Monday, August 10, 2009

Let's Make a List!

I have creative children. They love some good, artsy, brain-stimulation. There are days, however, when my patience and strength of character is tried to the very core. The image of discovering my children with an unbelievably huge mess is so vivid in my mind, I think that is the keenest memory I will be taking with me as they grow older. Let's make a list, while we're thinking of it, to show our kids some day when they are changing our diapers and wiping our spittle:

-Diarrhea in the bathtub; both kids, 'nuff said. (shudder)

-Black Permanent Marker all over selves, walls, doors, shelves, furniture, floors, and cabinetry, (on three separate occasions that I can remember. Once was just Kaylee, black head to toe, and a long horizon line going down the stairs, and a bedroom with artwork on the walls. She must have been playing Harold and the Purple Crayon.)

-Vaseline all over self, pillows, carpet, and blankets. (Peter--on at least two separate occasions. Kendon--once.)

-Purple lip gloss all over all three children.

-New lipstick, mascara, eye-liner, all over two older kids, bathroom cabinets, sink, mirror, and floor. (I still remember seeing the mascara lines all over their legs.)

-Breakfast cereal all over living room carpet, couches, and hair.

-Pink and purple nail polish painted all over arms, legs, and fingers and toes, as well as a large spherical shape hand-painted on the wall, and nail-polish foot prints on the floor.

-Nutella chocolate spread, and on another occasion, chocolate frosting, all over wall, with arms and legs, as well as face and hair painted brown.

-Ice cream, painted all over table, and themselves (K and P), eating it with a spatula and a whisk. (Freezer door standing wide open.)

-Peter and the yellow paint at grandma's house: All over self and carpet. (Thank goodness it was washable, though it didn't all come out; and thankfully she has a sense of humor!)

-Closet walls, clothes, door, sprayed with Aussie hairspray; the entire floor of the closet was flooded with a 1/2 inch hairspray puddle .

-Flooded bathroom, can't even count the times. (In the old house, they would dump cups of water out of the bath onto the bathroom floor, causing it to rain in the basement, right on top of daddy's computer, desk, and important papers.)

-Kendon eating fist fulls of white, permanent paint and painting the floor.

-Crayon/Pencil/Pen all over freshly painted walls, more times than can be counted.

-Peter and cousin Keith, covered head to toe in mud, 5 minutes before I need to leave to conduct a class. (Then we discover them outside during class, Peter naked from the waist down, covered once again, in mud, and little Keith who'd failed to get his underwear off, was also covered in muddy pee.)

-Blue dishwasher soap gel packets, burst on the floor, feet, and cabinets, etc. (They were stomping on them. Apparently, it's lots of fun.)

-Toy Mountain, 5 minutes after 2 hours of organizing.

Wow! That felt good! I'd love for you other parents to post your own list as a comment. This list is far from complete, but it is accurate. I think we all need a list to confront our kids with when they grow up and look back. When they are looking at the messes their kids made, they need to know that they too made messes, and they can put themselves back in their own shoes. My own mother has several times reminded me of the messes I made, such as the lipstick art all over the back of the couch, carpet and wall, as well as myself. She laughed when I told her of my kids' permanent marker art, because she remembers the time we were selling the house, and the last night there, she discovered me and a friend on the top bunk of the bunk bed, drawing on the textured ceiling with bright blue permanent marker. I still remember that. We were making a beautiful night sky. It was going to be gorgeous, if they'd just let us finish! I was 4. Then she reminds me of the time I painted the bathroom in poo when I was 3. So perhaps the apples do not fall far from the tree.

I have a very vivid memory of potty-training when I was 2, and going #2 in my training pants when we had company there. I was embarrassed, but Mom very calmly and and patiently took my hand and we walked to the bathroom. She washed out my training pants in the potty, smiling at me patiently while doing it. Because of her calm reaction, that feeling of embarrassment was replaced with adoration of her. I left the bathroom with a feeling of confident self-esteem. I knew that I would learn to use the toilet, because my Mom wasn't worried about it, even when I had an accident.

I have reminded her of that, and thanked her for that example, and even though I didn't have the emotional maturity to do that with my first child (so sorry Kaylee,) I developed it with help, (from the man upstairs and his angels on earth,) and now I can honestly say I'm there.

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