Silas is seven, in second grade; Owen is eight, and in third grade; Lee is eleven, and in sixth grade; Jerry is thirteen, and in seventh, and Anson has just turned fifteen, and is in ninth grade.
There were problems occurring at the time you decided to start spanking Anson again. Your SO works at home, so is responsible for getting the kids off to school in the morning. There was a lot of trouble ongoing with that (not just one day, but nearly daily in some fashion or another). You were easily able to track down why the problems were happening, so the two of you came up with a plan that ended the problems by requiring the kids to keep to an evening schedule, and have most things done before they went to bed (on a timely basis).
While the whole crew received at least one spanking, once they settled in, the problems mostly went away. Your SO felt things were better, and starting loosening the requirements, until the problems started back up, and the whole group ended up with another set of sore bottoms. After that, you borrowed a page from a friend's book, and the kids now receive a 'strike', if they don't finish any part of their bedtime routine on time. Three strikes in three weeks results in a sore bottom for the laggard.
At this point, Silas and Owen both have two strikes.
Yesterday, you received an urgent call from your SO. Anson had hurt his arm, and they were on the way to the emergency room. You were in the middle of something at work, so your SO called a family friend, who took care of the younger kids, and picked Jerry up from basketball practice. You closed things up as fast as you could, and went to pick up the kids.
The friend already had a meal planned. Instead of complaining, one of his kids made a trip to the store, and the younger four ended up eating better than you, your SO, and Anson did. Still, you were a bit worried, because the kids were off schedule, and you know this kind of thing tends to wind up the younger ones.
At home, you dealt with the issue of Anson not wearing his safety equipment while skating, then checked with the other kids. Jerry was running a bit behind, and Lee was almost ahead of schedule (he'd been doing one bit of homework that didn't get taken with him, in the rush to be ready to go to your friend's house). The younger two are definitely wired up, and more interested in playing than getting ready for bed. You remind them what time it is, and that they both already have two strikes.
At bedtime, you go in and find that Silas is in bed, but not with the lights out. He is reading his current book to one of his stuffies. Owen, on the other hand, is just out of the bath, and not nearly ready for bed yet.
Technically, that's a third strike for both of them. Is it time for exceptions or to explain that rules are rules? And if you make exceptions, is one transgression as bad as the other?