Here's the thing: I guess I'm something of a degenerate.
Well, that's not true exactly, but I've never been one to drive myself crazy "following the rules" -- or drive anyone else crazy trying to make them "follow my rules." (Can you tell I was raised by hippies?)
I knew next to nothing about the world of time-outs and sticker charts and naughty chairs until I had babies of my own and they got old enough to start playing with other kids -- kids whose parents lived in that world.
And guess what I discovered? Those kids liked having playdates at my house a LOT.
Don't get me wrong -- it's not like there are NO rules for playdates at my house ...
More from The Stir: 9 Rules Moms Should Follow at the Playground
1. No burning the house down. Cause that's just unacceptable. I mean, come on.
2. No drawing blood. Everyone gets the occasional bump or bruise ... even a scratch here or there is par for the course. But as soon as the blood starts flowing, the fun is over.
3. If you're going to draw on the wall, use a washable marker, NOT a Sharpie. The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser isn't really magic, you know.
4. If you're going to jump on the furniture, the limit is 2 kids per bed/couch. Otherwise, say hello to your little concussion.
5. Watching TV is totally allowed. But if your mom has some kind of rule about screen time at your house, maybe don't mention that I let you watch a Dora the Explorer marathon.
6. Snacks are totally allowed. But if your mom has some kind of rule about no sugar at your house, maybe don't mention that I let you eat a couple of popsicles.
7. Yell and scream as loud as you want, but remember: I won't be able to hear you because those little things in my ears are blasting Led Zeppelin.
8. If you're going to smush play-dough into the carpet, try to use that old hunk of mixed-up colors that looks like a mound of poo, because nobody will miss it.
9. If you're not allowed to chew gum at your house and you chew gum at my house and it gets stuck in your hair, I'm telling your mother I have no idea how it got there.
10. You will be expected to help put all the toys away ... if you want to know where to find them the next time you come over for a playdate. Because frankly I am not going to spend all afternoon digging under the couch for missing Lego pieces. (Your arms are tinier anyway.)
What are your playdate "rules" of conduct?
Image via James Emery/Flickr