Every family has a few rules that set them apart. In our family:

1. We don't keep caged animals
We can't reconcile being prison wardens of a living creature. This makes it easier for our kids to understand why we will always turn down offers from loving friends and family for rats and snakes and gerbils. Also, it makes zoos just a little more tragic.

2. We don't have video games
Our kids don't need them. We don't need to think that they do. This means no Wii, no Gameboys, no retro Atari from my own precious teen hood. Harder than you might think. Oddly, this is the family rule that causes surprising numbers of friends and family to say, "Just wait. You'll cave." Which is great.

3. You get to choose how you wear your own hair
Rube has worn his hair long ever since I have known him. I, on the other hand, have had nearly every length and color, Madigan has had fuchsia stripes and tips, and Levi currently sports a look I like to call, "The Shaggy D.A." It's a festival up in here.

4. Our bodies stay intact until adulthood
(With the exception of Maddy's pierced ears)
At 18 my children will get to decide for themselves about piercings, body modifications, circumcisions, tattoos, etc... I'm hoping they will do it all ON their 18th birthdays. Cause you haven't really lived until you've gotten a stupid tramp stamp that you are embarrassed for and that will take thousands of dollars to remove in your late thirties. Or... so I've heard.

5. We make food and buy ingredients
At times when my friends might think we had nothing to eat in our house it is likely I could make a semi-formal sit-down dinner for eight. Most meals start with recipes and cookbooks are legitimate reading material. Just last night I was rummaging around for a sweet treat and because I keep a stocked larder I was able to throw together a Boston Cream Pie. It works for us.

6. We will treat others and one another with respect
Beyond name calling, beyond table manners. People deserve compassion and kindness. Even the people we live with.

7. Letter grades are not the end-all/be-all
My grades never accurately represented my brilliance. And really, if I'm focused on the letter and throwing away the chance to show my kids how fucking amazing it is to be able to learn, then I really am missing the point.

Keep your eyes peeled for Cupcake Family Gray Areas (or "Topics on which Rube and I will always Disagree")


Clair said...

The cupcake family is awesome. We had some similar "rules" growing up, and it made rebelling so boring when my parents didn't care about my hair color or ear piercings. They still don't know about the tattoo, though, but some secrets are for the best.

Angela said...

I love these rules.

And I'm dying at the thought of this:

Your son (jumping up and down on your bed on his 18th birthday): WOO-HOO! Let's go get me circumcised! And then I want one of those really big loopy things inserted in my ear! And a Mom tattoo on my shoulder! Get up! We've got a lot to accomplish today!!!

Erica said...

Clair - I'm feeling great about these after seeing how you turned out! (I worry that our friends think we are the "Here, have a joint at home with us. We don't want you getting crap skunk week from the hoodlums on the street" kind of parents because we have longhairs in our house. We aren't, BTW.)

Angela - I wonder about that day, too. Actually, Maddy will be off to college when she is still 17 (ouch) so a tattoo may be less interesting than beer and sex in a dorm room, but one can hope!

Clair said...

Glad I could help! My parents believed that by the time we were 14, they'd done all they could do to instill good values and morals. After that, we'd be more influenced by friends than by them. My family may be a little odd, but we all turned out fine (just don't ask about my brother's problem with speeding tickets).

LA Blogger Gal - Katy said...

you could throw a boston cream pie together? Seriously?!?!? You're freakin' amazing!

And smart move on the body modification thing...wish I'd never done the extra ear piercings or the tat.