Want Crayons (Toddler Art?)

The kid has started coloring on the walls.

We’ll start with the metaphorical.

He’s caught another stomach bug – his third, or his second and a half, depending on how you quantify the two weeks of pain we endured at Casa de Pav back in January.  How he keeps catching this evil is beyond me, but he doesn’t catch it halfway – it starts out of nowhere with a big, dramatic vomiting spell (I could tell about the time I was in Wal-Mart with the sprout at 7 AM and he erupted in a fountain of cottage cheese and peach slices shutting down an aisle and requiring me to make a pit stop through the toddlers’ clothing section which I was not planning on making and then carrying him home wrapped in my hoodie and his clothing in a garbage bag, but I won’t, I MEAN OOPS).  Then he moves on to blowing out his diapers and literally pooping the rainbow for a few nights.  We’re on night two.

I feel for the poor kid.  He’s had a rough weekend as far as toddlers go, for whom every day which does not see your every whimsical desire fulfilled to the fullest possible extent.  In short, every day is a rough day.  But the weekend has been a bad one, by dint of a couple of things.

First, the barfing.  That’s never fun; it scares the haberdashery out of him every time, and it would be better if you could comfort him but the only thing that really comforts him is being held and, well, eww.  He hasn’t developed the decency to bend at the waist while he’s blowing chunks (a skill which, like so many others we take for granted as adults, is apparently NOT second nature after all) so he likes to walk around while he’s spewing, really maximizing the ratio of affected area versus possible area.  Of course his clothes get caught in the crossfire (just made myself laugh out loud and gag a little simultaneously, a pretty unique feeling), so holding and hugging him is low on the list following one of these sessions.  Also, his last vomit fountain was bright pink; fluorescent, almost.  The only saving grace is that it happened out of the house (in grandma and grandpa’s house.  Sorry about that.)

Second, the poops.  I won’t go into too much detail here for the benefit of those of you reading this who do not have (and have not had) young kids whose poops you have to clean up.  I will just say that his entire, uh, undercarriage is raw and painful to even look at, so I can only imagine the discomfort the sprout is in.  Honestly, picturing it mentally to try to write about it is giving me the haberdasheryfied heebie-jeebies.  We’ll just stop here.  ORANGE POOPS GREEN POOPS OATMEAL-COLORED POOPS OH MY stopping now.

Third, I tried to do a nice thing for him on this weekend of horrible weather and horrible sickness.  To be fair, I didn’t really know how sick he was at the time, so it’s sadder for me now.  I tried to take him to the mall for happy running-free unfettered playground magical wonderland time (see my previous post on toddler heaven) and the goldfinger playground was closed for some random publicity stunt in the food court.  Foolishness.  Knowing the tantrums and blowups that can result from a small thing like, oh, I don’t know, not being allowed to dig through the trash and pull out the salmonella-infested chicken-trimmings which would of course cause him to DIE IMMEDIATELY (this thought process on the behalf of parents is REAL), I’m sure I don’t have to hyperbolize to accurately represent to you the overwhelming ways in which happiness completely and utterly failed to ensue when I had spent the entire morning talking up “Playground?  Bear (we call him Bear) wants to go to the playground?” and then had to tell him, within sight of the Holy Land itself, that it was closed and he couldn’t play.  In fact I won’t try to describe it.  I’ll just let your imagination fill your ears with his heartbroken cries.

SO, a difficult weekend to be a two-year old in the Casa de Pav.  But now, we can return to the literal.

I finally remembered that I’ve been meaning to start tracking his growth here in the house in a concrete and measurable way that my wife and I can look back on in a few years and say, “aww, he was, in fact, that tiny once,” so I rounded up the sprout and a crayon and I drew a line on the wall over his head.  You know the drill.

What I forgot to remember is that every moment in a toddler’s life is a moment in which the toddler is learning things about the way the world works.  Whether the thing he is learning is the thing you’re trying to teach is, of course, a thing you can laugh about later.  What I wanted him to learn was that we can make a permanent mark on the world around us, that we can leave landmarks to the future from the long-forgotten past, that even when he gets bigger, we will still have proof that he was once tiny, helpless, adorable.  In retrospect, I see that perhaps those concepts were and are a bit abstract for a brain that has trouble understanding that the trash can is a thing that should be stayed away from, even though it’s a lesson we’ve tried to teach, oh, I don’t know, maybe thirty times last night alone.  (Can you tell that the kid playing in the trash is a fargoing ISSUE in our house?)

What he learned, on the other hand, is that crayons can make pretty, colored markings on walls JUST LIKE THEY DO ON PAPER.

So in short order, this happened:


What can I say. It’s hard to take it away from him when he’s feeling so pitiful.  We’re pretty much resolved to the fact that if we ever want to move we’re just going to have to burn the house to the ground.  What harm are a few more marks on the wall?

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