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**:
- Hitting your brother.
- Pinching your brother.
- Kicking your brother.
- Nudging your brother.
- Talking about hitting/pinching/kicking/nudging your brother.
- Pretending you’re going to hit/pinch/kick/nudge your brother.
- Saying “nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah” loudly over whatever your brother is trying to say every time he attempts to talk.
- Repeating everything your brother says—in a voice that makes him want to hit/pinch/kick/nudge you.
- 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.
- Touching your feet to your brother’s feet after you tells you not to.
- Pretending to touch your feet to your brother’s feet.
- Touching any part of your brother without his explicit permission.
- Grabbing the marker your brother was reaching for.
- Grabbing the LEGOs with which your brother is building.
- Grabbing anything that your brother appears to be playing with or eating or touching.
- Comparing the size of your cookie to his cookie.
- Comparing the size of your anything to his anything.
- Taking all of the wiffle balls.
- Hitting all of the wiffle balls into the compost pile.
- Imposing compost-y wiffle balls onto your brother who doesn’t want them.
- Forcing compost-covered anything onto your brother at any time.
- Dropping a spider on your brother’s leg.
- Dangling a spider over your brother’s leg.
- 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