Ford column – Rules to live by

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 1, 2009

We all know the basic rules of life.
Don’t lie, cheat or steal. Don’t drink and drive, don’t stop taking an antibiotic before it’s gone, don’t grocery shop while hungry.
Don’t go to bed angry, spit into the wind or eat yellow snow.
Practice makes perfect. You snooze, you lose. And when in doubt, throw it out.
By and large, these societal tenets are understood. Generally, they go unsaid.
But when you have a toddler, you find a whole new set of rules that you didn’t even realize you lived by.
These newly discovered guidelines must be communicated, in a loving and firm tone, to the young offender as actions that the family simply can’t tolerate.
Such rules made the community forum at recently, as well as a subsequent Facebook discussion group where more rules for youngsters appeared.
Some of my favorites:
We don’t eat with our feet on the table.
We don’t do handstands while we nurse.
We don’t pee on toads.
We don’t use scissors unless we are wearing underwear.
We don’t put chopsticks in our ears.
We don’t ride the cat like a horse.
We don’t eat coconut foot cream.
We don’t barf into people’s hands when we don’t like our food.
We don’t give people our boogers.
We don’t bless ourselves in the toilet. Toilet water is not holy water.
We don’t draw on the cat.
We don’t sit in the laundry basket to eat our snack.
We don’t bite the cat’s tail.
We don’t pee in the doggie’s water bowl.
We don’t lick the tub.
We don’t eat toothpaste.
We don’t say, “What the frickin’ he%#” when grandma is around.
We don’t use our fingers to eat dip from the dip bowl at a potluck table.
We don’t cut holes in our new socks.
We don’t play in the cat litter.
We don’t pee in the vegetable garden.
We don’t put unwanted food and toys between Mommy’s breasts.
OK, that last one was never a problem for me.
I no longer have a toddler or preschooler, but I remember well the days of stating rules that, to an adult, seemed painfully obvious.
In our house, we don’t squeeze toothpaste inside our expensive talking doll’s mouth.
We don’t climb onto strangers’ laps at the mall.
We don’t cut our sister’s hair and hide it under the entertainment center.
We don’t hide a snake in our pocket and pull it out during choir practice at church.
And we never hang our bare bottom over the porch railing and poop in the bushes.
Contact Emily Ford at