Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

House Rules


These are the rules of our home, according to Daisy (5):

1. Don’t pick up sweets off the pavement and put them in your mouth because someone might have spat it out instead of putting in a dustbin, and that is yucky.

2. Don’t go anywhere on your own.

3. Don’t cross the road without looking “left, right, left” first.

4. Don’t take sand out of the sandpit, except in a bucket.

5. Don’t lie.

6. Don’t play tricks on anyone. They might go away and never be seen again.

7. Don’t bury your beach toys in the sand. You might not be able to find them again.

8. Don’t hurt anyone’s feelings.

Quite a lot of rules we have, but on the whole, good ones. My favourites are #1 and #6. Daisy is into rules. The local Mamas call her “die Polizei” because she likes to police people on the playground, especially those much smaller than her. She can be very authoritarian.

It’s funny because of all our kids – all nine of them – she’s the one who flouts the rules the most frequently. Recent Daisy transgressions include sneaking out of bed after lights out and having an illicit nail-painting session with Mama’s nail varnish, then falling asleep before the varnish is dry and getting it in her hair and all over her face. She also took a little jewellery box of her treasures to kindergarten this week. When I checked it, I found nestled in among the spangly bracelets and necklaces a little gold ring belonging to me.

Sometimes I think she just wants to be me: the bossy, authoritarian wearer of pink varnish and great jewellery.


Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

19 thoughts on “House Rules

  1. Yay for Daisy! I just cannot even begin to comment… I just have a huge smile on my face! Princess Daisy is devine doll!

  2. That Daisy is sweet. I’m sure she wants to be exactly like you, fancy nails and all.

    We call my son Bossy Boots because he definitely likes things his way. He’s a bit of a sneak too, though I’m glad that he has some spunk and isn’t too obedient (I’m sure I’ll rue this comment sometime very soon!)

    He just started going to day care and regularly informs me of all the rules they must follow: wait in line before going outside to play, put on slippers when they come inside, etc. It’s cramping his style, apparently.

  3. I was a night wanderer myself as a child – I remember getting up once everyone was asleep and reading or playing or getting the dog up to stay with me. A good sleeper I have never been. Daisy sounds fabulous and I do bet she wants to be just like her mama!

  4. Funny girl! My eldest (6) is also prone to reeling off rules he has no intention of keeping – I’ll have to tell him the sweetie one – I think he’ll go for it.

  5. It seems to be true that rule-flouters are also the best rule-makers; by which I mean, they invent the best rules.

    [A friend’s variation on Rule #1 is, if the sweet has just this instant fallen on the ground, you can pick it up and eat it. But don’t tell Daisy.]

  6. You have to know the rules in order to flout them. And what better way to know them than to make them. Daisy sounds independent and creative and surprisingly like her mother, I would think 🙂

    My mother’s engagement ring went missing years ago. When we were all questioned, my youngest sister (who was about Daisy’s age at the time) admitted to having taken it to kindergarten for show and tell. It was never seen again.

  7. Tanya, you know that Daisy is actually a Princess. You know because you have one of your very own.

    Henitserk, Daisy definitely has a love/hate relationship with rules. She obey and flouts them as and when it suits her.

    Courtney, I think a quiet night-time house is probably quite an exciting place for a child. I’m glad you had your dog to keep you company.

    Hi Ali. Thanks for popping by. Try the sweetie rule on your boy and see if it works.

    Tai, I like the way Daisy engages with the rules. The other two have more or less just imbibed them, but she’s got an ongoing relationship with them. Yes, the five-second rule, that works for us too, within our own home. But on the pavement, all sweeties are streng verboten …

  8. Kerryn, exactly, making rules is the way to power, as far as the young lady is concerned. I love the story about your sister because she sounds JUST LIKE Daisy, but how about your mother? Was she enraged?

