I have a tradition with all of the grandkids that when I pick them up, we head immediately for the grocery store. We plan out our meals on the way to the store and then pick up what we need. Always included in the shopping trip is a box of Dolly Madison powdered sugar donuts. You know, the kind that makes a huge mess when eaten. Yea, those donuts. I discovered the fun trip to the grocery store with one grandchild isn't all that much fun with three. Which led to rule number 1.
1. You don't sneak food into the grocery cart.
Oreo cookies and milk is such a tasty treat, so when Travis asked if we could get a package of Oreo's, I said "of course!" He put one package in the cart and hid another package under the bananas and apples. Mean grandma's punishment? We bought the Oreos and he got NONE.
The evening was great - until I let them play pool unsupervised. By the time I got downstairs, the floor was covered with baby powder. The powder is there for the hands so the pool cue slides easily, which generated Rule 2.
2. You don't let the pool cue powder get anywhere except your hands.
Mean grandma's punishment? If you need powder on your hands for the rest of the weekend, there is plenty on the floor. LOL you should have seen the hand prints - including mine of course. Dang if I was going to let perfectly good powder go to waste! The floor is concrete so it made no difference - I just wanted them to learn to be more careful in the future.
The next morning is when things really began coming apart at the seams. Travis makes fun of his little brother, Dakota. He calls him a dork, nerd, sissy - you name it. Dakota POUTS. He is the KING of pouting. I despise name calling and I despise pouting. To top things off, Austin decides he's not going to bother telling me when he has to go potty. After hollaring at them for about an hour to quit this, quit that, quit everything, I finally lost it. I marched them upstairs, sat them 3 in a row on the couch and became a drill sargeant. Poor little Austin's eyes were as big as saucers. This lead to rules 3, 4, and 5.
3. You shall not call each other names. Period. In fact, you'd better do something to build up each other's ego occasionally. The punishment? Time on the couch with nothing in the room for entertainment - no tv, no music, no book, no computer, no ipod, no NOTHING! AND... the amount of time spent there will depend on how pissed I am at the time (Travis James)!
4. You shall not pout. Not even a downturn of the mouth. Not a single drop of the shoulders. Not a single drop of the head. I don't care what you are unhappy about. If something isn't right, tell me - but DON'T POUT! The punishment? You will be sent to bed (Dakota Cole)!
5. You shall not wet your pants. I don't care how busy you are or how much trouble it is to go to the bathroom! The punishment? You will wear diapers the rest of the weekend (Austin Joshua). (This Grandma just happens to keep a stash in her bathroom.)
After that we did not have a single incident - no name calling, no pouting and no more wet pants.
The other rules have always been rules here.
6. You do not get a can or bottle of soda to yourself.
In this world of excesses, this habit of young people today seems to be one of the greatest excesses around. There is perfectly good water - filtered even, thank you very much. If you're thirsty, drink water. We will share one soda at some point during the day.
7. You do not eat in front of the television and you don't walk around the house with food. As a matter of fact, you do not eat anywhere except at the kitchen table or the kitchen bar. Ok, if you want to take it outside in the 20 degree cold, that I'll allow ;) (they didn't take me up on that). In our house dinner time is a time to talk to each other.
8. You don't eat ANY food without first asking permission, especially not candy and sweets.
9. Internet access is limited to Grandma approved games. Absolutely no instant messaging, chat rooms or violent games.
10. I control the TV remote. No violence or R rated shows allowed as long as kids are in the house. Most PG and PG13 are also not allowed, but there are exceptions to that. And the amount of time spent watching television is controlled by me too - and it is very limited. There are too many more important things to do, like play games, read, talk, or use your imagination.
I want them to have fun at Grandma's house, but I also want them to learn respect and not depend on electronics for entertainment. Once we established the ground rules, we had a great rest of the weekend. As often as they are here, you wouldn't think setting ground rules would have been necessary. But for some reason, they were testing me. I think I won....