We had a recent incident at our home. One might go so far as to call it a debacle. What my husband called it at the time is not suitable for print, but suffice it to say the story will go down in my mental annals to one day be shared with the children of the offenders around the Thanksgiving dinner table. Now however, the all too familiar antics of my four children seem far less amusing to me than the casual observer.
What shall hereafter be entitled “The Great White War of 2011”, most likely began as harmlessly as a food fight does in a middle school cafeteria. A tossed tater tot. A sporkful of ketchup…and pandemonium ensues. Alas, on this stifling summer afternoon our garage was regrettably condiment free. What we could provide our high-spirited progeny for entertainment was paint. White paint. Acrylic. Glossy. By the time the first perp sloshed his way upstairs to tattle on his older sister, leaving quick drying footprints in his wake, the trial that would befall us had..well.. befallen.The trial of the tint. The affliction of the artwork. The disaster of the driveway. I think I’ve made my point.
AND in what shall hereafter be entitled “The Great Inquisition of 2011”, the first question my long-suffering mate was able to articulate coherently was posed to our teenage daughter. “WHAT made you THINK…that would POSSIBLY be OKAY??!!”
And then she said it. The response heard ’round the world’.
“You never told me not to.”
While I restrained her father from strangling her on the spot, I reflected on the statement. She wasn’t wrong. We hadn’t told her not to have a paint fight in the front yard with her brothers that would result in hundreds of dollars to clean the driveway and the street as well as hours of scrubbing to remove every last trace of stray pigment that had flown in streaks and splatters, Jackson Pollock style, onto both of our cars. I had been remiss as a parent. Emphasizing far too heavily the “Do’s” rather than the “Dont’s”. Oh, the mishaps that could have been avoided.
So, in light of my daughter’s brilliant and insightful statement, I jotted down a woefully incomplete list of 25 things I should have told the fruit of my womb NOT to do. Well. I’m telling them now:
1. It is not appropriate to eat off the floor. No, not even if you brush the hair off first.
2. Underwear should not be worn as outerwear.
3. Any sentence that begins with “I triple dog dare you..”, usually leads to trouble.
4. The dryer is not a ride.
5. Legos should not enter any bodily orifice.
6. Live creatures do not belong in the microwave..
7. ..nor the freezer.
8. Floating off the roof with an umbrella only works in the movies.
9. It is unwise to remove your own or each other’s braces, casts, or surgical staples.
10. Keep in mind that many people will not be as amused as you are by “Yo Mama..” jokes. Including Yo Mama.
11. You’ll shoot your eye out.
12. Coins do not digest.
13. Eating a box of crayons will not make you poop a rainbow. Please stop trying.
14. A dog will eat almost anything if it is wrapped in cheese or coated in peanut butter. This does not make it a good idea.
15. A young sibling will eat almost anything if it is wrapped in cheese or coated in peanut butter. This should also be filed away in your mental “It SEEMED like a good idea but Mom said…” folder.
16. The world is not your toilet.
17. Vertical blinds do not grow and therefore do NOT require a “trim”.
18. Neighbors frown upon dancing naked in the front yard. Accept what you consider oppression as quickly as you can. The time will come when you’ll need more than my apology and a smile to avoid trouble.
19. Because I said so.
20. Licking yourself “just like a cat does” does not equal taking a bath.
21. Suspenders will not support you hanging from household light fixtures.
22. It doesn’t particularly bother me if you taste test a bug, eat a mud pie, or sip lumpy milk. However, if projectile vomit results from from any of the aforementioned actions, you know where the Lysol is.
23. Cereal cannot be eaten for every meal. Unless it’s Count Chocula. Because that’s delicious.
24. Biting people does not win you friends…..
and last but not least my precious angel dumplings…
25. Having a paint fight in your parent’s driveway will get you grounded for a
Sigh. And never forget..Mommy will always love you.