Sarah Simpson Column: What happens when kids make the rules

Sarah Simpson Column: What happens when kids make the rules

Growing up, my family spent many a summer cruising the Gulf and San Juan Islands on our sailboat. As a result, we spent many of our formative summers without friends, but with each other in tight quarters. We fished for ‘shiners’ (perch), we bombed around in the dingy, which with each passing year, got a little more horsepower, to the point where when we were young teens, we could actually water-ski behind it. We met other sea-faring kids and I even got a boyfriend out of the deal for a while there.

Anyway, the point was it was just my sister and I for long periods of time and we either had to get along or play alone.

We fought. I don’t remember what we fought about. Likely things like “she’s touching me!” “No I’m not, I’m almost touching her, that doesn’t count!” and having the no-nonsense parents we had, we were always told to sort it out ourselves. And somehow we always did.

I don’t know how it came about, and I suppose by all accounts it doesn’t matter — except that I’m telling you about it and I’d like to be accurate — but we eventually came up with a four-word solution to every one of our fights.

“It was your idea!”

That was it. The be-all-end-all comment that was the ultimate decision-maker.

We somehow figured out that our fighting would get to a point where one of us would shout out: “It was your idea!”

This would usually come about when, for example, we both wanted to jump off the bow and neither wanted to go first and we argued until one eventually belted out: “It was your idea so you have to go first!”

The fight would continue as long as nobody said those four words. But, if you broke, and declared it was your sister’s idea, you lost. You’d be the first jumper. It was the rule of law and we both abided by that rule…even more so than the rules set by our parents.

Don’t ask me why it worked so well. We were kids.

I’m most certain should my sister and I fight as adults, this rule would still apply, but I believe in that so much that I’m not going to risk testing it.

As I watch my children interact during this period of isolation, I am reminded a lot of the relationship I built with my sister during those summers on the boat. My kids have only got each other right now and if they fight, they have to play alone, but still in a confined space together, which can be miserable if you’re not getting along. As such, devising your own rules of order can really help keep things copacetic.

Nothing rang true more than when we were in the garage the other day playing a made up game. We’ve taken to parking in the driveway and playing in the garage lately. I’d cleared space so I could work out but now it’s like out indoor-outdoor playroom.

I’d finished a giant can of coffee the other day and had given it to the kids because what kid wouldn’t like a giant tin can to play with? Before I knew it, they’d made up a game with a fuzzy tennis ball, some Velcro catchers they could hold in one hand, and their new tin can. Their game: play catch with the tennis ball Velcro game but whenever somebody dropped it (which was pretty much every throw) a challenge must be completed.

The first challenge was a dance-off. Whoever won that (as decided by my daughter, the defacto judge for some reason) got the ball to start the next throwing game.

They upped the ante for challenge number two. They put the ball on top of the overturned coffee can and whoever raced to it and grabbed it first won the next throw.

It peaked when they devised a challenge to scoop up the ball with a beach shovel and shovel it over to the other person who had to successfully catch it. That person had to toss it back the same way without dropping it before they could continue on.

Eventually their challenges got too confusing to play and they started to fight over the rules that they’d both created and both knew were fluid.

It started getting heated and tears were imminent.

One of them, I forget which, yelled “But it was my idea!”

I shut the game down right then and there.

I knew it was getting too serious.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

ColumnistComedy and Humour

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Pxhere)
Mill Bay nurse suspended after using Tensor bandage to trap long-term care patient in room

Susan Malloch voluntarily agreed to a three-day suspension of her certificate of registration

Cullen Ferguson has left the Cowichan Valley Capitals to play with the Aberdeen Wings of the NAHL. (Citizen file)
Cowichan Capitals say goodbye to Ferguson and Richter

The Caps traded another Union College commit away last week

Handwashing is one of the important COVID-19 precautions. (File photo)
Editorial: Time to knuckle down on COVID precautions

It would be foolish to think that we have not had any COVID cases in Cowichan until now

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

The top part of the fossil burrow, seen from the side, with feathery lines from the disturbance of the soil – thought to be caused by the worm pulling prey into the burrow. (Paleoenvironntal Sediment Laboratory/National Taiwan University)
PHOTOS: SFU researchers find evidence of ‘giant’ predatory worms on ocean floor

Fossils found the prove the existence of an ancient Taiwanese worm as long as two metres

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

RCMP officers provide policing for 63 B.C. municipalities under a provincial formula based on population. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. communities warned of upcoming RCMP unionization costs

Starting salaries for city police officers are 30% higher

Abbotsford’s Skully White (left), who donated his kidney in December, has started a campaign to find other recipients and donors. The first candidate is retired police officer Gavin Quon. White owns and operates a hotdog stand, Lullys Food Experience, out of the Abbotsford Canadian Tire parking lot. (Facebook photo)
After donating his kidney, Abbotsford hotdog king starts donor campaign

Skully White donated his kidney to customer Tim Hiscock in December

Toronto-based director Michelle Latimer was recently scrutinized after years of claiming she was of Algonquin and Metis descent. (CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)
Haida activist calls for hefty fines, jail time against those who claim to be Indigenous

Filmmaker Tamara Bell proposing the Indigenous Identity Act – to dissuade ‘Indigenous identity theft’

(File)
Man allegedly bites Vancouver cop during arrest for outstanding warrant

The officer was treated in hospital for the bite wounds

(File Photo)
Interior Health says COVID positivity rates in Fernie area actually 10-12%

IH say the rates are not as high as previously claimed by the region’s top doctor

Most Read