This past Saturday, I was doing everything in my power to keep some kind of bug at bay, and Joe-Henry was BEGGGGGGIIIING me to play Hullabaloo with him, and I was BEGGGGIIIING him to leave me alone and let me sit on the couch, the doorbell rang. It was the little boy who lives across the street. His sister had been by earlier to return something her mom had borrowed the night before, and I mentioned that Joe-Henry was available to play. So first one child arrives, then his sister, then his brother and the other neighbor, along with his oldest brother. They all made themselves at home, I brought up some games and cleared the coffee table out of the living room, spread out paper on the dining room table for art projects, and managed to actually get a little rest and get some housework done. With seven kids in my house. It was easier than one in some ways, but also I knew that eventually they would go home, and I would be allowed to savor that.
But since then, our house has somehow become "that house", the one where everyone wants to play and today being a snow day, and Joe-Henry having a cough, and me trying to get my damn school core testing done, I had to set a few more rules. And since Joe-Henry didn't want to tell on his friends if they were misbehaving, I decided to make it easy on everyone and set some house rules. Let me know what you think:
MCQ HOUSE RULES
1. BE KIND. No trash talk, no back talk, and no inappropriate language.
2. If you played with it, please put it away before you leave.
3. If you’d like something to eat or drink, please ask first. If you eat something with a wrapper or a peel, please throw it away. If you drink something in a disposable container, put it in recycling when finished.
4. No hitting, no pushing and no playing with pretend guns or weapons inside the house, no aiming pretend guns or weapons at other people. Ever.
5. Ball throwing, screaming, rough-housing must be done outside.
6. If you need to tell an adult about someone else’s behavior more than once, it’s time to go home.
If you can think of any others, let me know. I'm posting them in Joe-Henry's bedroom. He was pretty excited about it until I explained to him that "modelling" behavior meant actually behaving that way himself, rather than just reading the rules to his friends out loud with a whistle around his neck. Anyway, I figure it might save me some arguments.
I love that we are "that house". I am thrilled that Joe-Henry has friends that want to play with him and that they feel comfortable here, and I'm glad to be providing a safe, fun environment for them. Really, I am.
Oh, and if anyone has any great cocktail recipes, send those my way, too.