 comes complete with dancing and #5 with snuggles. What's not to like?

I'm sure this too will come out in future therapy sessions. But, in the meantime we, as a family, have created a fun framework and set some limits. Now, if I could only get him to pick up his toys, I'd be ahead of the game.

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