Monday, December 22, 2014

Top Ten: Random Rules on a Rainy Monday.

Lots in my head but with very little rhyme or reason to it. Tonight I'm thinking about some extremely unimportant and random rules in my life--some of which I've already defined and others of which I could use some input from smart people like you. Life needs rules, people. Rules, I say!

And so, I bring you:


Like to hear 'em? Here they go!

#10  The Rule on not hazing people you haven't talked to in a while

With the holiday season comes phone calls from folks you haven't spoken to in some time. And inevitably, at least one of the people you speak with will spend the first twelve minutes of the first phone call they've had with you for the last twelve months hazing you about how you haven't called, emailed, texted, visited--you name it. Here's what I have to say about that:

Cut. It. Out.

Sometimes it's right out in the open.  "You haven't called me. My feelings are hurt." That's mostly awkward and--dare I say it? Annoying. But most times it's super passive-aggressive which is exponentially more annoying.

Case in point:

"Hey there!"

"Whaaaaat? You answered the phone? I can't BELIEVE it. I thought you might have died or moved to outer space. I wondered if I even had a [niece, nephew, friend, cousin, neighbor] at this number any more!"

"Uhhh, yeah. . .okay. So how are you?"

"I'm okay. But it's a good thing I AM okay. If I wasn't doing good or was on my death bead YOU wouldn't have known. Ha ha!"

"Yeah. Okay."

What you're really saying in your head is: "Ha ha, hell."

Ugggh. Then there's the:

"So and so asked me about you and I told them that you don't fool with any of your old friends like me." 

My chin reflexively hits the "end call" button when this happens. Or drops my phone under my care seat.

So here's the rule: Just say "hi" and keep it moving. If someone has pissed you off enough to have you feeling some type of way when you call--then DON'T. Please. For the love of all that is pure, if you do call--just fight the urge to lament about not talking.  Not only is it unpleasant, it is never, ever welcomed. (Nor is it an effective way to get someone to call more. )

Cut. It. Out.

#9   The Rule on bathing your kids (or not bathing them.)

I need to know something. What is the rule on kids bathing? My kids have somehow come up with this very convoluted system that was not authorized by my husband or me. Essentially they have decided that in the winter, they shower or bathe every OTHER day. Zachary explains that it is because you don't sweat so much and your skin can get too dry. Isaiah doesn't even bother with an explanation.

They do have one caveat: If you had practice for a sport that night, you need a shower. But only if it is the kind of sport that makes you stinky. For example, a golf lesson gets you a pass. Now. Come summer, the rules are different. Showers every day--unless you didn't go outside.


I want to know what y'all are doing. Also I want to know if you just let your kids have at it in the shower or are you policing the scrub down situation? I am finding that my son Isaiah will use an entire bottle of shampoo on his afro but will neglect to wash his feet with soap. "They get clean from standing in the shower."

Uhhh okay.

#8  The Rule on certain Video Games

Okay. So there's this video game that my kids recently got turned onto called "Animal Jams." And by recently I mean in the last few days. It's on the National Geographic website which has to be safe, right? Well. I noticed that my kids--particularly my older one who isn't into things like Madden--seemed to be spending an AWFUL lot of time playing this game. Like, it took him away from Minecraft which absolutely is the equivalent of an act of God.

So yesterday Isaiah is asking me all these questions like, "What does BRB mean?" or "Mom! Does IKR mean 'I know, right?'"

So I'm all like, "Dude. Who are you talking to?" And it turns out that this is like one of these multiplayer on line games where you're basically hanging out and chatting with people--but as animal avatars. I immediately felt uncomfortable with that. I started doing my homework and discovered that, duh, all kinds of shadiness goes down on this game the longer your kids play it. And so. I basically shut  it on down and made it a "no."

Have you guys made any rules on certain video games? Which ones? If you have or haven't how do you control this sort of thing?

#7  The Rule on notifying people when you're in their town

This is another holiday thing. People come to towns and get busted off of social media.

"Hey! You in the ATL? WTH???"

And, of course, by the time the person gets the message they're back home. Or worse still in town but feeling guilty.

