Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Breaking the rules

The other day my son was being very quiet and was nowhere in sight... a near guarantee that trouble was brewing.  After a quick sweep of the area he was found hiding out behind the island in our kitchen, marker in hand, surrounded by a masterpiece of squiggles on the linoleum. 
I started trying to edit out all the dirty spots on my kitchen floor and gave up! 
Don't judge me!!

My initial reaction was to snatch the marker from his long piano fingers and silently scream "you little stinker"... but then he smiled so big and pointed to his drawing as if saying "Mom look what I made you!"  I wet a washcloth and ran it over one section, found that it completely wiped away with little to no effort, and handed him back the marker. 

These days, Teddy is usually found near outlets, in toilets, playing with appliances, or banging computer keys, and this easily cleaned up artistic display was a welcome change.  When his mother Natalie saw what he had done she immediately began reprimanding him, "Teddy boy, that is very naughty.  We do not write on the floor with markers, ok sweetie?  Only on paper."  I explained to her that she was right, we don't usually color on the floor, but that mommy said it was ok this time.  She gave me a confused look as I handed her a marker which quickly gave way to a smile as she popped off the top and began drawing suns and flowers on the floor.  On a rainy day when our apartment's cement porch was too wet to draw on with chalk, this impromptu art session on the kitchen floor was the perfect fix.

On a side note, I do recommend explaining boundaries (you CAN draw on floor, you CAN'T draw on carpet, doors, your legs, etc) and making sure to wipe it up shortly after so that you don't have to scrub :)  I gave Natalie a washcloth and said "Cinderella you have chores to do! Just look at this dirty floor!"  She had it cleaned up in 30 seconds and had fun doing it!

Note the marker all over her right leg.  I may have neglected to explain the boundaries...
Because our weather has been consistently gloomy, we have come to embrace this activity over the past few days.  It's like a giant white board of endless possibilities, and Natalie has been tracing letters, shapes and numbers to her heart's content.  We even took it to the cabinet doors, (which I don't recommend if you don't have apartment quality white laminate ones like we do) and Natalie's big eyes conveyed a combination of wonder, disbelief and pure joy!

The moral of this story is based on a piece of advice my mom gave me: Pick your battles.  You could fight with your kids all day long in an effort to get them to do everything right, or you could major on the majors and not sweat the small stuff. 

As the cliche goes, "rules were made to be broken",
so go ahead and let them break them once in while! 

Here are some of our favorites:

Jump on the bed
Splash in the tub
Eat dessert before dinner
Ride a bike (tricycle) in the house

Stay up past bedtime
Skip instead of walking
Zoom your cart down the aisle like a race car at the store
Use outside voices inside
Wear dress up clothes outside the house
Jump in puddles

Stand at the dinner table

Blow in your straw to make milk bubbles

Throw a ball in the house
Climb on the furniture
Wear PJs all day and dress up clothes to bed



  1. What a fun mommy you are!!

    And your mom gave you some great advice!

  2. This was such a sweet story. Thanks for sharing!