- Princesses lined up side by side on our screen door push-bar.
- Shed door with scrawled happy faces.
- 10,000 random pieces of paper with slides, monkey bars, playgrounds, and other themes-du-jour.
Fortunately, exam table paper wads, colored children's books, stickers on walls, and self-portraits trick out my patient rooms, so, on some level, I will always have pixies in my life who seek to color my world, even if that's not their intent. However, there's something extra special about my own kids' masterpieces that I know I will miss. I must remember to treasure the red pen on my screwdriver, or the blotted marker on my sheets (from a Sharpie Picasso with nothing behind it), because someday my things will be boring and plain, with no guerrilla artistes performing their flit-by fancifications.
It's the whimsicality of it all that gets me. Junk mail might sport a smiley face. Used post-it notes (sometimes with important stuff on them) might have Horse,Version 4.023, galloping across the bottom edge. Claire once saw Charlotte draw a playground slide, so half over her drawings have stick kids (with curly hair) on swervy lines with swervy handles, sometimes with grass and a sun. The colors don't have to be real-world - no, whatever pink highlighter or rainbow pencil that's available will do the trick. And both of the kids went through an R-rated stage where the centrally located, twin circular representations of the shoulders of their drawing-world-girls' dresses looked a lot like Charlotte and Claire were attempting to depict anatomically correct females.
The cut-things-up-into-tiny-pieces phase that I know I should regard as mastery of fine motor skills instead stands out as the Vacuum Cleaner Period for me. The experimental, load-as-much-water-colors-on-one-piece-of-paper stage? AKA Stained Place Mat Period. I especially love that period, since Claire also loved coloring her hands in the brown-purple waste water in which she had been dipping her paintbrush.
So we can't have nice things - and I am ok with that. Plastic-covered expensive sofas and fancy dining room sets might look too sterile in our house. Our table is a relic from Beth's great aunt, and it's great for its abilities to take a beating, to fold out into double its size (though Claire bemoans her uncanny ability to be found at a table leg), and to collect oatmeal in its folded-up state. Once there, the oatmeal hardens into a compound that is not only breakable by nothing short of the Jaws of Life but also being utilized by NASA as a panacea for all things broken outside the space shuttle. The chairs have interesting swirly patterns where tiny fingers have picked off the finish (and then flicked the pieces on the floor, where they join the party started by oatmeal, breadcrumbs, cereal, and whatever else got the invitation).
Now I'd like to go for a run, but not before I remove 3 princesses, a dog, a cheetah and 3 super balls from my sneakers.