I think the rule is that it's cool to get a phone call but there shouldn't be pressure to go over the river and through the woods to see you. Atlanta is humongous. Someone might be in, like, Acworth or Peachtree City--both of which are nearly 45 minutes to an hour out of Atlanta proper. I'm the friend that is cool with the phone call and delighted if it leads to us seeing one another. But I do my best not to haze folks.

See #10.

What do y'all think about this? What's the rule? Am I tripping? People over 40 know a lot of people, man. It's hard sometimes. Especially in a town like Atlanta.

#6  The Rule on Group Texting

Let the record show: I am NOT against the group text. But. I am not a fan of being group texted along with seventy five people that I don't know. Especially when seventy four of them respond and they come as random individual texts to me alone that make no sense.

"Yeah girl! I feel you!"  from 678-555-1212

And I'm like, "Uhhhh, okay."

Furthermore, there needs to be a rule on who can be on texts together. Like, I made the mistake of sending a text to four women friends--three of whom are my sorority sisters that all know one another and the other my best friend who is not a member of our sorority nor is she familiar with the other three. Two months later, a text comes to that same thread that assumed it was all Tuskegee Deltas.


Okay. So the rule is this:  Try to limit people who don't know each other being on the same threads. More than like seven people feels very uncozy, man. Reply ONLY to who sent it--especially if five of the numbers aren't listed as names in your phone. Those are my immediate rules.

Some folks don't want to be group texted at all. I wouldn't go that far. But what do you think? What's your rule on group texts?

#5  The Rule on Smart Phone Wars

I feel like the people I know with Galaxy phones (read: THE BHE) love to argue with you about how it is better than the Apple iPhone. While I do agree that the camera on the Galaxy is BOSS, it still has one major flaw: It isn't an Apple.

I admit. I've gulped down the Apple Kool Aid. But can we all just agree to have the anti-Apple people stop busting us over the head with the reasons why they jumped ship? Or never boarded ship?

I'm just saying.

#4  The Rule on the "Read" Stamp on the iPhone

Speaking of the iPhone.

Hey. Did y'all know that the default setting on the Apple iPhone for text messaging is to include this thing at the end of your text messages that indicates that you've seen it and read it? So like, if you're busy and you see it but you don't immediately respond, you look like you're ignoring the text. And if you are ignoring the text, then the person knows it.

Uhhh yeah.

So unless you are perfect with your rapid response situation with texts, I'd recommend going in your settings and shutting that off. Unless you want to be in a #10 conversation all over again.

*You're welcome*

#3  The Rule on Santa's Representatives

My kids are somewhere in between believing in Santa and not believing in Santa. I think the first thing to go, though, is the level of respect they offer to the Santa representatives found in malls, special events and gatherings. For lack of any better way of saying it, my children have pretty much decided that the "fake Santas" can kick rocks.

Maaaan, please.

We were at our annual "Breakfast with Santa Claus" event with our Atlanta Chapter of Jack and Jill earlier this month. In walks Brother Santa in his suit and a legit white beard growing out of his face. The kids were dressed all super cute in sweaters and "holiday attire." That line formed quick for the photo ops and I was hoping and praying that the Manning boys would do their mom a solid just this one time.


"Seriously, mom?"

That's all Isaiah said when I asked if he'd go take a photo. That is, right before he began breaking down how confusing it is for children to have these fake Santas with real beards, fake beards, brown skin, white skin, real bellies, and pillow bellies. "I bet he doesn't look anything like the old fashioned Santa in that old outfit."   At which point I began imagining Santa in a red and white Adidas warmup suit with six pack abs.

Next I tried the Z man who said, "Yeah, I'm good."

I got all excited like, "Really? You'll do it? You're good!? Yay!!"

Zack squinted his eyes and cocked his head sideways while eating a chocolate covered fruit on a stick. "Uhhhh. . . . no, mom. I meant I'm good on the whole fake Santa thing. We don't believe in the fake Santa Clauses."

The people behind him were on the way to see fake Santa.


You know what? I don't think my kids have ever shown love to the Santa reps. Like ever. What do you guys do with this? What's the rule on fake Santas. I don't fight to keep that dream alive at all. And I'm losing steam on the other Santa, too.

I'm just saying.

#2  The Rule on Christmas Trees and Decorations

Are you guys #teamrealtree or #teamfaketree?

