Monday, March 1, 2010

It seemed like a good idea at the time

Spike Milligan had ‘I told you I was sick’ as his epitaph. I was toying with ‘I told you I was tired’ (in the moment where one considers such things), but changed my mind over the weekend. Mine will now read: “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

The reasons why I have chosen this are too numerous to mention – and will hopefully be even more numerous by the time I get around to having to actually use it – but I can start with three examples from the past few days.

On Friday, I had to do an urgent phone interview. Mr 3 showed no signs of sleeping, but I decided to put him to bed anyway. He did not wish to go to bed and screamed like a baby banshee. So I chose to put him into my bed with a pile of books and bribes of jelly dinosaurs if he stayed quiet for the 20 minutes it would take to talk to my corporate guy from the US.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

He was quiet. It went well. I was so relieved when it was all over that I skipped down the hall to praise him for being a good boy. The praise died on my lips as I opened the door.

Mr 3 had entertained himself by drawing ALL OVER the wall behind my bed in blue crayon. All over the bed. All over the bedside table. All over the sheets. The sheets! Talk about thorough.

When The Builder and I were having a civilised discussion about this several hours later, he wanted to know why the blue crayon had even been in our bedroom. I couldn’t remember. Then I did. I’d put it on the bottom shelf of the bedside table whilst vacuum cleaning months ago. So I didn’t crush it all over the carpet.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

On Monday, we took the boys to The Masterpieces from Paris exhibition at the Australian National Gallery. When we planned it, we had visions of delighting our children with the works of the Masters and instilling in them a lifelong love of art. Actually, that’s not true. We just wanted to go and had to drag them along. But still.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

And so today I have a new idea of hell. It involves one three year old, a large pram, about 4 million people (mostly old, mostly wearing those damn audio tour headphones), 100 old paintings and a confined space.

He did like it. He told me so. He thought the ‘painting of the dark’ (Van Gogh’s Starry, Starry Night) was really nice. His favourite. Mr 6 liked it so much he painted himself in it (see left) at the self-portrait station of the family activity room.

But when I wheeled Mr 3 away from the crowds into the relative peace of the Minimalist art room, I could see him looking at all those blank white canvases in confusion. “I could do better,” I could almost hear him think.

His longing for a blue crayon was written all over his face.


  1. What a great story. I'd say it was definitely a good idea at the time.

  2. Congratulations your boy has just completed his first passage of rights, don't worry though you have a while until his next. Which will be going out and getting blind drunk on cheap cider whilst pretending to be studying at friends.

    PS Couldn't you make the blue crayon into some accent colour in the bedroom?

  3. Today I decided to paint some salt dough decorations with a couple of two year olds, assuming that my 11 month old would play happily in his playpen as the toddlers and I neatly created delightful little salt dough stars and baubles....

    This, too, seemed liked a good idea at the time...

    It wasn't...

    Gill xo

  4. I laughed loudly, but in empathy, I promise. I have a little girl that could be called 'artistic' if one was feeling generous. She went mental with blue chalk on the occupational therapists trampoline and we didn't see her until it was too late. At least it was chalk!! Phew. Did it come out of the sheets? Jen

  5. I am giggling. I once had to have some peace for an important phone call. I left Charlie strapped into his high chair, drawing.

    When I came back into the kitchen, Charlie had drawn green curly doodles on every bit of white wall he could stretch reach from his high chair.

    (Acetone, I now know, works.)

  6. Good times at the museum.
    Oh I am giggling too, I thought my boys were sleeping while was 'BUSY' on my laptop... but they have drawn everywhere with black texta. Fortunately though a special permanent kind it wiped off the bed & walls and washed off them.
    Thanks for reminding me.

  7. Great epitaph. Very fitting. I love that little Van Gogh drawing. Mr6 is a star. x

  8. A mate of mine always used to say "You can't help bad luck."

    And a work colleague "This too shall pass."

    I guess we need a few to suit the event at the time.

  9. Oh dear! I had a similar incident once with poo involved! I honestly didn't know where to start! And because it was with my first I was HORRIFIED (these days, not so much...)
    Will need to start working on my epitaph now (hope that's not too morbid :-) xxxCate

  10. I love 'Starry Starry Skies', he has a good sense of colour. Eucalyptus oil among other conooctions will remove wax crayons from walls. With five children, there was always someone getting up to something. Great post!

  11. Miss A managed to get black permanent pen all over the walls, wooden chairs, kitchen benches... and good ol' google informed me that an eraser would work.. and it did! Ta da, all gone :) So long as the surface isn't ridged, a rubber will get it off.

  12. Great story and epitah! I love Mr6's drawing, very cool :)


    WHY whhhhhhhhyyyyyyyy do we stifle their creative urge with the desire for cleanliness.....

    uh huh

    i've walked in your shoes.

  14. I've learned some great stuff from reading these comments - eucalyptus oil and erasers will be part of my 'kit' from now on.

  15. Oh dear...definitely a budding artist though!

    xx Jazzy (visiting via Blog Gems)

  16. Great post! Can't wait until the days I can take (drag) T to the museums. He WILL have culture in his life... Reminds me of being taken round the Mummy displays in London when I was little :)

    I didn't do such a brilliant drawing though!

    [popped in from Blog Gems] x

  17. How brave going to an art gallery! Hope I pluck up the courage to introduce culture to my little one soon! Mr 6's picture is wonderful. I hope Mr 3's future bursts of creativity are not produced on the walls or soft furnishings!! :)
    Here from Blog Gems :)

  18. Well, I think you *may* have seen the time when my mini-Monét took to her own face because she "wanted to be a cat" - all I had been silently praying for was 5 uninterrupted minutes to finish the damn vlog. It BECAME the vlog.

    Priceless. And really, what better way to make use of a poor discarded, forgotten blue crayon.


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