Interesting development here... the "No Rules" episode of Gullah Gullah island came on again last night. I described the show here http://undonemama. blogspot. com/2008/ 04/world- without-rules. html
- long story short, the parents agree to do away with the rules.
Watching it, Mermaid says, "Mom, they don't have any more rules, and no more chores! That would be GREAT!" - very excited. She then asked me if we could get rid of the rules and chores.
I blinked at her for a second, because for the life of me, I couldn't think of a single rule they have to follow or chore they have to do. So obviously, she's doing some sort of play-acting, and I should just play along...
But then I started thinking, that maybe there's more to it than just pretending.. . for the past few days, I've been suggesting that she clean her room before going outside to play. Not even all the way clean, "just pick up the Polly Pockets." Which she hasn't done, and I didn't enforce. She did go up and shove all the Polly Pockets under the bed though, and then come down and tell me she'd done it. That should have told me what was going on right there. She has bargained with me, she held up two fingers and she said, "This one is clean-up-room- then-go-outside and this one is mess-up-room- and-go-outside. " And then the latter shoved the former out of the picture and was the only one left, victorious. It was a great visual aid! LOL I wasn't enforcing it, but I did get a bit naggy.
So. Anyway. Obviously my husband and I were feeling like we had a "no rules" situation already. And obviously she was feeling like there was definitely some top-down directive going on. So we talked about rules a bit, and I told her "Sure, no more rules!"
There have been a couple of times already where Mermaid has said to me, "Remember, you said no rules." One was when I said, "If you're going outside, I need to brush your hair." So she said, "No rules, Mommy!" and I had to pause... it was something I'd honestly never thought about (and I'm not a stickler for brushed hair, but the other day they went out straggly and then their friend's mom brushed their hair and put it in ponytails. I was mortified.) But obviously it was "bossy" of me. So I said, "Okay, I don't have to brush your hair, but if you want it brushed, please let me do it and not B's mom." And she said, "Okay, I'll get the brush," and was quite amenable.
It has been interesting, that just in the last five hours there have been occasions where I didn't even register that I was "ruling".... but the children perceived it that way. Pretty eye-opening night here!