Thursday, October 30, 2014

House Rules

David and I were raised on coffee. He used to have a cup each morning before school to wash down his multivitamins (no wonder he's only 5'6") and my grandma used to set me up at her farmhouse kitchen table with a cup of coffee, the bowl of sugar, and a stack of ginger snap cookies (no wonder I've been chubby my whole life). 

The sight, smell, and taste of coffee are now ingrained in who we are. Not to mention, David has a tendency to grunt and walk around in circles until he's had his first cup of day. As a result, coffee cups are often littered throughout our house. David will often mindlessly set them down as he goes about his morning, only to make a panicked yell for everyone to stop what they're doing and go find his mug. I have found mugs in the laundry room, Morgan's room, and even the bathroom. No place is safe. 

I recently went in to Morgan's room one morning to wake her for school, carrying my own cup of coffee with me. As Morgan rolled over, she slowly opened one eye, wincing at the day ahead. Suddenly, she shot straight up, eyes wide.

"Mom, I have to tell you something."

"What?" (Those words always make me nervous, as it usually means she has broken something and hidden the evidence.) 

Remember how we got new carpet in my room last year?" (It was two months ago, but children clearly have their own sense of time.)

"Well, I've made a new rule. There is no coffee allowed in my room now. I'm gonna need you to take that back to the kitchen."

"Fair enough." I walked my mug back to the counter and returned to her room.

"Now hold out your hands."

"I'm sorry, what?"

"I need you to show me that you actually put it down."

I held them out for her to assess, chuckling not only at her new rules, but at her commitment to enforcing them. The rules I write - a jumping off point for negotiation. The rules she writes - the law of the land. Her future college roommates are going to love her so much.

No comments: