Monday, November 26, 2007

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Yes - that picture says it all. Mom can't even go to the bathroom or compose an email to grandma without some disaster ensuing. I thought I had confiscated all the markers - but they always seem to find them. Seemingly daily, one or more of my children is running around looking like an extra from "Braveheart". Who am I to squelch creativity or a budding artist in bloom? Once upon a time we only had chalk and coloring pencils in the house - both are easily removed from walls, faces and clothing. Things change . . . obviously!

Okay - I will admit it - long before my children arrived, I pictured them - clean, scrubbed, rosy cheeked and dressed in pristine white, nary a hair out of place. They were quiet and well behaved. They never jumped up and down on the furniture and touch a pen to wall? Never! How cruel are the rocks of reality upon which our lovely dreams are sometimes dashed.

Sadie seems the most persistant in expressing her creative muse - her favorite canvas? Well, after the walls, herself of course and once she has used that, her brother will do quite nicely. Oh no, no - this isn't the first time one or more of my children has looked like this. (I have a feeling it won't be the last either.) If I ever need a pen - I just ask Sadie, or Adam - they seem to always know where one or more congregate. I can't find one to save my life - but I know they exist, I know they are here somewhere and one or both of my youngest will surely find them - regardless of how obscure they are, how carefully I have hidden them - poof! They will materialize out of thin air if Sadie has a yen to scribble . . . The bond between child and ink is a strong one indeed.

I made the mistake of letting Trent draw on my 7 months pregnant belly once when he pointed out that my protruding belly button looked like a nose. I thought it was kind of cute - so I let him draw a face on my belly. There were eyes with eyebrows and lashes; a mouth with teeth even! My belly button was the nose of course and there were ears that he artfully, realistically added. A very detailed rendering, particularly for a 2 and a half year old. I was very impressed by his artistic capability and his sense of realism - that is, until the next day in the shower when indelible ink proved to be just that - indelible. I scrubbed like a fiend - but this stuff was permanent! The pen was just a silly ballpoint - why is this not coming off?? I had to leave my house for a doctor's appointment, branded and mortified. You see, at every ob appointment they measure your stomach and listen to the baby's heartbeat - something that requires you to, oh yes, expose your belly. So, I went to my appointment, I lifted my shirt and exposed my belly - my belly with the one of a kind work of art scribbled all over it. I was measured and heard the baby's heartbeat. All I got was a raised eyebrow from the doctor as the tape measure paused in midair. He must not have been a lover of the arts.

Of course, eventually the face on my belly faded away - we painted over the scribbles on the walls and continue painting with each child who goes through the "grafitti phase". I've washed whatever can be washed out of the new couch slipcover, clothing and blankets; scrubbed painted faces , marker decorated legs and siblings and wiped away the inky handprints a
thousand times. For now, I just tell any visitors we are decorating
in early childhood - welcome to my "Louvre". A picture is worth a thousand words - but memories will last a lifetime. One day my walls will be spotless and there won't be a crayola ring around my tub - but I won't forget what it was like when my kids were small and the world was theirs to color . . .

***Orginally posted May 25, 2006

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