Noticing the other day that we have the same conversations over and over at my house, it occurred to me that we should make some official rules and post them somewhere. Then my toddler will know we once talked about how uncool it is to play with our cassette tapes and CD’s and albums. That it is bothersome to smack people. That only on very special occasions is it OK to stand on the kitchen table.

So we got out a marker and a big piece of paper and I said, in a very enthusiastic voice, “Let’s make some rules”. Her eyes got huge and she clapped her hands and I could tell she did not really know what I meant. That was OK since it was better off not being a drag.

We talked about the people who live here, Mama and Katie and Baby and Papa and Funky (our cat). How we all have needs but we have to share the same space. We all need privacy and space sometimes. We all get mad but we don’t hit each other. That it is ok to stomp around and call someone a “buh-ted” if you are really, really mad. If you make pooched out lips and a deep growl and make your eyes really small and bring your foot up to your chest and bring it down with a loud noise and ball up your fists and pound them on your thigh you might feel a lot better. Then you might laugh. Then you might do it again and laugh some more and soon enough you are dancing and the sun comes out.

Then we drew a picture of our house. I put in the outline, the windows and doors and the way the porch looks. She used green to color the door, and then she showed me where the secret squiggles are. We drew our faces in the window, waving arms and smiling in purple. We giggled for ten minutes putting in our garden and she told me she had a cat named Pony Isen with green eyes and feathers.

“I like rules!” She left her post to do an interpretive dance. The sun came in just right and there were rainbows from the window, arching all across the room and the one wall we intentionally left bare for just this reason. We talked about rainbows. We walked around getting them on us, “Look Mommy, ders a wainbow onyur shirt!”

And she had them on her face and the back of her hands then it wrapped around her arm and onto the wall. They shifted with the clouds. There was magic going on all over the place.

Eventually we got around to the actual rules. I put in the part about the tapes and the table and how we don’t hit. I asked her what she wanted to put. She thought for a minute, squinting and wiggling her cheeks around. The she came up with:

"My stuff is everything and baby can’t touch my stuff."

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