When I lived in Shaker Heights, Ohio, real trees were against the law because they were a fire hazard. Not even kidding.  For the last two or three years, I've had a real tree and have loved it.


Who buys the real swags and wreathes? I always admire them but have never gone out to get one. I always think it's something super rich and hoity, toity people do. But I'm probably dead wrong on that.

But that isn't the real question: The real question is--what is the rule on Christmas decorations coming down? I always thought before the New Year. But what do you guys think? And also what's the rule on the inflatable holiday items? Inflated all day or dead and flat during the day? I think I might be #teaminflatedallday.

Just curious. The deflated Santas and Frostys creep me out.

#1   The Rule on School Work over the break

When kids are on holiday and summer breaks, how much school related stuff should be required of them? Like, should they be reading an hour per day and limiting video games? Or should they just be able to do whatever the hell they want to do? I'm somewhere in the middle on this. I think the BHE is team #whateverthehellyouwanttodo.

I need somebody to weigh in. Especially people with grown kids that turned out alright. Also tell me whether or not I'm a horrible parent for letting my kids stay up until 10:30 during the break. (They're up right now.) I need a reality check, for real.

Bonus one:

I'm also still debating the rule on the "bold lip." Does a bold lip mean minimal accessories and other makeup? Or what? Or do you just do whatever makes you feel fierce? Hmmmm. And also what's the rule on how many wears a formal can get in the same city? This red dress should be retired and hung up in Philips Arena based upon number of wears.

But it is a great dress. That I can still fit. So will probably wear it again no matter what y'all say. LOL.

Looking forward to your insights.

Happy Monday.


  1. #9 I'm with the Manning boys on bathing, winter does dry out skin and for my Camille, it can get rough. Tucker has reached the daily shower age. I do not monitor scrubbing, I do monitor teeth brushing.
    #8 Absolutely no multiplayer games, even at 12, no for the T-man.
    #3 My kids also like Team Manning have never been big on fake Santa, not scared (I do have a few pictures), but have never asked to go talk to Santa. The real Santa, they are still keeping up with the believing, so K and I continue as well.
    #1 I don't think bold lip and accessorizing are mutually exclusive, a lot depends on how well she (or he) puts together their look. I have thin lips, so I look ridiculous with a bold lip, so lots of accessories for me, "the only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize"-Steel Magnolias

    1. I think Isaiah might be reaching daily shower age. His right armpit gets offensive often. It helps me to hear that you don't allow multiplayer games. Why didn't we have this conversation before? Ugggh! Ability to accessorize: YES.

  2. Let's see...

    #9 - I was fine with my child showering every other day until the day she ran by me smelling like all of the wild onions. Let your nose be your guide!

    #8 - ALL she plays right now us Minecraft. But I don't let her chat online, so nope on Animal Jams, et al.

    #4 - really?!? Thanks for the heads up!

    #3 - LOL! She's told me that she doesn't believe in the Santa reps - but she hedges her bets and talks to them anyway.

    #2 - team real tree

    #1 - team do what you like. I'm not doing anything related to school or work when I'm on holiday and she gets that same pass. Summers are a different story.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours. Stay blessed!

    1. Hey Nerd Girl--hope you're doing well. Been thinking about you. Good advice to let my nose be the guide. . . .and Minecraft without others is a good idea. .. . I like that your daughter hedges her bets--Ha! I think Isaiah totally doesn't believe but hedges bets because keeping the dream real is good for the bounty. LOL. Be blessed and peaceful.

  3. Team Real Tree. Although my "BHE" bought a fake one this year since we're spending the break in Cali.

    I'm trying to keep up with a little school work each day, but mine are 4 & 6. The reading is easy, since my parents love to read to them and it is party of the bed time routine. I'm struggling with bedtime. The time change is messing with them, but there is no way we can keep up with a 7:30 bedtime.

    Merry Christmas!

    1. 7:30 bedime? *thump* Girl, that was me just passing out from realizing I'm a horrible parent who is depriving her children of sleep. LOL

  4. Animal Jam: you can change the settings so that your kid can only use really generic chat terms like "BRB" and other people can only use those with them; no actual unrestricted chatting if you set the controls. It still makes me feel a bit weird but not as weird as unrestricted chatting would.

    That is a HOT dress. Don't get rid of it! As for the bold lip: I say you should do what you like.

