September 13, 2008

The Writing On The Wall

Each night before bed I make my sweep through the house picking up toys, finding remnants of a craft project I didn't know had been cut and glued and taped, and more Legos than you can imagine. It's an effort made many times throughout the day to keep most of the house tidy and neat and less like a thousand children live here.

Whether it's the kitchen, bathroom, or hallway closet, they leave their mark in every corner and under every cushion in the form of small clans of dinosaurs and light sabers and more Legos. And when they can't find pretty much any given thing, they ask Mommy and I always know where it is.

Tonight, most of the downstairs is free of child-like things. In the morning, that all changes, but for now, it's almost picture perfect with pillows straight and dining table clean and a clear pathway on the floor. But glance at my walls and my stomach drops just a little, embarrassed that we've yet to pick up more Magic Erasers or finally paint with something that removes crayon and pencil and whatever that brown stuff is a little better.

The red line from the top of the stairs all the way down to the entry way when Noah was making a "map." The teeny tiny signatures and stray letters of the alphabet scrawled randomly here and there.

No matter if I were to remove all crayons and markers and pencils in this entire house, there would still be writing on the wall. They have a hidden stash, I'm sure of it.

Someday their talent for hieroglyphics will fade as I catch up with my Magic Erasing and it will long be a memory, the days I was sadly ashamed of the imperfectness.

Children do live here. Little people that I love more than a clean room and uncluttered corner. As much as the noise and the trails they leave behind can- at times- dance on my last nerve, I wouldn't want to even imagine these walls without them.

Submitted to Scribbit's September Write-Away Contest, Colors.

38 comments:

  1. Magic Erasers what would we do without them? When I first learned to write I decided that it would be fun to make my mark on the wall. I thought I would be slick and write my brother's name but my mom new immediatly. I guess that is what happens when your little bro is only 1!

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  2. Amen sista! Great post!
    They will grow fast enough and the time we have been given with them is a blessing that we must embrace clutter will still be there tomorrow but our love one may not!

    I'm not saying that we should never clean but having priorities on the eternal thing instead on the moment that will soon be gone!

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  3. We have those same random marks. And, I think I'll miss them when my kids are too big to make them.

    Great post.

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  4. I'm probably going to jinx myself here, but we haven't had that problem yet, but thankfully I've got a stash of Magic Erasers - just in case! :)

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  5. That was a beautiful post and so true. Right now we may not have a beautifully decorated, neat and tidy or clean home, but we know why! We are raising our kids! I also do a sweep of the house before heading to bed. Its so nice to wake up and be able to make it from room to room and to be able to enjoy the toy-free zone for a few minutes... mine lasts a minute or two, but ya know?! One day we'll miss those toys!

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  6. I heard the metaphor once that motherhood is trying to drink from a firehose. There is SO MUCH AT ONCE that it's hard to manage. Yet we'll be thirsty when the water crawls to a trickle.

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  7. I love when kids use their NAMES as their graffitti--as though you aren't going to be able to guess who it was! My older kids, who definitely know they aren't supposed to be writing on the walls, still can't resist the urge to leave their mark once in a while--so I find their names written in itty bitty letters you can barely see in little nooks and crannies of the house. I remember carving my name into the underside of my mom's antique desk when I was about 9. Must be something about human nature that we want to say "I was here."

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  8. So sweet. In our house, all writing utensils are to stay in the kitchen and the kids pretty much adhere to that rule. We don't get much writing on our walls- plenty of fingerprints and toy scrapes, though. This reminds me of the time my oldest drew down the hallway with a popsicle. :o)

    PS- popsicles are also banished to the kitchen or front porch areas.

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  9. So sweet. I am convinced their little surprise are the better than any art we could buy!

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  10. I do the same each day, and get help when possible :) I have a steamer that gets most of the marks off the walls. . . when I can get to them! I try to contain writing utensils - but they are so sneaky!

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  11. You sure do have a beautiful way with words. :)

    I cannot wait to read about Ivy's birth, whenever that may be!

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  12. We are trying to figure out what removes pen from wall paint and wallpaper as we are putting our house up for sale. I never realized there were so many drawings on my walls before now. ;)
    What are these magic erasers???

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  13. You should see our walls. We need to just repaint. No other way around it.

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  14. So sweet! Wonderful post!

    Our walls are filled with reminders that children live here too. I wouldn't have it any other way.

