The other day as I was walking up the stairs, I noticed a big purple line on the white wall. S is only 3, and doesn’t understand the concept of lying, or the need to – so she took great delight in telling me “it was me!” when I asked. Brilliant. Cue a chat where Mummy tries to explain that we only draw on the paper.
I don’t know what it is about Summer, but there just seem to be so many different ways your house can end up a bit battered by children. Perhaps it’s the Summer heat enticing them to splash water around things you’d rather didn’t get wet, or make mud pies in the door way before treading them up the stairs, or accidentally drawing on the wall in their rush to look out the window at something fun goingon outside. This stuff doesn’t seem to happen so much in the Winter months, does it!
Here’s how I’m trying to avoid losing all trace of my damage deposit this Summer:
- Get outdoors as much as possible. S knows she can make as much mess as she wants, while we’re out. We splash in puddles (this is the Great British Summertime, after all), make mud pies at the park, eat messy ice cream in friends’ gardens… anything that keeps the muck out of the house! This one has a double effect because with all that running around outside, she’s too tired for mess once she gets home!
- Allow plenty of dedicated time for playing with water. If I let her “help” with the washing up in the kitchen where I can keep an eye on the puddles, I’ve found S is less likely to sneak off upstairs “for a wee” and be found several minutes later, happily spraying water all over the bathroom. She’s discovered that trick where you put your thumb over the end of the tap and spray it everywhere. Fun for her; not so much for me when I’m trying to avoid stinky, wet carpets!
- Ice pops, not ice creams. I don’t know what it is about ice cream, but it just seems to invite spillages and mess. We tend to have ice pops or similar at home, and save ice cream for when we’re out, and an accidental spillage/throwing incident will damage only leaves and birds, not curtains and walls! There’s a place near us that has 22 flavours of home made ice cream so it’s a much nicer treat to visit there, than to sit at home eating boring old vanilla ice cream. In fact, perhaps the fact it’s so boring is the reason it seems to end up on the wall…
- No squash. I’m trying to wean S completely off squash drinks – not just because of the sugar content, but because I learned from depressing experience that they can make marks on carpets and walls. I usually drink water from an Evian bottle, refilling it throughout the day, so I bought some of the smaller ones for S. It might be more expensive than just filling her usual beaker with water or juice, but the desire to be “just like Mummy” means she’ll happily drink from a mini Evian bottle without asking for juice, and her fluid intake is twice as high as it would be otherwise.
Fingers crossed, we’ll make it to the end of the Summer unscathed. On an unrelated note, does anyone know how to get glitter glue out of a carpet? Asking for a friend…