Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The writing on the wall: a parental dilemma

This week I have felt really bad about living in a rental apartment vs. in our own place; it all comes down to the walls.

Let me explain: Milo has been into drawing; he uses mainly fruit-scented water markers which he adores (although, curiously, he exclusively draws with the light blue, and gives us the others).
As the apartment walls are all white, the inevitable happened this week: on a rare moment in which he was left alone, he left his drawing table and went exploring bigger and greater surfaces! When I got back into the room and saw him so self absorbed in his wall decoration, I had this strong double-reaction: I instinctly gasped, but then again I was so moved by his artistic inspiration!

I needed to teach him not to do it anymore, which required some form of prohibition, hence scolding, and at the same time inside of me I felt there was nothing really wrong, and I wanted him to be able to express himself freely. I grew up drawing on the walls, my parents let me decorate my room however I wished and I am convinced this early freedom of expression was a precious grain for my creativity development.

But what am I to do? Even if the markers are water based, I can't spend evenings washing the walls...It's the first time I scolded my son without really meaning it.


giovanni said...

Wonderful parents you had! Solution? Give him big pieces of paper and put his paintings on the wall. You'll get a nice exhibition...
Un abrazo

Lilian said...

Yes, I guess you could try to stick paper to the walls so he can write on the paper - but then... well, you wouldn't be able to cover all the walls and it might not help.

Oh, well... I don't know what to say. I did scold my oldest son once because of this (he wrote in most walls of our old house - we tried to clean most of it before we sold it, but some writing still remained) and he never did it again... It's so natural for kids just to write on anything, isn't it? Tough call.

Jo Ann said...

You know, there are those "nappes en papier". It's a roll of paper, that normally we use to cover tables for parties.
Once, I was babysitting, and those "nappes" were just grat to cover the coffee table for the wee boy to draw as much as he liked.
It can be useful to protect your walls and let him be creative as you want! :D