Homeownership and parenthood seem like they should pair seamlessly together, but in reality a preschooler can ruin your dwelling with a permanent marker and a bit of artistic panache before you can say, “I’m trying to cook dinner.”
Toddler graffiti on painted walls is an easy fix. A 2-year-old’s artwork on wallpaper is there for posterity. I know this from personal experience.
In case you ever wondered, those Magic Erasers they sell at Fred Meyer aren’t really magic. They don’t work on closet doors, leather couches, or wallpaper that looks like something Mrs. Keaton from “Family Ties” picked out.
Luckily, my home’s signature style is Ikea-Meets-Preschool, so kid embellishments just add to the decor.
But my husband and I have worked hard to provide a nice home for our family. Is it too much to ask for our house to not look like “Elmo’s World”?
At least we have living room furniture. Our first year of our homeownership, visitors would open our front door and see a red and yellow Cozy Coupe and a toy kitchen gracing our living room. Both items were from garage sales.
I felt like I was in good company, though, because when my son and I would go on play dates, our friends had living rooms/playrooms, too.
Nothing says “welcome home” like toys all over the ground.
My husband loves to point out that if we could wave a magic wand and go on an Ethan Allen shopping spree, the fun wouldn’t last long. Our kids would start gleefully plotting new ways to destroy our home before the delivery man had left the driveway.
I’m just guessing here, but probably they would start by playing with the gigantic cardboard boxes. Then they’d move on to tearing up Styrofoam. By the time I had taken the plastic off my brand-new coffee table, I’d already need to get out the vacuum.
So maybe really old couches aren’t so bad after all. Sure, the springs are shot, but they make great trampolines. Plus, they come with snacks! (That is, if you’re not too particular about where your crackers come from.)
Not having a coffee table means there’s more room to play Wii. Old carpet means I don’t flip out when I find mashed banana.
Our La-Z-Boy is comfortable and can handle every bodily fluid in existence. It’s like the superhero of recliners.
And our artwork? It’s priceless, even though it drives me crazy.
Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at teachingmybabytoread.com.