I consider myself a creative person so I love encouraging that side of my children. However, I don't like them being creative all over my walls.
Yesterday morning, my husband stayed home with the two youngest children because they had coughs and runny noses while I took our oldest to church with me. I put crayons and paper in her purse since she was going to the service with me instead of the nursery (we go to the 8 am service and the only kids there are mine and so there's no point in having a Sunday School class for just the two of them... but with only one there...). She did great. Colored the whole time which was fine with me since she's pretty loud when she's bored. I forgot about the crayons though and had her take her purse upstairs to her room when we got home.
I was sitting here in the office and my husband was in the living room feeding the baby when we noticed how quiet it was. He went upstairs to check on the kids playing in their rooms when I heard him say, very slowly, "Oh. No." Of course, I ran out of the office and flew up the stairs. The wall at the top of the landing was covered in my daughters artwork. The bedroom doors were as well. And there was a nice big "A" written on the wall in our son's room. My husband asked, "Who did this?" to which my daughter proudly exclaimed, "I did, Daddy!" I think she thought we'd be proud of her. Secretly, we were proud of the "A" but not so much the rest of it.
I went out and bought some Mr. Clean Magic Erasers today. Those things are fantastic. They get anything off the walls. Including the paint. My original plan was to get my daughter to help scrub all the crayon off. She tried. But the kid is a twig and couldn't scrub hard enough to make any progress. I got to do it all. I made her sit next to me while I scrubbed it though. She wasn't allowed to go play. In my frustration, I rubbed too hard in a few places and took the paint right off the wall.
Obviously, I learned my lesson. Don't forget when you give the kids crayons. Don't let the kids have crayons upstairs. But what was the right punishment for this? She asked me this morning if she was allowed to color and I told her no because she was still being punished for her graffiti spree from the day before. Is this too much? Does she even really remember doing it? Its not the first time she's done it so how hard do you punish a 3 year old who is just being creative? How strongly can I punish her when I was the foolish one who didn't take the crayons out of her purse? Did I end up receiving my own punishment for my slip up? Yeah, I'd say so. Took me about an hour and I went through 6 magic erasers and then had to wash the wall with a sponge. Now I'm going to get to repaint it too.
Its hard to know what battles to fight and how to fight them. I've never mothered a 3 year old before so this is new territory for me. My third kid better watch out. By the time she's 3, I'll have a pretty tough regiment. I'll probably have a lock on the crayon box by then. How do I make a 3 year old understand though that its not ok to "artistically express yourself" on some one else's belongings? Yeah, that wall belongs to my husband and I. How am I supposed to make her understand that the wall belongs to Mommy and Daddy? Perhaps I'll just tell her and see how she responds.
Sometimes, a Wannabe Supermom's battles are tedious. Today's battle was just that.