Elizabeth Willis Barrett
The other day I gave a suggestion to one of my sons-in-law as he was wiping up a kid’s spill. I wasn’t trying to be bossy, but maybe it came out that way. We don’t always see our own faults as well as we see the faults of others. You know, the “mote and the beam.” (Luke 6:42)
His exasperated response was, “Liz, why don’t you just write up a list of Liz’s Laws, so we’ll know what you want.
Whoa! What a proposal! What an opportunity! Why hadn’t I thought of it myself and a long time ago?
So here it is——-Liz’s Laws. The listings are in random order and not prioritized. They are not meant to be pointed at anyone in particular. They apply to everyone generally. This list is not intended to be all inclusive because I’m sure I’ve forgotten some very major points and I leave myself room to add an addendum at any time.
1. If you are going to change a diaper, especially on the new carpet in the family room, please put a towel under the baby.
2. If the diaper is a very smelly one as many are, please change him on a towel on the washer in the laundry room. That way the smell doesn’t have to linger forever where everyone’s noses are. But to be truthful, I am so impressed with the men in our family who are willing to be real fathers and change their delightful children, that if this law is overlooked once in a while, I will avert my eyes and nose.
3. Please do not put cups or glasses or anything containing liquid on a wood surface. The container will often sweat and leave an unredeemable ring on the wood. That is what coasters are for–to place those cups on. Unfortunately, I don’t have any coasters, but you can make do with a magazine or a piece of mail that is sitting around or………. Never mind–I’ll buy some coasters, if you’ll promise to use them.
4. Don’t wipe up the floor with a dishtowel. I know it’s hard to tell the dishtowels from the rags, sometimes, since I use old dishtowels as rags. But if a cloth is just sitting on the counter it most likely is a dishtowel. The rags are above the dryer in the laundry room which is in proximity to the kitchen. And I would rather you use those rags instead of paper towels, too, since they are washable and I don’t have to go out and replace them.
5. Please don’t scrunch up the couch show pillows and put your head–however clean–on them. All heads are oily and the scrunch won’t recover if the pillows are used in this manner too often. These pillows are not replaceable until I buy new couches that come with new pillows. That will not happen for years. There are many old pillows in the cupboards in my bathroom and I will be happy to get you one or two upon request.
6. Please put down the toilet seats–both lids. This is good Feng Shui. Also, probably next to impossible.
7. Don’t put wet towels on beds or hang them over furniture. They will get everything they touch wet.
8. If you’re going to wipe off the wood table, which is very much appreciated, by the way, please then wipe it down with a dry cloth.
9. Do not eat straight out of a pan or bowl that others will be serving themselves from. I haven’t seen this happen in our family, but it doesn’t hurt to list it just in case someone is tempted to do so.
10. I know we all wipe our hands on the hanging around dishtowel. It would be better to use paper towels for that purpose but sometimes the dishtowel is more convenient although much less sanitary. But do you have to wipe your face with it? Come on! (And if you are being very good and using paper towels to dry your hands, it only takes one, not five!)
(Oh, oh, I’m feeling myself get a little too paranoid and anxious about these laws. Maybe I shouldn’t have started. But there’s more!)
11. Do not let the kids eat on the carpet or couches.
12. Do not let the kids touch the pianos, computers, Ipads, or phones.
13. When wiping off a counter, don’t let the dishcloth drip across the floor.
14. If kids are going to drink pop, don’t leave 1/2 drunk cans all over.
15. If you know that your child just might wet the bed, please protect the beds. I didn’t obey this rule when I was in your position, so I probably don’t have the right to impose this law, but it would save a lot of grief.
16. When dishing up your kids food, don’t give them more than you know they can eat. My rule is eat a little, then eat a little, then eat a little. Wasting food doesn’t go over very well at my house. See my essay Waste Not Want Not.
17. Don’t wash kids off with a dishcloth. Yuck. Poor kid! I have lots of clean cloths that would be more appropriate to use. See #4.
18. Before laying a sleeping child on the couch, put down a quilt first. Who doesn’t slobber when they sleep?
So there you have it–Liz’s Laws. In reading back over them, I see that many have something to do with moisture. Interesting.
Mostly, however, I realize that they sound very petty and unimportant when what really matters is that you come. My family is everything to me–all 28 members. My joy is full when my home is full of you!