Know the rules so you can break the rules.
This is how I parent. Heck, this is how I live.
I know, you were expecting something brilliant weren't you? You wanted something from a parenting book.... maybe some Dr. Sears or the Baby Whisperer. Sorry. Not here.
In this house every rule has a collary.
Rule: Movie night is Friday night. We watch a kid dvd between 6:30-8:00. Popcorn. Eating dinner in the living room with tv trays. The whole bit. This cuts down on the "Can I watch a movie?" whining during the week. Is it Friday? No. Then you can't watch a movie. In theory this gives us something to look forward to and something to bargain with.... what? Go ahead. Tell me you never bargain with the under 36 inch set. I'll call you a liar to your face.... The key to good bargaining is follow up. A gentle reminder to behave yourself or you won't get a movie will buy me an extra 15 minutes in the grocery store.... enough time to call home and have Hot Stuff read me my list.... my perfectly organized list that is on the fridge where I forgot it. (Let me add... my perfectly organized list to make my perfectly planned and executed and nutritious meals... because.... I AM perfect. Remember that when you stop by and I'm wearing my pj's at 3:00 on Saturday afternoon, couch cushions everywhere, music blaring and my daughter is jumping off the couch with a pacifier (read: mouth guard) while my son races the little boy in the oven... somehow they always end in a tie.) Daycare time outs for serious infractions (like tackling..... not the exuberant tackle but the agressive tackle) result in the loss of movie night. The End. Hey kid, it sucks for me too. I enjoy your excitement over picking a movie. I love watching Meet the Robinson's. I like the Friday night down time to relax into a glass of wine and contemplate the weekend.
Collary: Sick kids watch dvds. When mommy has work deadlines kids watch dvds. Kids can make special dates with Nana to watch dvds. When mommy & daddy have friends over to watch movies all the kids get to watch old vhs tapes... IN THE MAMA BEDROOM. Who-hoo. Now that, my friends, is a SPECIAL TREAT.
Other house rules that are made to be broken:
No eating dinner in front of the tv. Unless it is movie night. Or Saturday morning cartoons and waffles.
Put away what you are playing with before you get out more toys. Unless.... no wait, no unless. Just do this. Or you will make mama crazy and she will have to personally put in a call to The Toy Fairy to come clear out your toys because you obviously don't want these ones anymore if you don't respect them enough to put them away. The Toy Fairy... he is a ruthless, ruthless little man with wings and glitter dust.
Cover your ding-ding in the living room...it is just polite. But mom... it's called a penis. (We actually HAVe this conversation on a regular basis...) Ok, after bath streaking to stand in front of the stove is acceptable.
No standing on the counters. (Anyone else have a monkey for a child? I'm talking about the 18-month-old here..... she scales all cabinets and counters..... right in front of my eyes!)
Use soap. No exceptions.
See... these are the rules. I'll try to think of more. Think you could/would live at my house?