Friday, June 04, 2010

there was a a little girl

and she had a little curl
right in the middle of her forehead

when she was good, she was very, very good

but when she was bad

she was horrid
(poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)*

It's been quite a week over here at the Joyces. School's out, dance is over, Daddy's been working a lot, and the sun is finally making its appearance. We're not sure what exactly set in motion the stream of events that led to two, yes two, permanent pen situations, but this week has been a doozy.

Yesterday while Sam slept Maddie was playing so well in her room by herself, having "recess" with all her stuffed animals, making beds and teaching lessons, I decided to hop downstairs and pull out my exercise video. About twenty minutes in, I hear Maddie leave her room and start down the stairs. I call out, "Down here, sweetie," and she barely says, "Mama..." before her voice breaks into a sob. She walks in slowly, sobbing, holding out her arms to show the marks she'd drawn up and down and all over her clothes. She cried and cried, saying "I know you're so disappointed!" She was wet from trying to wash the pen out herself in the bathroom.

After a while, I asked if there was anything else that she had colored, to which she nodded and broke out in another heartwrenching sob. "Yes, my stuffed animals." We walked upstairs, a slow, sad, teary walk of shame, to find the evidence: Hello Kitty, Bunsers, a bunny from Easter and Froggy, all decorated. Her star chart was also covered in pen and all the week's stars removed.

After she calmed down, I explained that the animals would not wash up, but the pen marks were now permanent. I also explained that a natural consequence of her exploration was the removal of all her earned stars, leaving me no indication of what she had accomplished during the week. She agreed this was a fitting consequence, her face tear-streaked, red and repentant.

Tonight Sam knocked a bottle onto the stone outside. As Ben and I cleaned it up (we locked the kiddos inside) Maddie had a little fun with a pink Sharpie. She colored the downstairs bathroom door as well as the wall between the bathroom and the kitchen. When I saw the marks, I couldn't believe it was Maddie and so I asked her point blank, "Who did this?" And she remarked with a shrug, "Me."

Sigh. Guess it's a trip to Target tomorrow for a magic eraser.

*curious whether Mr. Longfellow was the father of a three year old when he penned this little number


bonnieb said...

Jennie had a similar situation of wall writing. She did her creative writing behind the drapes, until she could spell... then she wrote her name on the fence of the deck for all the world to see. :o)

Just realized she was three when she wrote on the wall behind the drapes because it was in our other house! sigh. xoxo

Kimberly said...

Oh, no. Poor Miss Maddie and poor mama. It could be worse. When I was little, I decided to get into my mom's photo albums and use a push pin to poke holes in the eyes of every person in the pictures, including myself. I'm still suffering the consequences as almost every photo from my childhood has holes in it and wondering why in the world I would do that.

Becky said...

Oh, Kim, that is hilarious. I was telling Kelly how at first I was so sad about her stuffed animals that she's had since a baby being covered in marker. Then it dawned on me that they will be good reminders that sweet little babies do become curious, artistic three year-olds. It could be much, much worse (like on her bedding, walls, furniture)!

mel @ the larson lingo said...

oh no!!!!!!! I dont even know how I would have responded. Glad she felt remorse the first time.
Did the magic eraser work with the pink sharpie? One of my friends said that a baby wipe will take sharpie off of walls.
and, kim....oh my gosh, that is so funny, if I were your mom I would have been LIVID ;)

Susan said...

I think writing all over the house in pen is a right of passage for most kids! It sounds like the natural consequences are sinking in, or maybe not? Hang in there and my best advice is put all the pens that are not washable out of reach!!