Free Spirits

When my kids were little, they positively loved face painting–or in many cases–face drawing.  For our house, the discovery of “Washable Markers” was a fun adventure that led to a ton of…ahem…artistic body art.  Perhaps many of you out there will shutter at the thought of allowing a child to draw on their faces or hands with markers of any kind–but oddly enough, it didn’t bother me….provided they used the correct markers. Problem was–they just kept getting them all mixed up.

I remember falling asleep to my kids “painting” my toenails, only to wake up and find that my entire right leg–from knee to toe–was colored neon pink. Yeah, just one leg…in the dead of summer, when legs tend to be–you know–out there a bit more. Oh, and they used a highlighter—which is NOT a washable marker. Looked like I had some sort of skin condition that certainly needed professional attention.  I pretty much had to just stay home till that stuff wore off, to avoid the gasps and unsolicited medical advice.

Then, there was the time that April wanted to be a kitty for the afternoon. No big deal. She had little felt ears and a black braided yarn tail. The ensemble was nearly complete. All the little dear needed was a black nose. No problem. The Black Licorice marker washes off like a dream. So I drew the sweetest kitty triangle on her pretty little nose and colored it in solid, shiny and black. Perfect. She played all afternoon with yarn balls, meowing and lapping at her food—pretending to be a kitty-cat.

So…do you feel it coming? Yeah, here goes.

That night at bath time to my dismay–no horror, I found that the black didn’t wash off…not even a tiny bit. I found that in my enthusiasm to facilitate free expression in my 4 year old, I’d grabbed the wrong marker. I had grabbed…a faded label…Sharpie.

Now, I’m a good mom, and a good citizen but I wasn’t entirely certain that there wasn’t some law, somewhere, prohibiting people from defacing their own children with permanent ink. And do you want to know exactly how long it takes to get permanent marker off the nose of a small child if you are NOT willing to scrub the skin off at the same time? The answer is…about 4 days.

So we decided that all we could do was make the best of it. At Church, she’d been assigned to give a talk in Primary. We changed it from a short little rendition of Jonah and the Whale, to a stellar performance of Daniel in the Lion’s Den–with a real growling lion. Everyone thought it was the best talk ever and that I was mom-of-the-year for even letting her…dress up.

Little did they know that I was just a wack-job lady that should learn to read labels more closely…and never be left alone with a Sharpie.



12 Replies to “Free Spirits”

  1. Oh, I love this one. I had one of the kids get a sharpie once and color all over their brothers faces, chests, legs and arms. You are right, about 4 to 5 days. Church was interesting as they told stories about their “tatoos”. I never owned a marker in the house again until they were teenagers!!! and just so you know, the same boys washed their sisters hair with Menthalatum. Oh yeah, I so don’t miss those times!!!! (other times, yes, but not those particular ones!)

  2. That is a great story. I think I wrote on my little sisters face with a sharpie once. Good times!

  3. I always think abou that HUGE bucket of random markers you guys had, and I think it’s a good idea. That is of course, until I found my pretty living room chairs covered in pen. 🙁 Now I’m thinking I better wait until they’re a little bit older. 😉 Love your story. 🙂

  4. OH. MY gosh. How did you EVER get that out of her hair without getting it in her eyes?!! Kids are nuts some times–just nuts. My nephew painted his own face with Desitin once–THAT was quite an adventure. Honestly, though, don’t you wish you had a picture of those “tatoos?” :}

  5. We got a huge set of them when the kids were older and I kept thinking how great it was that THAT pack wasn’t around when they were little. It would have been a graffiti fest for sure! No one would have been safe…

  6. Still have the bucket–but so many of them are dried out now. We should go through it. Yeah, remember the high-HIGH shelf we had that bucket on, way back then? For goooood reason. haha.

  7. That’s a cute photo of Lyndi and April. I don’t know if I’ve seen that one before!

  8. I looked for one of you with a painted face…alas, I haven’t found one yet. Your skin was more sensitive to craziness so we didn’t really write on you much–if you’ll recall. It would likely still be on you if we had. :}

  9. Oh I got “written” on… only it wasn’t with marker. It’s doesn’t really work as much these days, but sometimes I can get something to show up on my arms or on my legs.

  10. Ahhh… the fun we had with that bucket-o-markers. 🙂 You’re an awesome Mom! 😀

    I love that you had April talk about Daniel and the Lion’s Den. Perfect! Ha ha ha!

  11. Way to make the best of it Launi! I really hope I would have had the same reaction (meaning probably not). But uh, we use Sharpie’s a lot at work and all these years later I have the secret to your dilemma….rubbing alcohol, takes it right off. (At least it does now, maybe the formula was different then.) Either way this makes for a neat story.

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