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.