I wasn't allowed to use coloring books as a kid; my Mom forbade them. I used to DIE for coloring books, obviously. At home, I'd take the covers of Disney videos and TRACE THEM IN PEN, and then staple them together to make my own coloring books. It was piteous, you guys. When I would have playdates at other people's houses, my friends would be all, "let's watch You Can't Do That on Television! Let's make up a dance! Let's go sneak some candy while my au pair is having Quiet Time with my dad!" (HAND TO GOD, that last one happened, for real.) And I would quietly yet urgently inquire as to the existence of coloring books in their household, and to the extent present, their whereabouts.
And then eat the candy.
(I mean, come on.)
My friends would inevitably graciously supply coloring books, and we'd each intently focus on staying in the lines on our respective pages. Blissfully, I'd sit there, sugar dots in one hand, Burnt Orange crayon in the other, as I colored Ariel's hair just so, and plotted the careful shading I would employ on her fish scale...bottom...thing. (Zoological term.)
It's now 20-ish years later, and here I sit with my own kids, passing them the coloring books that their grandmother -- MY MOTHER -- got for them.
Parenting is so weird.
My mom is an artist, and her goal was to have us be creative. She felt the coloring books stifled creativity (oh, Mom!), and that attempting to control that one little thing would help us along that path. As a parent now, even though I totally joke about the whole thing with her -- I kind of get it. I get having a specific aim for your kids, and wanting (even the illusion of) control; of some of it, any of it. And in certain ways, I actually think I'm stricter than my own parents were, overall, but sitting here, I'm hard-pressed to identify any one Parent Thing of mine that's, you know, No Coloring Books-level in its specificity of focus and goal. I have rules, obviously, and (admittedly generic) hopes for the quality of my kids' lives and how they conduct themselves, but...well, they're just that. I...hmm. Maybe I need a Comically Stringent Parent Rule of my own. Since I'm Crazy Rambling Reminiscing Lady at this point, did your parents have any comically stringent rules? Do you have any of your own? Let's talk about YOU now. I'll be over here, getting the playful shadows on Dora's face just right.