On the weekend I went shopping with my daughter for some clothes. At almost 12, she has definite tastes. It has been a long time since I dressed for fashion rather than comfort, but I thought I was doing pretty well at pointing out colours and styles that are “in” this season. But then I found myself furiously shaking my head “No” at a cropped denim jacket that would have barely skimmed a bikini top. “Jackets are for warmth and I’m not paying for half of one!” I said, and then quickly looked around for my father. Surely those were his words, not mine!
You see, as much as I like to think I’m pretty cool (Are kids still using that word? “Cool”?) I do tend towards the fuddy-duddy at times. Trouble is I can be a bit unpredictable with my preferences. For example I hate flat-brimmed caps, low hanging pants and “bling” on boys. But my son is one of only a few lads with long scruffy hair in a class of “short backs and sides”. I turn up my nose at designer wear and brand names but gladly fork out for Globe skate shoes if it means my kids will wear black leather shoes to school without a fight.
We eat dinner as a family almost every night, with the table set and the television off. At the end of the meal, if we are still sitting and chatting, the kids need to ask “May I be excused” before they leave. Terribly old-fashioned, and yet I don’t care if they eat breakfast while hanging upside down on the lounge watching cartoons. On school mornings. While still in their pyjamas.
We have a mobile phone ban in place until Year 7, but umpty-two computers, a PS3, multiple iPods and Nintendo DSs. I refuse to get pay TV but with the endless hours of television series and movies we have on DVD, I can’t see how it would possibly change our viewing habits. Yes to The Simpsons, no to Home and Away. Neighbours at a pinch, but only if I can watch too and laugh at it – and none of them during dinner of course! No chewing gum! No bubble gum! No stupid sour liquid confectionery in a squirty bottle. Coke? Occasionally as a treat. Chocolate? Hell yes! You can’t colour your hair until you are fifteen, but then you are allowed to dye it blue if you so desire. Lip gloss, sometimes. Lipstick NEVER!
So what do you think? Am I normal? What rules do you insist upon in your home? And which ones do you let slide?