The writing on the wall - FamilyEducation

The writing on the wall

July 27,2008
Skaddadle
Todd Lieman
Another day. Another milestone. It’s too much of a cliché to dare say that the kid is growing up right before our eyes, but it seems as though every single day brings some kind of new discovery. Every single day brings another of those breakthroughs that make us, as parents, look at each other with that unspoken acknowledgement: “Things will never be the same.”

You know what I’m talking about: first word, first steps, first tooth, first this and first that. Today, we celebrated another such milestone – one that (I think) all parents eventually experience with their kid(s). I’m talking, of course, about the ever-popular crayon line across the entire length of a wall.

K-Man, with his heightened sense of “the moment,” waited until a massive house-cleaning session had been completed before making his mark. Drawers were being emptied. Clutter was being reduced. His assortment of toys was thinned and actually put away (more on that another day). In short, the place was looking pretty clean. And, just as I collapsed on the couch in exhaustion, I caught a glimpse of the artfully drawn, single line that started at the edge of the wall and ended many, many…many feet away. An unmistakable shade of red, which is as much K-Man’s trademark as the Z is Zorro’s, had marked an otherwise (relatively) spotless house.

“You’ve got to be kidding,” were the words that came out of my mouth. These words are the result of three years of parenting. You see, the words that were in my brain were closer to, “What the f&$%^? Are you f$%*&#ing kidding me? F$*%&*$^!” But, just as I used to translate English to Japanese in my brain before speaking it (long time ago), now I sometimes am forced to translate my unfiltered language into “kid-safe” language before speaking it. (Which, admittedly, doesn’t always happen.)

The first attempt to clean the wall was made with 409. Didn’t work. And, may have even made things worse. Undaunted, I turned to the most trusted resource I have and typed, “Crayon on wall” into Google. We all know what happened next: I found a conversation thread on some parenting site that wildly endorsed Mr. Clean Magic Eraser as the answer to my wall cleaning prayers.

I wasted no time getting to the store, buying the magic potion and getting back to the house. Mr. Clean to the rescue, indeed. K-Man’s artwork was instantly and easily removed without any effort whatsoever. More importantly, the paint stayed on the wall (I was slightly worried about this).

For his part, K-Man received a bit of a lecture about where it’s appropriate and okay to draw and where it’s not. Walls? Not so okay. Your easel? Okay. Couches? Not so okay. Paper? Okay. He seemed to understand. He said he was sorry and explained (like this is any sort of surprise) that he was a firefighter and he was drawing on the wall to put out a fire. Well, as long as there was a reason he drew on the wall – it must be okay! (No, not really.)

In a way, I’ve been dreading this day for a long time. I knew that it would come. And, I’ve been grateful that K-Man has, for the most part, spared the walls from the kind of destruction of which a toddler is capable. All in all, I know it could have been far worse. But, now…with Mr. Clean in the arsenal – I know we can handle it.