Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Rules

A while back I had a scare at the zoo, and unfortunately I all too frequently am left chasing after the boys in stores. To combat this, I try to remind them they need to behave before the bad behavior starts. I figure I have a better shot at sanity if I lay the groundwork before I start using that really scary and exasperated shrieky voice or that extra creepy calm but ominous good-mommy-reprimanding-her-child-in-public-voice. So they get reminded of my expectations. I usually do this before we leave the car, I review the rules. Instead of me just talking at the boys, I have them tell me the rules. It's my attempt at proactive parenting, and yes, I do want a gold star.
This weekend I took the boys to the zoo with my good friend Erin and her son. As we walked from the parking lot to the entrance, I asked the boys, as I always do, "So boys, what are the rules when we go to the zoo?"
And they started their list.
"No hitting strangers!" exclaims Little Dog.
"That's a good one," I agree
"And no talking to strangers!" adds Big Dog.
"True. What else?" I ask.
"No running off?" answers Big Dog with a bit less certainty.
"Absolutely! That's important, if you can't see me, I can't see you, so stay close. Any others?"
"No taking things out of strangers' pockets," says Little Dog.
"Yes, because that would be illegal. Let's not do that."
"Because if you do that, they'll call the police," offers Liam with authority.
"They sure could," I agreed. "Anything else?"
"Hold hands in the parking lot!" says Big Dog.
"Yes. That's a good one. How about our ears? What should they do?"
"Listen! Listen to mommy!" says Big Dog, finally catching the most important point.
"Yep! Always listen to mommy. Good job boys."
"And no kicking strangers," says Little Dog.
"That's right. Let's just not touch strangers at all, ok?" I say.
And that's when I notice Erin laughing. She sees me looking and says, "This needs to go on your blog. No hitting strangers, that's hilarious."
What? Don't we all have that rule? Maybe you just don't spell it out. Well, I may have more need to. See as we were standing and watching the emu, Little Dog tells me, "I just smacked that guy's butt!" And he had. I was mortified. So I apologized, took Little Dog aside and reminded him of the rules and asked him to "go say sorry to that man for hitting his bottom."
His reply? "I said I smacked his butt!"
Great. So fantastic. And the dad seemed to think the rather terrible behavior was funny. But Little Dog did say sorry. That's worth something, right?


geekymummy said...

Ha! I love that you have to specify no hitting strangers.

I may have to include "no calling mummy poo poo head", of even worse, the latest sure to get a rise out of mum insult "penis head", in public (or at all really, but particularly not in public.)

followthatdog said...

Have I told you the "penis head" story? Yeah, we've had an issue with that name too.

Fremont Mama said...

Reading the zoo story about big dog getting lost made me tear up...that must have been awful! Glad this zoo trip only consisted of butt smacking! :)

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