“Stop licking that baby!”
You say it. Then you hear it. And then you wonder how your life has distilled down to this single moment of making bizarre even insane rules that at first blush reflect badly on your religion, culture, heritage, and even mental health.
“No! I mean it! If you don’t stop licking that baby—I’ll lick you!”
And you mean it, because the baby’s siblings are crazy, and if you don’t stop them they’ll lick that baby until it screams, and then you’re really in the soup.
As a young mother I once made a list of ten family commandments.
Commandment number one read: Thou shalt not eat PB&J sandwiches with plastic vampire teeth in your mouth. Adorable, right?
Not so adorable when the kids, having tried to eat the—above mentioned—sandwiches, cried because their plastic vampire teeth became so gicky with peanut butter slime as to be rendered disgusting. I pulled the plug on the vampire teeth denture experiment after catching myself brushing peanut butter drool out of plastic tooth crevices with my own personal toothbrush one too many times, or maybe it was one time.
When making family laws, rules, or commandments it is (in my professional opinion) important to be clear and specific.Thou shalt not make mommy want to run away is way too vague—also suggestive and possibly fraught with legal ramifications. The children may in fact, want to make mommy run away and are just calculating the amount of baby licking required to achieve their nefarious goal of trying to make mom look like the one who did the crazy running away stuff. I always check the wall of photos at Walmart to be sure my family hasn’t posted my picture up there—just to make me nuts.
An example of a much more efficaciously worded rule would be, anyone still defecating in his or her pants shall not, will not, or better not be allowed to carry a hammer or torque wrench around.
I’ve actually heard myself yell, “Someone find that little, short kid in the diaper; he’s got a hammer—possibly a torque wrench.”
I have found that as children mature the rules don’t have to be quite so specific and a parent can expect to fall back to the default setting of that great old standby, “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.” Simple, clear, concise, and begs the question, “Do I really want other people licking my baby, lollipop, or dog bowl?”
I recently sat through a lecture at my new college covering the honor code rules, as honor is understood and defined in the 21st century. I was shocked. It reminded me of PB&J and vampire teeth and really small children, prone to licking things—not food.
It read (in part) Violations of the Academic Honor Code: PLAGIARISM, CHEATING, UNAUTHORIZED COLLABORATION, SUBMISSION OF WORK PREPARED FOR ANOTHER COURSE, FABRICATION, FACILITATING ACADEMIC DIS-HONESTY, VIOLATION OF TESTING CONDITIONS, LYING, FAILURE TO REPORT AN HONOR CODE VIOLATION.
I wanted to ask the difference between fabrication and lying, but I was too intimidated, and I had plastic vampire teeth at the time.
Didn’t we have an honor code, once upon a time? Wasn’t it fairly simple and easily reprinted? Weren’t there like ten basic rules of civilized behavior? I seem to remember hearing something about it—once upon a time in a land far, far away.
Linda (R is for Rules) Zern