Monday, October 27, 2008

Craft Corner

You would think that having already done the whole pre-schooler thing 10 years ago I would know better the second time around how to avoid having my home destroyed. Yet somehow I find myself asking the same questions I was asking then. why? Why? WHY would you...? And What was I doing while you were doing this? Actually that is the question my family would ask me when I would tell them yet another "funny" story of Jake's destructive ways. And I always answered the same way, "I don't know". It isn't a lack of supervision that causes the behavior it is something in their DNA that causes a little click the moment you turn your head and they are off to ruin something. Isabelle is famous for putting marker on herself. I am trying to stop photographing it but each time it is so funny. Here is a recent sample:

This picture represents a time of particular creativity with the marker. Not only did she get her face, legs and arms but she had stripped down and with much pride told me she had marker on her butt. Now on her butt is strange but in fact on her butt hole is much stranger, both hysterically funny and slightly disturbing. And yes I photographed it since she so proudly showed it to me but no I am not going to post it. Should you fear something is wrong with Isabelle, Jake did it too. Well similar, he used a ball point pen all over his body including all the private parts only boys have. Since digital wasn't around at that time I felt I couldn't take a picture of him naked but did get a covered shot of the rest of his body.
Now all this is funny to me because of washable markers. In fact the other day she walked by me covered in marker heading for the bathroom. When I commented she told me to leave her alone because she could wash it off herself. Which is exactly what she did. So that is where I was one day when I noticed a little green marker on her fingers. I continued doing what I was doing (what was I doing?) figuring that I would clean it up later. This is exactly the moment all 3 year olds wait for to do something new. Isabelle had been digging through my purse that lovely afternoon and found a sharpie. (why did I have a sharpie in my purse?) Taking that emerald green permanent marker she found the most prominent wall in our entire home to draw a large set of circles with beautiful eyes in the middle. why? Why? WHY?
Here is a picture. Sorry it didn't photograph well.

Now I admit I haven't tried alot of stuff to clean it up but having some experience with cleaning crayons and dry erase markers (not washable by the way) off the wall I decided not to knock myself out just for the sake of trying. I recognize a wall that needs to be repainted when I see it. Of course since we don't have that paint left it leaves me with a very prominant reminder that I have a 3 year old. And just when it is blending into the background of my mind someone new comes to visit, the moment they walk in the door they know we have children. It is a great conversation starter and gets people thinking creatively about how I could cover it up. So far I am leaning toward nailing a frame over it and calling it art.
So what should I do about Isabelle and the marker problem? I'm sure there are chapters in parenting books devoted to this type of behavior. And you may be asking yourself what I do when this happens and why I haven't hidden the markers. Well punishments do happen and I have started to hear her remind herself of the rules when she gets out the markers, but I like my children to have the ability to access their stuff when they feel creative. Sort of a Melanie version of Montessori. So I put up with a little destruction but it is worth it to see my children have fun and develop their own little personalities.


  1. So funny! You didn't tell me about the wall art! I have a little wall art of my own that I haven't cleaned up yet, but it is in the pink room downstairs...dry erase markers and crayon.

    I am reminded of lamenting to tiff before she was a REAL mom (her first was still to little and 1st born perfect to destroy) that I couldn't understand why 2 year old Mady kept markering and coloring the back of her door during quiet time...Evie would have never even thought of doing such a thing! As all inexperienced moms would say, she asked me why in the world I kept leaving crayons and markers in her room with her during quiet time.

    I got nothin'

    Another excellent post.

  2. Goo gone does work great on crayon and with a little elbow grease dry erase. Not so much the sharpie.

  3. Aaah the joy of markers in children's hands. I think the inventor of markers had it in for Mom's everywhere. He had some vendetta against his Mom and took it out on the rest of us... :)