Yesterday my 2-year-old did something she hadn’t before: she marked up our furniture. Our living room chair to be exact. With crayon! And lots of it. The sound my wife made upon laying eyes on Audrey’s work of art was not one I would ever wish to hear again. It could best be described as a prolonged screaming inhalation of hysterical breath, followed by a period of tense silence, and then a culminating, cataclysmic burst of outrage.
By the time I cautiously peeked into the room to see the chair for myself–listening to Momma scold Audrey all the while–I was already thinking, She’s never going to hear the end of this. That’s because I should know. I did something similar.
And my mom still won’t let me forget it.
It’s probably best if I let her explain. Take it away Mom!
You were 3. Dad had come home one evening with markers and graph paper to do some graphs for work. This was before computers. Dad had a background in biology and biology students learned how to do lovely graphs and drawings of plants. So he was very fussy about his graphs. The markers were expensive ones. You were very interested in the markers, and we told you not to touch them.
I had just bought the gold wingback chairs which I still have. So you were also forbidden to do anything messy around them. I had wanted chairs like that for eons and they were expensive and quite a splurge for me.
Dad did his graphs. I don’t remember where he put the markers, but you must have taken note. We were getting up early the next morning when you came in the bedroom. “Mom, I write on your chairs.” You had made green circles on the backs of both chairs.
I went ballistic and ranted and raved right up to dropping you off at daycare. After school, I dragged you into the furniture store and asked if I could get the stains out. They suggested alcohol which I tried and it worked very well. You never showed any remorse even though I ranted about it off and on for days.
I was clearly a monster.
Unlike my younger self however, Audrey did seem sorry for her actions. While I wouldn’t go so far as to call it remorse, she knew she had done something wrong and admitted as much. Still, despite the fact that we were able to eventually clean the chair–thank you internet, dry cleaner sheets, soapy water, and good ol’ fashioned elbow grease!–I can’t help but think that Audrey will be hearing this tale for many more years to come.
Because parents truly never forget about these sorts of things.
So let that be a lesson to all you whippersnappers out there.