“Mommmeeeee……” The almost ten-year old screamed as she darted across the living room, while trying to throw random things at a fleeing five-year old brat of a boy. Nothing exceptional in this scene, except that the daughter was still in the damp towel after her shower, and the son was brandishing her pajamas like a victory shield, dragging it through the floor while gleefully running around the house.
Daughter had started showering on her own a couple of years ago, and even managed the shampooing ritual on her own. All she needed was a little supervision from Mom on the rinsing of the conditioner. She had also started to gradually develop her sense of privacy, the attached bathroom to her bedroom provided the requisite privacy even without locking the bathroom door (the kids are still not allowed to lock bathroom doors). But the five-year-old has all the social etiquette of the emperor of ‘The Emperor’s Clothes’ fame. That is, he needs elaborate convincing to keep his clothes on.
As is the case with all parents with different sex kids, there are lessons to be taught on personal space, and with the whole screaming happening in the towel, I realized it was time to start making some rules. (Parents with a son and a daughter would already have developed the skill of answering embarrassing questions about the new baby’s anatomy from inquisitive toddlers. :))
So, we (yes G is a partner in crime in all our ‘interventions’) sat the kiddos down, and explained some ground rules:
- While we believe completely in the ‘sharing is caring’ bit, towels are not meant to be shared. (With a special understanding glance, we look pointedly at the little one, as one of his favorite pastimes is using anyone but his own towel to clean various surfaces)
- No one opens a closed-door without knocking (the morning chaos is a time when many embarrassing moments have taught the kids why we were having this conversation in the first place :))
- We are in the process of identifying the kids beds…. Their inputs on what they want will be taken into consideration. (As of now, they sleep wherever they feel like – on their own large bed, or sometimes even with us. We’re hoping the new beds will help them sleep separately.
- While elder kiddo will change only in the privacy of her bedroom, for the little kiddo the world is his changing room. We emphasized the importance of changing only inside their room.
- While looking pointedly at the elder kiddo, we reminded the kids that sniffing at toothbrushes, towels, pillows and blankets to check if someone else has been using them is weird behavior.
- Ofcourse, each kid’s school bag, books and the likes are off-limits unless they ask for permission. (The elder one was visibly happy with this rule).
We are yet to see the impact of this talk, but I imagine we we’ve given them enough food for thought!!
Meena Bhatnagar is a mother of two, with a passion for the written word. She dabbles with fiction, a couple of them finding their way into published work, is an avid blogger, and works as a corporate trainer to pay for all the damages. She blogs on parenting, social issues and humorous incidents of her life and on hotel & restaurant reviews and corporate training.