Thursday, January 7, 2010

(Sharpie) Face Painting

When my day goes smoothly, I try to claim some credit and optimistically think: "Maybe all my nagging and bitching is finally paying off. Things are definitely getting easier. Yes, I'm a good mom."

Yesterday was one of those days. The house was clean, the laundry started, dinner was in a Crock Pot, I found time to workout, and Zoe was behaving. When Zach got home from school, he practiced piano, and then immediately got started on homework. At 4:30, before I walked out the door to take Charlie to his violin lesson, I told him to move the laundry from the washer to the dryer, start a new load, turn the oven on at 5:50, and keep an eye on Zoe. I know, I was potentially setting myself up for disaster by giving multi-step instructions, but I am at the point where I will risk a few articles of my own clothing in order to teach the kid some self-sufficiency and responsibility.

Instead of walking aimlessly around Walgreens to kill the half-hour that Charlie's lesson takes, I decided to test my luck and get my salt-covered, anxiety-inducing dirty car washed. Bracing myself for a long line at the carwash, I was ecstatic to discover only one car in line ahead of me. Now I was starting to get freaked out. How did my spectacular parenting skills have an impact on the carwash line?

Since I still had a few minutes to spare, I called Zach to make sure that the laundry had been moved and that Zoe was behaving, and was assured by him that: "Yes, everything is fine. I did the laundry and I'm still doing homework. Zoe is playing by herself and not bothering me."

We managed to get home five minutes early because there wasn't any traffic to deal with, and I walked in the door, relaxed as can be and ready to throw breadsticks into the preheated oven. That's when I noticed Zoe's beloved Rubbermaid step stool, positioned so she could reach the pen drawer.

There was a blue Sharpie pen lying on the counter, but where was Zoe? Had she been messing with my grocery list again, writing down things like "monkey butts" and "500 boxes of animal crackers?"

Suddenly, she jumped out from behind a corner and yelled: "Hi mom! Surprise!"

And that's when I saw what the blue pen was used for, and realized that amidst all of my nagging and bitching, I never specifically said, "Don't be an idiot by drawing on your own face."

"Umm, what is that? Why did you draw on your face? With a Sharpie!"

"What? I drew on what? My face? That's crazy. I didn't draw on my face." She was actually convinced that there was nothing on her face.

"Go look in the mirror, and then tell me why your cheek is blue. Unless a blind, psycho clown stopped by to face paint while I was gone, I'm pretty sure you drew on your own face. Plus, you left your step stool out again."

After she smiled at herself in the bathroom mirror and admired her artwork, and saw the step stool, she finally admitted guilt. "Well, I think it's pretty. It's blue!"

Lucky for her, the Sharpie was a non-bleeding, and non-permanent, fine point pen, so with a little bit of scrubbing, the evidence was gone. If it had been the King Size Sharpie, she would have had to go to school looking like she was a member of The Blue Man Group. Fortunately, I'm a fabulous parent and not a moron, so I don't keep King Size Sharpie's in the house, because the temptation to sniff them would be overwhelming.

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