Rules For (My) Life With Toddler Boys

Frequently when I find myself yelling out one of our household rules to the whirling dervish that is my pile of rowdy, wrestling boys, I think to myself, “Oh my gosh that is so a rule for a house of boys.” Or even (I’m not too ashamed to admit) “That is so a rule for a mom who just can’t deal.”

Yep, that’s me. A mother to a three- and an almost-two-year-old, with another on the way. Who hopes that this baby isn’t her last – even though she generally thinks herself incapable of dealing with her household’s current level of noise and activity.


Here’s a list of the rules I find myself repeating on a not-irregular basis. It may be long, but it’s far from exhaustive. (Fifty-three, schmifty-three – I’m sure I could come up with dozens more.)

What would you add?

  1. No sitting on your brother’s head.
  2. No standing on any part of your brother’s body.
  3. You may not ride on your brother’s back, even if he is pretending to be a horse. (Though sometimes I make an exception when the little guy is the one doing the riding, because it’s just so darned cute.)
  4. No rough-housing on the stairs.
  5. No rough-housing on Mommy.
  6. Do not cover your brother with pillows and then lay on him. (I ignore most mid-wrestling cries/screams, but I respond quickly to the muffled ones.)
  7. No sitting or standing on tables.
  8. No jumping off of tables.
  9. No climbing on bookcases.
  10. No climbing onto the TV console.
  11. No bringing spiders into the house.
  12. No bringing rocks into the house.
  13. No throwing rocks at your brother.
  14. No throwing anything inside the house.
  15. No moving chairs, boxes, etc. to give yourself access to up-high things Mommy doesn’t want you to have.
  16. No moving any other furniture either.
  17. No whining in the kitchen.
  18. No large toys in the kitchen.
  19. No baskets of toys in the kitchen. (Can you tell where I spend most of my day?)
  20. No lying between Mommy’s feet while she’s cooking.
  21. No refusing to eat food that you specifically requested that Mommy make for you.
  22. Yes, you must actually be sitting (not standing, not kneeling) on your chair during mealtime.
  23. No toys on the kitchen table.
  24. No roaring at the table.
  25. No making monster noises at the table.
  26. No making siren noises at the table. (My parents used to have a “no singing at the table” rule, so I don’t feel at all bad about these last few.)
  27. No climbing onto the kitchen counter.
  28. Do not touch scissors.
  29. Do not touch knives.
  30. Do not touch the toaster.
  31. Do not stick knives into the toaster while trying to turn it on. (Yes, that one happened.)
  32. Do not sit on the dishwasher door.
  33. Nevermind – don’t even touch the dishwasher.
  34. Do not open the refrigerator door without a parent’s permission.
  35. Do not leave the refrigerator door open.
  36. Do not put your toys in the refrigerator.
  37. Until you’re old enough to wash them, do not put your hands into the dirty dishes.
  38. Any toy/cup/piece of food you drop into the dish-filled sink shall remain there.
  39. Do not play with the trash can.
  40. Any toy/piece of food you drop into the trash can shall remain there.
  41. Do not open the nozzle to the Brita container and let the water drain all over the floor. (Yes, that one happened too.)
  42. You are only allowed into the bathroom to relieve yourself.
  43. You may not unwind the entire toilet paper roll, even if you try to wind it back up.
  44. You may not fill the bathroom sink with toilet paper, turn the water on full-blast, and leave it running until the water overflows.
  45. When you do the above, you may not run away like nothing happened, so that Mommy is alerted to the mess by the sound of water splashing onto the floor.
  46. When Mommy is on the phone, you must either remain quiet around her or go into another room.
  47. If you insist on roaring/screaming/cackling/otherwise loudly chasing Mommy through the house while she’s on the phone, she will escape upstairs, past the baby gates and beyond your reach.
  48. Temper tantrums will be ignored and/or removed to someplace away from Mommy.
  49. Yes, you have to be nice to your brother.
  50. No, your brother does not have to kiss you.
  51. No, your brother does not have to let you kiss him.
  52. But yes, you do have to give your Mommy a goodnight hug. It is important to have your last interaction of the day be a sweet one.
  53. Daddy does bedtime.
They are somehow so much cuter when they're in-between Daddy's feet.

They are somehow so much cuter when they’re between Daddy’s feet.

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