You can lead em to the crayons but you can’t make ’em color

When I was a little girl, I was…well…a bit neurotic. I organized EVERYTHING. My socks were color-coordinated and my bedspread wrinkle-less. I could tell you exactly where I got each music box in my collection, and I could give you the names and ages of all of my sixteen barbie dolls. I could’ve picked the crayon labeled magenta out of my crayon box with my eyes closed.

While I have certainly still retained some of those tendencies (one of our home’s mantras is “everything has its place”), I would venture to say that I’m not quite as bad as I used to be. I don’t mind a few dishes in the sink and I even have a “junk drawer!” But despite my recent personal growth, my reaction to the following event still took me by surprise…

Today I bought Rae one of those big boxes of crayons. Red violet and cerulean blue, wisteria and periwinkle…all the wonderful, exaggerated, vibrant colors. I was so excited to give it to her. I thought, in my obsessive-compulsive bliss, “This will be great! She’ll get to open the box, reorganize all the crayons in the patterns she wants, sharpen them if they get a little dull….” But as my thought were trailing, my eyes were bringing me back to reality…

I looked down and Rae had DUMPED out all the crayons and was happily scribbling all over the still crisply-cornered box. “NO!!!!” I screamed in horror, “What are you doing!!!!? You should only take one out at a time and then put it back exactly where you got it from!!!!!”

She looked at me like I had three heads.

Isn’t it funny how our children can be from our own flesh and blood, our own DNA, be raised in our own home, and yet be so different from us!!!? Honestly, I’m really glad that she’s more free-spirited and adventurous than I ever was. I’m thrilled that she marches to her own drum. She is who she is. And even though it might drive me nuts that she can’t pick out her crayons with a blindfold on, as long as she still rips out her picture and says, “Here, mom–I drawed this for you”, I’ll be happy.

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3 thoughts on “You can lead em to the crayons but you can’t make ’em color

  1. Oh, this is soooo true! There are so many concessions made every day in my house because I repeatedly remind myself that “this is not of eternal significance”. But, oh, to have a neatly organized house…

  2. I found your blog from a Facebook post. My name is Janet Saxon. I knew your husband when he was a small boy; even taught him in Sunday School one year. My daughter, Caryn, still considers Brandon to be one of her dearest friends; she and her brother Adam, along with Brandon and Jonathan, spent many fun days playing together. This post about the crayons had me laughing and I would like to share a MOMent from my mommy days. My son Adam was 2 years old and I bought him a beautiful wooden shape sorter. I sat down with him and patiently showed him how to open the lid, take out the wooden shapes, close the lid and put the shaped blocks into their respective matching holes. He watched carefully. With much pride, I dumped them out, closed the lid, and shoved the box toward him, saying “Now you do it.” He opened the lid of the box, put all the shaped blocks inside, and closed the lid. I said, “No, Adam! That’s not the way you do this!” By then, however, he was walking away, looking for something more challenging to do, I imagine. I love the way kids think. So uniquely created. I like you blog very much.

  3. Oh Shannon. That just makes me laugh. I remember when Collin was little. We bought him new crayons, because he would ask for them when we were out. And we bought him super hero coloring books, Toy Story coloring books, etc. But we could never, never get him to color. He was just too busy for that. One day when it was very quiet, and that is never a good sign, I discovered that he had taken a tube of my lipstick and “detailed” every toy in his playroom. The headlights of his Tonka trucks, the grooves in his toy mower, …………… You can buy the perfect crayons, load up on the great variety of coloring books, but you can never account for inspiration!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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