Sir Joey Owl perched on the kitchen windowsill of Princess Rosie's palace in Rosieland. Something big was going on, and he quietly and listened closely.
King Daddy and Queen Mommy sat at the kitchen table in the palace, where all the official Royal Meetings take place.
King Daddy looked at his beautiful daughter, Princess Rosie with much love and pride, and smiled.
"Recently," he started to say, "there has been some question about the Princess Rosie Rules, and Queen Mommy and I would like to make you understand them better. There aren't very many of them, but you seem to have questions about them, right?"
Princess Rosie tilted her head, looking at her daddy, and then nodded. "Sometimes. Sometimes they don't seem fair."
"Very well," King Daddy said softly. Queen Mommy and I make rules for you to follow until you're old enough, and more importantly, wise enough to make rules for yourself. We are trying to teach you right from wrong, and to keep you safe. We're talking about them with you because we want to make you understand how important our rules are."
King Daddy looked over at Queen Mommy who had a sheet of paper in front of her on the table, and he nodded at her. "Your turn, Queen Mommy."
Queen Mommy said, "The first rule, you and I already discussed the other day: 1. Treat others the way you would like to be treated."
King Daddy explained: "That is the most important rule in the whole world. It's not only a rule of this family, but for all human beings. You should think about what you're doing. You should think about whether what you're doing is good for you, and whether it's good for other people too."
Queen Mommy read: "2. When you go outside to play, you must tell a grown-up, and stay within sight of the palace door."
King Daddy explained: "That is so we can see you playing and know that you are safe. Also, so if you hurt yourself somehow, we can hear you if you call for help."
"And don't forget the change we decreed in this rule: That if Sir Joey Owl is with you, you may play in the woods. If Sir Joey Owl is with you, he can fly back to the palace if there is trouble of some sort, and he knows his way around the woods. But you have to tell us when you're going into the woods with Sir Joey Owl, so that we know where you are and that you are safe." King Daddy added.
Queen Mommy read: "3 You must clean up your toys before leaving the family room or your bedroom to do something else."
King Daddy explained: "This is to keep others from tripping over your mess, and also so that you can find your toys easily when you're ready to play with them the next time. It's also nice for Queen Mommy and me to have room to relax in the family room with each other and our friends. We share our palace with you, you're old enough to help us keep it pleasant and clean."
Queen Mommy read: "4. You must follow your morning and evening routines every day. In the morning you use the potty, bathe, get dressed in the clothes Queen Mommy or King Daddy help you choose, and brush your hair. Then at bedtime you must brush your teeth, get jammies on, bathe if you haven't earlier in the day, and use the royal potty one last time before going to sleep."
King Daddy said: "Princesses should always be clean and presentable so that their subjects respect and admire them. No one will want to play with you or listen to you if you smell bad and leave a trail of dirt in their houses." Princess Rosie smiled and had to admit he had a point.
Queen Mommy spoke at this moment. "Up until now, those four rules have been the only ones in this decree. But recently we've noticed a problem that we needed to make a rule about: your temper. So there is a new rule: 5. No arguing when Queen Mommy or King Daddy tells you to do something. Do as you're told, and then, if you have a question you may speak to us about it, in a calm and respectful way."
King Daddy said: "This is a new rule, and we want you to get used to it, and learn to control your temper, Princess Rosie. Crying, pouting, stamping your feet, throwing things, shouting, and other angry behavior is not becoming to a princess. When babies get mad, they cry and do these things, but as you grow a little older, you should be able to think things through and control yourself."
Princess Rosie said, "Sometimes I can't help it! You don't listen to me! And it feels like you don't care what I want!"
King Daddy nodded, trying to understand her side, as Queen Mommy said, "When you shout and cry and get very angry, even if your side of the story is reasonable, we can't understand you. Sometimes if you have a reason for not following a rule, or if you have permission to do something differently we would understand that. But if you get angry and cry and throw a fit, we can't understand what you're trying to tell us." Queen Mommy explained.
King Daddy said, "Remember the other day Queen Mommy said you could have cookies in the family room, and I didn't know it? I said you should wait until after dinner. You started crying and ran away from me to your room. I had no idea that Queen Mommy said you could have the cookies. If you had just calmly told me, there would have been no problem. You got all upset for no reason."
Princess Rosie nodded, again, King Daddy had another point. "I could have had my cookies?"
"Yes you could have. But you missed out on them because you got mad instead of just talking to me."
"I was silly." Princess Rosie admitted.
King Daddy smiled and ruffled Princess Rosie's hair, then spoke softly: "You made a mistake. You are still learning. Queen Mommy and I don't expect you to be perfect, for you are a very young princess. But we do expect you to try really hard."
"Yes," Queen Mommy agreed with King Daddy. "Trying is the most important thing. And one day all of that trying will pay off. You will turn into a beautiful and kind grownup princess beloved by all forevermore."
King Daddy said, "Every now and then there will be a problem in our family. When that happens, we will sit here at the table and talk about it, and maybe add a rule to our decree to make sure that everyone understands what is expected of them. That is how we do things in Rosieland, and why everyone is so happy to live here."
Princess Rosie smiled and climbed into King Daddy's lap and hugged him tightly. "I will try hard, Daddy. I promise."
Queen Mommy leaned over and kissed Princess Rosie's cheek, and smoothed her hair gently. "You are growing up, Princess Cutie Butt. And as long as you try, King Daddy and I will help you."
And with that, Queen Mommy hung the Royal Decree of Princess Rosie Rules on the refrigerator where it could be seen by one and all forever after.