  9. Oh I hope dudelet doesn’t discover rules too soon- life would get very complicated! I love the nail varnish story – I can just picture that. And is it cause for concern that (warning: stereotype alert but I have lived there) German mothers call her Die Polizei? I still shudder at the trouble I got into for mixing up the recycling bags…

  10. Enraged is probably a fair summation. I remember lots of crying and frantic searching and a very quiet confession, followed by lot more crying and a stern lecture on not touching things that don’t belong to you. It is occasionally brought up at family gatherings, especially when youngest sister starts playing princess.

  11. That made me laugh so much! I like no. 6 too. It reveals we might not know how our actions affect others. And Daisy is the Polizei? I still need to digest that..

  12. I’m glad you don’t have “don’t swear” in the list. Kids love to swear, and so do I – it is therefore hard to insist that my kid does not do what I do. So we try and enforce the rule “don’t swear in front of guests – you never know how they will react”.

  13. Ahh but that’s why she knows how much people have to be policed – breaking rules is just so very tempting! This is incredibly sweet and really rather an intriguing view into a child’s perspectives. I’d love to know what my son’s rules are, but I have a sneaking feeling he won’t tell me. ‘Never give anything away to an adult’ is probably very high on the list.

  14. Hi Charlotte, this is a very cute list of rules.

    We had a label in our playgroup that we used to refer to the stage daisy is going through: “The Six-Year-Old Police”. Inevitably it would be a six-year-old who would run up to us to report a transgression by one of the other children. Daisy seems to be going through it a bit sooner though.

  15. Is Daisy the Carbonara lover? if so, she obviously shares other tendencies with my own darling daughter – now grown up and doing a PhD – who was Miss Bossy Boots as a child, and is STILL Ms Bossy Boots now. Where does it come from? after all I’m a mouse of a magistrate (wink).
    I love rule #1, and wish I’d thought of rule#4, it would have saved lots of clearing up, not to mention clogged up washing machine filter.

  16. U-Dad, yes, there is a chance that Daisy is becoming somewhat German. I think we need to flee fast to Latin America so that she can learn to chill out, go with the flow and be very, very unpunctual.

    Kerryn, I am sympathising with your mother here and not feeling overly sorry for your sister. I think frequent re-mentionings are in order just in case she has not repented enough.

    Yes, Emma, Daisy likes Ordnung a LOT, but only if she is arranging it. Ordnung from anyone else is a big imposition.

    Paddy, that’s a good rule. I must remember it and add the coda “… especially not in front of Grandma”.

    Litlove, she certainly knows how it feels to be on both sides of the law. She is intimately acquainted with that sensation. Try and find out what your boy’s rules are! It would be interesting to know a “big boy’s” perspective.

    Bindi, you have thrown new light on things! It’s not only that we are raising her in Germany, but also that she is approaching six. Will have to watch carefully and see if that changes one day when she turns seven. And now that you mention it, I do think all the PLayground Polizei are indeed six-year-olds.

    Ms Herschelian, Daisy did not like carbonara – she was suspicious of the cream I added. She believes that cream (maybe this is another rule) only belongs on sweet things. Cream with savoury things is verboten. I imagine that you are indeed very meek. One would have to be, being a magistrate.

  17. Oh Daisy sounds just like my Miss Z – same age I guess (but thank god we haven’t had a nail polish incident yet). I think that Miss Z is more German than Australian in her thinking – almost in defence of the fact that we live here and her daddy does NOT like to be punctual. I am going to ask her about ‘her rules’ today, that should be an interesting exercise. And I can remember the days of the sandpit with Ms “I am almost 20, mother” – there is something about german sandpits – strict heirachy, and my german was, in those days, too limited and I was too shy to counter balance.

  18. Daisy is my favorite. I’m allowed to have a favorite, because I’m not “the mom.” Of course, if I spent any time with the other two, they’d instantly be my favorites, too. That reminds me, I owe you a trip to come babysit, don’t I? I’m dying to meet your children (oh, and you, too, of course. But I’m sure you understand that all mothers disappear once they have children) before they all grow up.

  19. Oh, nail polish in the hair! I’m sure you weren’t laughing when you found her, the way we are laughing as we visualize the little transgressor.

    Another reason not to have nail polish in the house!

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