    Although, this week my youngest decided to spare the wall from being marked up with marker and used her face instead.

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  15. I've been having similar thoughts since my 2-year-old has also taken up "wall art"... Wonderful thoughts, great reminder! Thanks for sharing :)

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  16. You are a very patient and understanding mama.

    But the white walls? Their days are numbered...I'll be showing up with paint some time in the winter. It will be fun. Promise. And we'll create a nice clean (NON-WHITE) canvas for the wall scribbling to begin again.

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  17. Steph-
    I love how you can appreciate the things kids do. We are just starting to experience 'artwork' here in our house (again!). Even Mariah has gotten in on the act, which I see as a positive sign that we are seeing some sort of recovery. My husband tried cleaning it all up in preparation for a party we had here. I started crying, begging & pleading to just leave it be. I need those markings on my walls, floors and doors. I feel like a part of me was being erased when he got out the Magic Eraser! Our homes shoud reflect the fact that we have kids in them, and our kids should know how very much they are loved...so for now I have rainbows of color where once there was none, and I would not have it any other way!
    Cris :o)

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  18. Beautiful post! My baby's artwork is the best art I could wish for on my walls . . .

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  19. My oldest "wrote" his name on my car with a quarter....on the hood.

    No magic eraser will work on that...lol

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  20. I think it's the teacher in me that just loves to see the beginning stages of writing, and those great childlike drawings of their view of the world. I can be nostalgic about it, because those days are long gone for me. I don't have to deal with the writing on the walls anymore, it's more like the doodling on the skin. What is it with tweens and young teens, and their need to write on themselves with ink? Permanment or otherwise??

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  21. Ha! I could have written this... {grin}

    I just saw your ticker... 39 weeks and 2 days wow... I didn't think you would make it this far... you didn't either did you?

    britt

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  22. I always say my house is a bit of a mess because my children are well loved. I am glad I am not the only mom with writing on my walls and legos (or nerf darts in our case) hidden in every corner of my house. Someday I will clean it all up.

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  23. And soon there will be baby dolls and Littlest Pet Shop animals sprinkled in with all the legos and dinosaurs.

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  24. Legos. They multiply, I'm sure. And the writing on the wall? Take pictures, and then you can clean. You'll always remember their creativity, while maintaining a "clean" home.

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  25. The legos thing made me feel bonded to you--that's exactly what I'm doing here, constantly picking up Legos!

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  26. I never had a problem with my oldest coloring in or on things she shouldn't. Well, not a big problem. But the baby loves to color on whatever he sees that looks too bland. Magic Erasers really are magic!

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  27. So sweet. My walls look like that too. It's gotten really extreme since Alice was born. I have this strange feeling Ivy will be here tomorrow morning? Who knows why. Hope you're resting tonight!

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  28. Some of the best surprises that my sister has had since Hannah died were finding those bits of artwork that were furtively created on the walls of their house behind furniture or in closets where she didn't think they would be spotted. They would have been erased or painted over then but now they are left there, sweet memories of a precious little girl.

    Flitzy Phoebie (linked on my blogroll) had five children and she finally gave up and gave them a designated wall to create on. I think I am going to do the same in my house! How fun. :-)

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  29. My oldest has never done this but I can SO see my younger little man doing this someday... Should be fun! I love how relaxed you are about it. I hope I could be that way too...

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  30. Beautiful post...the finger prints are hard to wipe off at times because I know these days will go quickly...other days I want them to go quickly!!

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  31. I refer to our home as the "art gallery". My children are excellent muralists. Their favorite medium? Sharpie Marker on indoor semi-gloss. Crayons come a close second.

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  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  33. (the above was me, amy, by the way bugandmama.com) :)

    here's the comment:

    i absolutely love this post. i need
    to come by and read more often. ;)

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  34. Stephanie - this was great...really sums things up! I love the picture. Life is grand and wouldn't want it any other way.

    Thanks for your words!

    Erin

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  35. My oldest son has a penchant for marking on walls with pencil. In my mother's house.

    Sigh . . . maybe I should send her over to read your post to see if her dramatic reaction to his "artwork" calms down a tad. BG

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  36. Just the other day I saw writing on an antique bench in my son's room and I said what was "this"!? to which he replied, "it was an accident mommy"! the accident was a smiley face....someday we are going to miss this! Cute post!
    :-)

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