February 10, 2007

New Rule, Because Evidently It Needs To Be Made

I have a new rule for inclusion in the Rulebook For Parents, and I assume someone is compiling such a volume because it is clearly needed. The new rule is this: No parent may set up an activity for children that requires supervision, and then bail. For example: I may not set up Rob and William with fingerpaints, as if I am some sort of Fingerpaint Fairy bestowing favors, and then say to Paul, "See you later! I'm going to the store!"

Notice how cleverly I avoid implicating Paul as the rule-breaker when I use this example. It almost seems as if I could have broken the rule myself, and was now feeling remorse. But in fact what happened was that Paul set the twins loose in the house with cups of orange juice and crayons, and then took off on a walk with William.

The twins get very little time loose in the house: they spend most of their time in their room--which is also their playroom--and the large play yard in the living room. This is because they are still destructive, mindless animals, and because they get into trouble in two different directions at once. When they are out, they require intense supervision, ideally by two adults so that one can stop Edward from pulling the tape out of a videotape while the other stops Elizabeth from pulling out handfuls of crayons and throwing them under the couch. And do you think the twins are normally allowed to have cups of sticky, sticky orange juice while they are running free? No. No, they are not.

Certainly no one would want to be the one to re-cage the twins after someone else has promised them time to roam freely. You might as well set up an air raid siren--no, two air raid sirens--right inside your house, and let them whoop until your teeth fragment and skitter to the floor. And so I was trapped: the door closed behind Paul, and Elizabeth dropped her cup. Moments later, Edward upended the crayon bin. Moments after that, Elizabeth tripped and hit her mouth and started screaming, and Edward used the ensuing fuss as an opportunity to escape into the kitchen and start emptying cupboards. If I had come up with the twin freedom idea, I would have been cursing myself; as it was, I was cursing Paul. Paul was conveniently not there to receive the curses.

I don't think I should always have to be the one issuing edicts around here, and yet that is the way it happens. Some of us seem to instinctively understand the rules, and others of us seem to need them spelled out. Writer of the rulebook, please take note.


Black Sheeped said...

I'm going to comment on the previous post. I've had two different blogs before this one that everyone knew about. I got tons of comments and emails and I felt really popular and awesome, until people I knew, like my family, started calling me upset about posts. About wording, and about how I shouldn't mention menstruation, etc. And no matter how completely innocent or cheerful I tried to make my posts, there was criticism, and it was too stressful. I had to close both of those blogs.

They don't know about this one, although some friends do. I find I am more myself in this blog, and I don't fake happiness when I'm not happy just to make people leave me alone. I'm glad they're not reading it because it takes off some pressure.

But that's just me.

Sorry the rules aren't being followed correctly. :)

Mommy Daisy said...

Uh oh, sounds like double trouble hit again. I do like your idea for the new rule. I think you should put it in big red letters on a giant posterboard and hang it in your house for all to see. :) What a mess. Shame on hubby *shaking my finger at him*. I hope that the animals are now contained and all is well again.

Erica said...

I made sure my husband is aware of this new rule. Rest assured that it will by followed in our house. God help him if it's not.

jen said...

yeah, funny how that works, isn't it?

Shana said...

Is it wrong of me that this entry made me laugh?

But yes, this is one of those unwritten rules of parenthood of which Paul should have been aware. I hope he feels suitably chastened and that he helped clean up the orange juice and the kitchen.

desperate housewife said...

Aaargh. But if it's any consolation, I have not yet broken down and forked over the eighty bucks for a toddler play yard, so when Addy's not napping or in her playpen watching Einstein, she's pretty much running all over the place. And she tears all the Tupperware out of the kitchen cupboard every day of my life. As well as everything out of bathroom drawers, everything out of her diaper bag, my purse, etc.
So far it's manageable and I don't mind because she has so much fun exploring, but I've been trying to think realistically about how this is gonna work when I'm nursing a new baby, essentially incapacitated, and Addy decides now would be a good time to start exploring the cupboard full of Lysol or whatever. I'm gonna need to start either setting up more gates and boundaries, or babyproofing every freaking cupboard and drawer and box and bag and basket.

Swistle said...

D.H.-- If you do decide to get a play yard, I recommend this one: North State Superyard XT. We didn't buy it until we had twins, but now I LOVE it. Rob ran free as a toddler, and so did William. If I remember right, by the time William was born, Rob was old enough to MOSTLY stay out of trouble--like, I don't think he was emptying trash cans and cupboards anymore. I also remember we borrowed someone's play yard briefly with each of the first two kids, but each child screamed in there as if we were tearing the child limb from limb, so we gave up. Somehow with TWO kids in there, they don't mind it.

theflyingmum said...

yes, and yes! The rule book DEFINITELY needs and update.