Friday, February 27, 2009

House Rules

Today I started going through all of my foster/adopt paperwork... I thought I'd go ahead and try to get a filing system going now before I get too bogged down with receipts, forms, etc. That's when I found one of my required assignments entitled "House Rules, Rewards, and Consequences."

I've mentioned before some of the total ridiculousness that is required of foster parents. The whole "no foil" thing... The "double lock your medicine" thing... You can't even have dish soap on your counter! Yet hand soap and a clean towel have to be "readily available" at all times. A little confusing, but whatever. At this point, I'll agree to just about anything if it means I'll get to be a "mom" sooner. The "House Rules" assignment, however, was one that I kind of had a problem with.

These "House Rules" must include about ten firm rules of the house, several possible rewards for good behavior, and several consequences for breaking the rules. While I think it's a great idea to establish house rules and have consistent rewards and consequences, the next step in the foster care requirements insists that these House Rules be "prominently-displayed in the child's room for easy reference." I'm fostering infants, for crying out loud! What three-month-old is going to think, "Hmmm... I wonder if this is acceptable behavior... Let me consult my House Rules!"? For that matter, what kind of rules does one give a baby?!?

I was at a complete loss, but then my niece and nephew came over for a visit, and I had one of my oh-so-brilliant ideas. Why not get "Buddy" and "Ka-Diva" to help me come up with some good House Rules?!? Let's see what a couple of (at the time) three-year-olds think is important when it comes to manners, good behavior, and safety! They felt very important helping Aunt Tammy with her "homework." And my sister and I had a blast listening to their answers. Some were really insightful, and others were just downright HILARIOUS (especially because they were said in all seriousness. :-)

Here's what the twins came up with. In the end, I took their answers, consolidated them a bit, and turned it in for my assignment. (But I also added their original answers so the case workers could have a little chuckle.)

Mealtime Rules
  1. Always say, "May I please be excused" after you finish eating.
  2. No elbows on the table.
  3. Chew with your mouth closed.
  4. It's not 'good manners' to burp.
  5. Try all of your food to find out if you like it, and eat however many bites Mommy tells you to eat even if you don't like it.
Playing with Others
  1. Share your toys.
  2. Don't hit.
  3. Don't kick.
  4. Don't take toys from other kids.
  5. No fighting.
  6. Don't be bossy. ("Princess" and I are working on this one. It's not that we're "bossy" really. We just know how things should be done. :-)
Safety Rules (They've been VERY into safety lately.)
  1. No jumping on the couch.
  2. No breaking glass.
  3. Don't touch fire.
  4. Don't open the door by yourself.
  5. Don't go with strangers.
  6. Always wear a lifejacket by the water.
  7. Don't go outside without a grown-up.
  8. Always hold a grown-up's hand in the parking lot.
My Personal Favorites
  1. (Input from Buddy) - "Turn on your ears and listen when Mommy is telling you something." (There's this thing called "Mommy Deafness" where a mom can be screaming in her child's ear, but he can't hear her. However, he can hear the trash truck coming from five blocks away over his mother's screams.)
  2. (Input from Ka-Diva) - "Always say, 'Excuse me' when you burp or toot."
  3. (Then added from Buddy) - "It's not good manners to burp or toot, but if you have to, you have to do it so no one can hear." (My sister and I got a great lesson on this in the Chick-Fil-A dining area. The twins were "just soooo gassy" as Princess put it, and were having a contest of sorts. Christy sternly told them to stop it, and a minute later my dainty little niece loudly exclaims, "You didn't hear that toot, Mommy!!!" We might not have heard the toot, but everyone in the restaurant heard her exclamation. :-)
  4. (Also from the Ka-Diva) - "Don't go outside in your socks or you have to go into Time Out!" (I'm not entirely sure where this rule came from, but she is extremely adamant about it. She is constantly giving my dad and brother-in-law "time outs" for going outside in their socks.)
  5. (Input from both of them at the same time) - "Always brush your teeth or you will get 'cabities' and they'll fall out, but the Tooth Fairy doesn't come if your teeth fall out from 'cabities' so always brush your teeth. :-)
  6. (Also from both) - "It's not 'good manners' to wake up Mommy and Daddy when they're sleeping. You're supposed to go in the other room and be quiet."
So those were the most important rules that the twins could come up with. Not bad for a couple of three-year-olds. But before we ended the assignment, I asked them what they thought a good reward was when they did something good. My nephew's immediate response was so sweet... He thinks the best reward is "hugs and kisses." How cute is that?!? :-)


Kathy of the HavinsNest said...

My mom used to tell me I was bossy. Just like you and Kadie and my Katie.

It's not that we're bossy...we just have Executive Tendencies.

Tammy said...

Oooh! "Executive tendencies!" I like that! :-) My preschool teacher used to say that I had "strong leadership skills."

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