Three kids under the age of 5 I had bested me, yet again, and I was trying to get Sharpie marker off the couch, the wood furniture and the kids. Quick backstory . . . I was in the bathroom for two minutes, which was all it took for my living room to become a coloring book. I was done and I cried out in desperation, “There has got to be a better way. Please Lord, teach me what I need to do. I am at the end of me and I need You.”

And that night, after my somewhat de-Sharpified kids went to sleep (it takes a few days to fully come off of human faces, apparently), I began to write. And that is how the Moms On Call Toddler Book was born.

Here is an excerpt from the book:

Often in our households, we have so many rules that the toddler cannot remember and categorize them all.

  • Don’t touch the stove.
  • Don’t disturb anyone when they are on the phone.
  • Don’t run into the road.
  • Don’t throw your toys.
  • Don’t pee in the Home Depot parking lot.
  • (And just for parents of boys like ours) Don’t hit your own self in your own head with your own foot! (Long car ride—enough said.)

There are just too many rules. We can keep track, but they cannot. They are just trying to sort out a few colors and put together a sentence! So, we want to narrow the list to three rules that they can understand and those are:

  • Obey daddy and mommy.
  • Do not hurt yourself.
  • Do not hurt others.

This is simple and all of the other rules can fit into one of these categories. The time that we place this in the heart of our child is right before bed or what we like to call “between awake and asleep.”

We like to say it like this:

“We have three rules in this house and they are: Obey daddy and mommy, do not hurt yourself and do not hurt others because we are Walkers and Walkers are good to people.”

Insert your own name into that scenario and choose a character trait that defines your family. Go over these rules each night, right before bed. And this will help those behaviors that may seem permanent, gradually disappear, just like that Sharpie marker did all those years ago.