    1. Hey Bluegal! I got a headache trying to figure out Animal Jam and not be creeped out so I shut the whole thing down. It took a couple of days but Isaiah is over it. I'll let you know how it goes.

      Love my red dress. Thanks for the green light and the insight on the bold lip. :)

  5. Input on just two of these: #9 - e.o. day is fine in winter unless they start to smell funny; #1 - do what ever the hell they want including stay up late. Mine turned out just fine and she most definitely stayed up very late on holiday breaks playing video games with her dad. Now she is 20 and that is a huge part of what she looks forward to doing when she's home from college.

    1. Thank goodness for these reports of normalcy. Jill, I'm in constant prayer hoping my kids keep all the good stuff I teach them and forget all the bad stuff. LOL

  6. Merry Christmas to your beautiful family! Much love.

  7. We're on board for the every other day winter bathing too. Have yet to Animal Jam. (Bob is now glued to FIFA15.) Same same on the emissaries of Santa. TeamRealTree and RealWreath. (I'm pretty sure the real swags are for the shmancy-spendy people.) WIshing you all a beautiful holiday!!! xoxox

    1. Shwanky, Lisa! I love it. Zachary loves FIFA, too. But Madden is his muse.

  8. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    #10 - I just got hazed yesterday. I cringed every time some calls and it has been awhile. I actually initiated the call a couple of days ago. My hazing, "I can't believe you called! I am even more surprised that you answered when I called back." I am so adopting the no hazing rule.

    #9, you have boys. If they are not smelling, then they are good.

    #8 - No online gaming or violent games were the only rules when my son was younger.

    #7 - I don't trip when someone comes to town. The city is too big and too many people already on the list. If there is a group outing somewhere, give an invite and keep it moving. There are bigger things to worry about than not seeing someone on their short vacation.

    #6 - I am torn about group texting. I am all for it to get out information to multiple people. However, I would love for others to respond to only that person who sent it if all parties don't know each other.

    #5 - I need Iphone people to leave me alone. I love my Android! (smile)

    #3 - Maybe its a boy thing. My son never ever asked to go see Santa, take a picture, etc. I would say you are doing a great job by just following their leads.

    #2 I am from Cleveland Heights. I didn't know Shaker had that rule. I am allergic to trees. So we are TeamArtificial. I love the look and smell of real trees until I start sneezing.

    #1 - The school teacher in me says do a little over the break. Sneak it in some kind of way while doing other things. For instance, we were out shopping my nephew started asking my kindergarten nephew simple addition facts and taught him. Both had a great time and it didn't feel like work to them. It was passing the time while Nana shopped.

    For the record, my son did nothing but sleep and played video games on most breaks unless his school assigned work. He turned out fine. He is an 18 year old sophomore in college.

    1. GEB, You have NO idea how excited I was to see this deliciously detailed comment on my ridiculous post! LOVE it. I didn't know you were from Cleveland Heights! You know the BHE went to Heights High! :)

  9. Replies
    1. The BHE came out in '89 and if you let him tell it he was that dude when it came to football. Ha ha.

  10. I am glad you loved it. After I looked at my comment, I felt like I blogged...LOL!

  11. His face looks familiar, but I was a transfer student and didn't want to be there. So I did very little with Heights people outside of the classroom. HA!

    I am sure we know some of the same people though. There are many Cleveland people here. You have a Heights man. They turned out to be great men :)

  12. Agreed on all, but comments on 9, 7, 3, 1 and the Bonus. And I did raise two boys, now 29 and 27.
    9: ok but only if you truly are not stinky, as verified by at least one parent. Neither your opinion nor your brother's counts.
    7: agreed.
    3: I'm okay with no fake Santas *but* you must show respect for the spirit of Christmas that Santa shows, and present politely, especially since it is not fair to give away the Santa thing to others who may totally believe.
    1: minimum of homework-ish stuff but reading time daily. And major agreed on reasonable bed time, or everyone gets cranky and stupid. Except maybe on the night Poopdeck and Auntie arrive, or the night before they leave.
    Bonus: whatever is fierce for you, and for rocking the special event dress as long as the dress holds up. It's not like you get to use it often.
    Thank you for great reading and mom chat and thought-provoking reading all year. Happy New Year!


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