Sometimes I try to play with my kids and they just make up rules to games, but we never actually play. With the dishwasher unloaded and the laundry switched, I’m free and eager, but after ten minutes of listening to nonsensical rules flying at me, I completely lose interest.
They tell me things like:
“You can’t cross this line unless you’re wearing a red shirt, but if you have a blue shirt (which I do, so I listen closely) then you have to jump three times and then cross the line and then kick the ball to the tree and chase it and then find five sticks and put them in a pile and then come back to the line with your bike helmet on but only if you’re wearing a shirt with stripes.”
Did you get it? Neither did I. But when I mess up, they just say it louder.
“Less rules. More playing,” I say.
I’m not really sure where they get this kind of stuff, but then I remember that I’m pretty good at making up rules on the fly as well. This parenting gig seems to provide ample opportunity to say things that I never thought I would ever have to:
“No worms in the house.”
“If you have pants on, you can’t go in the front yard.”
“Don’t pee in the fridge. That is not what the vegetable drawer is for.”
“You have to wear underwear to school.”
“When a baby pulls your hair, it means they love you.”
“No weapons in the bathroom.”
“No naked buns on my pillow.”
“Don’t untie my swimming suit at the pool.”
“Never put another juniper berry up your nose.”
Mercy, I wish these were all fiction…