So, we’re sitting at ground zero (i.e. the kitchen table). My four-year-old son is deeply involved in an epic battle between two Superhero Squinkies, and I’m on my iPad researching hockey-themed birthday party supplies when he says, “Mommy, when are you going to clean this?”
He’s referring to the Sharpie marks that now stain our kitchen table in several spots. Supposedly, there’s a miracle product out there that cleans up these unfortunate blemishes, but I haven’t yet reached page eighty of my busiest time of the year to-do list where “#473: Deal with permanent marker mess” resides. That, and I’ve enjoyed having him live with the evidence as a kind of self-punishment. Given his accusatory tone, though, he’s clearly not losing sleep over it.
“If you must know,” I say with the same amount of amount of sass he has just whipped at me, “I haven’t cleaned it yet, because it requires a very special cleaning solution that We. Don’t. Have.”
Because this remarkable child of mine likes to have the last word, he responds whilst shaking his head in disappointment, “Mommy, you really need to clean it up.”
I honestly don’t know how the tables turned on this one. I mean, he’s the one who went hog wild with the Sharpie to which I explicitly denied access. Yet, I’m the one being schooled at the kitchen table because the mess hasn’t been eradicated.
I provide unlimited pencils and WASHABLE crayons, markers, and paint to both of my children for their creative pursuits. I do not, however, provide pens and Sharpies, because when the writing instrument inevitably lands outside the border of their works of art, I – like most parents I know – want to be able to clean the mess. My “No Sharpies until you’re old enough to live elsewhere” rule is a no-brainer. That is, until you insert my curious and stubborn child for whom “no” means “Hell, yes!” into the equation.
I wasn’t out of town when This happened. I wasn’t even out of the house. In all honesty, I was probably in the room with him, yet I don’t know anything about how he reached the Sharpie from its high perch or how he did it without anyone knowing and without hurting himself. What I do know is this: I was shocked.
The idea that either one of my children did This was hard to believe. I say this not because I have perfect children (hardly), but because even though kids will be kids and kids are messy, my kids – generally speaking – are neat. Actually, “careful” might be a better word to describe them. In other words, I’ve never found one of them drawing on walls, eating chalk, or standing in the middle of a flour explosion. Never.
Despite their cautious disposition, I knew who the culprit was immediately. It was the little one who’s always at my desk chirping, “Can I please use this? Can I? Can I? Can I, PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE!” about all of my colorful, non-washable pens and permanent markers.
When I confronted my Sharpie bandit head on about the permanent marker all over the kitchen table, he looked me right in the eye and said, “Mommy, when I grow up and I’m a Daddy, I will never let my kids draw with a Sharpie.” Receiving this invaluable nugget of parenting advice from my four-year-old stung more than you might think. My quick – but not nearly as clever as I’d hoped – response was, “Oh yeah, THEY’LL DO IT ANYWAY!!”
So, we’re sitting at the kitchen table with This between us. He’s back to his Squinkie battle, and I’m pretending to be back to my hockey-themed birthday party supplies research, but what I’m really doing is thinking of a really sharp response for this remarkable child of mine because I want – no, I need – to have the last word on this one.
Runaway Mama Disclaimer: I wrote this post because (1) it happened and (2) I wanted to, and (3) I was inspired by a blogging challenge to share a story about a missed moment at home. The “Life’s Mysteries” Campaign is hosted by a company called Dropcam. Dropcam is a cloud-based Wi-Fi video monitoring service with free live streaming, two-way talk and remote viewing, and it might just be the coolest baby/kid/pet/nanny/husband monitor ever. Perhaps there’s some additional legal mumbo jumbo I should write here to tell you that I’m not endorsing their products nor am I a paid sponsor. I’m just a girl who likes to write about stuff and wishes someone would pay me for it. Anyhow, anyone can participate in the “Life’s Mysteries” Campaign. For more information and instructions, please click right —> here <—.