Yes, my 2.5 year old daughter vents it out on the walls. She scribbles. Give her a pack of crayons, and a blank wall, and there shall be peace. I hear the voluble gasps of the same age group mummies who come over. The toddlers and kids who accompany them look at my walls with wide, unblinking eyes. The mummies render threatening whispers to the curious chubby fingers that point to my walls, “That is a bad thing, we do not do this at home”.

What is Wrong with Scribbled Walls?

I wonder. What is wrong with scribbled walls? Or boxes filled with broken toys? Or for that matter a room full of scattered toddler belongings? The house is their home. They live their first years of lives within these walls. This is their space. So just let them be. What good will the ‘No’s’, ‘Don’t’s’ do to the exploring minds? Why restrict absolutely every thing they do?

I will be honest with you. After a long day at work, grabbing a stub of crayon, sitting next to my daughter, making objects/ faces/ animals, while she scrutinizes my work like a school teacher, can be pretty therapeutic and almost meditative. As for the mother daughter bonding? It just goes to a new level altogether.

In our days and time as parents, you do tend to feel guilty just by seeing those kids in the latest Monte Carlo Ad frolicking outdoors. (Trust me, I have looked at that Ad replay many times, with a long face, reminiscing about my childhood days.)

We get needled by the fact of not being capable of doing more than enrolling the kids for countless, and mind you, the costliest play groups, day cares, hobby classes etc.

We find our peace by shoving under the pestering noses, the latest game on the iPad or Note, or ensuring that the maid has recorded every run and re run of Maya the Bee, Tenali Rama, 1001 Nights (Oh! No! No Chota Bheem or the horrifying Shinchan or Doremon), even if she has not done 80% of the house chores!

But.

Why limit or program a child’s unbridled power to innocently question, imagine or create to existing limits?  Scribbled walls will only mean a few grands hard earned money on re-paint work and yes, a precious week’s leave from work for working parents. I admit it will hit you as a logical adult. But that’s exactly my point!

Why do we expect our kids who do not yet know their ABCs or stammer through their 123s, to know about costs and leaves? Why?  Life is one big play-a-thon for them. Why not just let it be?

You find it a big bore to drag your self to every birthday party your child is invited to. A 2 hour animation movie is unbearable for you, but you will gladly live through a Ram Leela! A 3 minute traffic stop is excruciating for you, courtesy, those pesky sellers of every imaginable color book, toy, sticker available on earth. A trip to the mall usually means rigorously re routing the paths so that you skip out the toy and / or book shops.

Why should your child live your current life style? How ever luxurious it might be, at the end of the day, it’s your life style. Do not shove it in her face. Let her choose. Give her a chance to decide.

Your life style does not have space for your child’s innocence. It does not incorporate the simple joys of walking on wet grass or getting wet in the rain. Or may be the non-descriptive joy of buying a 5 rupee color book from that scruffy mischievous looking child at the traffic halt.

Do you ever think of living a day in your child’s life?

Trust me, with all the day cares, hobbies, birthday parties, hanging out at the expensive malls etc all, can be pretty boring for an inquisitive exuberant charged up toddler.

Remember your childhood? When there were none of the attractions and gadgets that we live and breathe today? We were happy then, weren’t we? What is wrong in ensuring that your child knows, remembers, experiences life, unaided by gadgets and digital attractions?
Yes, that may mean being deemed the outcast, or not in touch with the latest ‘In Thing’.

But  you would have successfully raised the last limited edition generation of kids who know life beyond the digital blue screens.

So yes, I vote for a wall full of scribbles, which my daughter uses to tell me a different story every day. The same set of scribbles enact her day’s mischief (read: adventures, or rather, feats), or the new story she learnt at the Playgroup, or introduces me to a new imaginary best friend or animal.

The joy of recording her singing and story telling sessions with her scribbles as a back drop, will any day, be more precious and worth while, than the obvious re-painting work required in the future. And no, do not worry, I am not rolling in gold like Uncle Scrooge, either. You, my dear reader, and I, we are both in the same boat!

The only thing that worries me, is that there is not much ‘Vertical Real Estate’ left in this household. Enter (if God permits) a junior scribbling enthusiast, and the little one will have to scrounge around the rooms to make space for its creative outbursts!

Any one willing to lend me their home, three tops four years down the line from now? Thanks in advance!

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  1. SriEA

    My home is just the same…walls full of scribbles…i think it is a phase between 2 to 3.5 years that kids love to scribble on walls.i didn’t have any objection when we were staying in our own home. But we moved to a rented place close to my office and her school and the house owners(really nice people!) initially were a bit anxious but they let it go!

    Now, at the age of 4, my daughter actually “feels bad” she spoiled all the walls and never writes on it. She is even scared that the house owner uncle who lives abroad may drop in and see her artwork!

    1. SimplyMe

      SriEA, I will eagerly look forward to little
      S “feeling bad” about the scribbles. 😀 As of now, she is going around repeating “Walls No No!”, being the Parrot that she is!

  2. Preethi Chandrasekar

    A beautiful post ! Scribbling on the walls is so freeing! When my daughter started doing this i was ready to prevent her. my mom was visiting and she said that we had been given a free reign on the walls when we were younger and they had painted the walls all brand new after we were done with our “drawing on the walls” years. so its only fair that i let S do her thing. so with her encouragement there were scribbles everywhere and needless to say the landlord made us pay to repaint the walls when we left 🙂 but totally worth it! And i learnt to be less rigid and to participate in my daughter’s world more, thanks to my mom! (she is still reporting with joy about new “drawings” she is discovering at her home from our recent visit there)

  3. R's Mom

    Okay, so I am one of those tiger moms who never allowed R to scribble on the walls..somehow, I was very strict about that, and honestly R never asked to do that..she would scribble on the floor occasionally and I would just ask her to use a sheet of white paper instead 🙂