You know, the thing that really rankled with you, that awoke your youthful sense of injustice. The thing that every one else on the planet had, or so it seemed. The reason you need therapy today.
I have been musing on this, every time I hear some utterly irrational diktat come out of my mouth at the moment (constantly). I mean, there's something gloriously arbitrary about being a parent, no? Suddenly, I'm called upon to Make the Rules. Er, who put me in charge? I don't do very well at this. I know it should be instinctive, but I seem to have an extremely hazy sense of what is, and is not acceptable. I am, remember, the person whose father had to teach me how to use a knife and fork properly when I was FIFTEEN because he said I ate like a pig. I still basically eat with my fingers and I can't sit properly at a table to save my life. Worse still, I faredodge, and sometimes steal teaspoons. Basically, I have no moral compass. Judge Judy would have had me compulsorily sterilised.
So the CFO makes the rules, and I forget them. "No toys in the kitchen!" shriek the children as I forgetfully wander in there with a Pokémon on my head. Or, suddenly, I will remember that we aren't supposed to eat pudding in front of the tv. "But we did it yesterday!" they wail. "I don't care" I say, conviction sagging with every word. We're not doing it tonight".
The responsibility sometimes terrifies me. It was easier when they were tiny and all I had to do was stop them from biting and grabbing and hitting each other over the head with things like a pair of tiny slapstick performers. Now, it's all about the grey areas. Should I stop Lashes sneaking toys to school in his bag? Should I police his Pokémon swaps to check he hasn't been cheating the other children? If one of them says the classroom assistant is moche (ugly), what do I say? They're not supposed to sneak into our bed either, but what could be more delightful than a small, warm, sheepish person coming to stick their fingers in my eyes at 6am? What am I supposed to do about the fact that the CFO is way stricter than me (BOTH his parents are French school teachers, enough said)? Do I have to enforce his rules even if I don't give a rat's arse about using knives and forks properly or putting shoes away? (I do know the answer to this one is yes, but I find it terribly hard)
Anyway, this is wandering off topic. My real question, survey indeed, is about those bizarre parental decrees. I have started compiling a list, and I want you to add your own. If there was a ridiculous justification proferred, all the better. I want to hear it. I've started with my immediate entourage, but I bet you people have some great ones too.
I remembered that Violet, like me and the Space Cadette, suffered under the parental ban on patent leather shoes. Patent leather! The thin end of the wedge. A mere hop, skip and a jump to teenage pregnancy. But I had forgotten, until Violet reminded me that her banned list also extended to lace up shoes (lace up shoes! this one just kills me, because really, what could be more sensible than lace up shoes?) and suitcases with wheels.
My banned list is fairly short (house of hippies, remember) and was basically limited to anything that reinforced the patriarchy. With some oddballs thrown in:
Hi top trainers. Especially black ones. Nope, this one eludes me completely, but god how I wanted them.
Pixie boots (hello? Essential in 1985??Social death not to have them? )
Lycra cycling shorts (and if you didn't have lycra cycling shorts under your games skirt, you were nothing, I tell you, nothing)
Robinson's Juice boxes with animal stickers on
Shaving my legs
The Space Cadette remembers a few of her own, though again, the house of hippy means they were minimal:
Chocolate advent calendarsCelebrating Father's Day
The I moved on to other people's:
Mars Bars (but not other chocolate bars)
Chewing and bubble gum (I kind of get this one because it really is a bitch to get out of everything)
Jeans (my Phlegmish room mate. Her mother said they were for farmers..)
Club biscuits ( "Penguin biscuits were the only socially acceptable form of chocolatey-biscuit-snack-in-wrapper")
'Fun' wellingtons ("if they weren't from Driffield Farm Shop, they weren't going near our feet" says my contributor)
Perms (my contributor is now thankful for her parents' ban. She's seen the pictures of Violet's perm years)
MBF was basically forbidden everything, but as he says, he was so mired in deference and busy doing his 8am swimming sessions and learning forty three musical instruments, he didn't even know the forbidden things existed.
Come on, I'm madly curious!
UPDATE: Also, I think I will apply the most ridiculous, arbitrary rule in the comments in my household, so dredge deep, these children need boundaries!