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Yes, Sweet Child O’ Mine, I understand that rules are most effective when they’re objective and specific. Yes, I now realize that “Be Nice To Your Brother*” does not fit either of those criteria. And since, my dear, you seem to enjoy playing in the gray space that I consider to be at odds with the simple request for the brotherly kindness, I will happily spell out the fine print.

Being nice to your brother does not include (but is not limited to not including) the following**:

  1. Hitting your brother.
  2. Pinching your brother.
  3. Kicking your brother.
  4. Nudging your brother.
  5. Talking about hitting/pinching/kicking/nudging your brother.
  6. Pretending you’re going to hit/pinch/kick/nudge your brother.
  7. Saying “nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah” loudly over whatever your brother is trying to say every time he attempts to talk.
  8. Repeating everything your brother says—in a voice that makes him want to hit/pinch/kick/nudge you.
  9. Racing past your brother and shoving him out of the way so you can sit in front of the heating vent that just turned on.
  10. Touching your feet to your brother’s feet after you tells you not to.
  11. Pretending to touch your feet to your brother’s feet.
  12. Touching any part of your brother without his explicit permission.
  13. Grabbing the marker your brother was reaching for.
  14. Grabbing the LEGOs with which your brother is building.
  15. Grabbing anything that your brother appears to be playing with or eating or touching.
  16. Comparing the size of your cookie to his cookie.
  17. Comparing the size of your anything to his anything.
  18. Taking all of the wiffle balls.
  19. Hitting all of the wiffle balls into the compost pile.
  20. Imposing compost-y wiffle balls onto your brother who doesn’t want them.
  21. Forcing compost-covered anything onto your brother at any time.
  22. Dropping a spider on your brother’s leg.
  23. Dangling a spider over your brother’s leg.
  24. Threatening to find a leech to stick on your brother’s leg so that it will suck out all of his blood.

* Or sister/sisterly. This is obviously a hypothetical list, applicable to any child with a sibling.

**Last updated: 6/3/2015

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