Touch of Spice

Color your world

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I spent part of my Saturday scrubbing red crayon off the door and the wall.

It was a pretty traumatic experience.

I was OK, because it didn't take much scrubbing on my part to erase the evidence of Katie's passage.

Katie wasn't OK. Evidently I was destroying art.

So, while I was concentrating on the wall, she was busy putting her mark on the other (white) door.

When I explained that we color on paper, not anything else, she looked at me with this "better humor mama look."

I later found traces of red on the bottom of her wagon.

I suspect this habit is going to be a little difficult to break.

Katie loves to color. She doesn't even like coloring books -- just a blank sheet of white paper so her creation is entirely original.

She was ecstatic when I put the first one on the refrigerator and not so happy when she realized there wasn't a place for her next 12.

She was so mad that she wadded one up herself, took a bite out of it and threw it in the trash.

She's improving from just drawing scribbles to drawing apples and balloons -- well, scribbles that she calls apples and balloons.

I'm not sure where she should be in development for her age. I just compare her to her little sister, which makes Katie way advanced. Nikki pretty much just eats the crayons, which I believe is Katie's fault. For a long time the only thing she'd do with a crayon is use it as lipstick. Then she progressed to using it as lipstick on Nikki.

I'm not so good with a blank piece of paper. I need lines and direction, but when Katie brought me paper and a crayon I filled the page with everything I could -- stars and hearts and smiley face and trees and balloons.

It didn't seem that impressive to me, but Katie was in awe of my abilities.

Now, she just bring me the stuff and walks away.

I got her point. When you've got children, sometimes it's your duty to be childlike and share with them the things they enjoy.

That means filling the little tea cup with water over and over so she can pretend she's a big girl sipping daintily out of a little cup.

That means doing Whinnie the Pooh's stoutness exercises with your child during that portion of the movie.

That means crawling behind the couch and jumping out with a loud "boo" so many times your side aches and you feel nauseous.

That means -- on some days -- just giving in and walking through all the puddles.

Ahh, the joys of parenthood!

I sit down and color with her a lot. It takes me back to a simpler time and makes me remember that whatever else is happening, life -- and children -- are to be enjoyed.

Of course, Katie's tea party from "Alice in Wonderland" approach to coloring is pretty hard on her anal mother.

I'm an in-the-lines, coordinating-colors type of girl, which is why it's tough on me when two minutes into the process, Katie trades crayons. I go from flesh color for faces to green.

I adjust (grudgingly) and re-start my meticulous work on another portion of the picture.

Then, Katie trades books with me, giving me her latest effort and adds her own touches to mine.

The result is a work of love, not art, so I have to get over my original intentions and remember the whole point of sitting on the floor and coloring with a two-year-old.

The whole point -- in Katie's mind and that's the important one -- is that I'm with her and sharing a project she enjoys.

I really do get it, but damn, that rock wall was almost perfectly blended with two complimentary shades (and one of Katie's selections) giving it depth and dimension. I mean, I was taking full advantage of Crayola's 64.

I'm over it. Even now when I think about it, I can hear Katie talking to me and trading me crayons and I can see the two of us huddled together over a coloring book. That's what's important.

Color me happy (and don't think Katie hasn't tried).

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