I was overwhelmed to say the least.
Sick to say the most. I have had a few of those, “oh crap – what are the kids up to” moments in my career as a mom. I have walked into a room full of powder while the kids are throwing it into the air, giggling, and saying “It’s Snowing!” when they were small. I found Chee’s name etched into our kitchen table in her backwards pre-k handwriting. But nothing compares to what I found last time we were trying to sell our house.
It was 2008 and we had our house up for sale. The kids were 2 and 4 years old.
We had painters over a week or two before to help with fresh paint. We had an offer on the house, but it was contingent upon their house selling – so we were still actively showing it. I was working downstairs while the kids were playing upstairs. Then I got that mom feeling of “the kids have been awfully quiet” and went up to check on them.
This is what I found!
It took a series of baths, some scrubbing, and a banning of all markers in the house! The markers used were my sharpies and scrapbook markers. Seriously, how do you remove sharpie from a wall? I had no idea. The markers didn’t come off of anything easily. Mr. Clean magic eraser helped some, but really after hours of scrubbing the walls we resorted to just re-priming the walls where the markers were and re-painting. Mad props to my husband though – the house was fixed and showing ready 3 days later by the weekend.
I recall going up the stairs and seeing a little writing on the hall. I yelled out to the kids, “Who wrote on this wall” and my son replied, “Which Wall?” I was about to say, “You know which wall” but then I walked into his room. WOW. I HAD NO WORDS. I walked around almost in a dream-like state overwhelmed and just numb. I’m so glad I was numb, it made handling the kids much easier. I have a temper normally, so I’m very glad that I just went numb. I just went downstairs and grabbed my camera and went back up and shot that video. I wanted to show it to my husband at work, to my mom, to our real estate agent, and to my best friend. I didn’t realize that years later I’d be glad that I had taken the video when I did.
The kids are now 6 and 8. They have seen this video countless times and they swear they remember it. I can say that because of “the mess” the kids haven’t written on walls ever since. I think a big part of that was that I took all markers away – like up to the top of the refrigerator for about a year. They had crayons, but they had to earn my trust back on markers. I still keep the sharpies up high, but now they’re old enough to climb to get them. I have a no markers outside of the kitchen rule too.
With our current house on the market, it has me a little jumpy when I encounter any mess. Thankfully now when I hear quiet it’s because they’re reading or playing on an app on my phone. Oh how times have changed, yet I’m sure as they grow up the messes will be more emotional and less physical. When those days arrive (and they will soon!) I know I’ll long for the days when I could fix the mess with only some paint and a paintbrush.