surviving preschool: burnt sienna

by ck on January 4, 2013

They say that you don’t find out who you really are–what you’re really made of–until you have kids. I think what they mean to say is that you don’t find out how annoying you are until your kids can throw it back in your face. The more oblivious they are to this mirroring ability, the harder it is to take.

For instance, I’ve learned that I use the phrase, “In fact,” a lot. I also start sentences with “You know what I think?,” or “It was really ____ (neat, amazing, funny, disgusting, etc.).”

ONE: “It was really gross that you got TWO’s poopy on your nose, Mama. In fact, please don’t come near me.”


ONE: “You know what I think, Mama? I think you can color with these crayons. I don’t want to anymore.”

Having kids has forced me to accept that I’m anal about things unworthy of neurosis. I had no idea how deep-seeded the problem was until I bought my 4YO daughter the 150 crayon caddy. The first thing ONE did after being presented with this exquisite array of color was to pick out the glitter crayons. (A friend of mine gave her the 16 pack of glitter crayons for her birthday and they are still the only ones that she cares about.)

I tried to talk her into experimenting with some of the other colors. I mean, C’MON, there are 134 other non-glittering colors that are just as important. She treated them like they were all Burnt Sienna or Yellow-Green. She looked at me and actually raised an eyebrow.

All was soon forgiven and she invited me to color with her. I’d barely gotten the bottom of Cinderella’s gown done in the first shade of blue (I like to blend several colors) before she was ready to turn the page.

ME: “But I’m not done, Pea.”

ONE: “Yes, you are.”

Seriously? I thought we were beyond this. She was no longer eating crayons, so wasn’t she old enough to finish one picture before starting another? Whatever. I reminded myself that I was the adult and backed off. But then she didn’t put them away as she finished with them. This meant that she’d color a page, leave the crayons in the crease and then turn to the next image that interested her. So all of the used crayons were stuck in the book, absorbing the pressure as she pressed down to color something else.

It was more than I could take.

What if they broke? Clearly she wasn’t ready for the responsibility of the 150 caddy. Maybe she needed to see the episode of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood where they went through the crayon factory. It was like she read my thoughts. She looked right at me and peeled the wrapper off of a perfectly good crayon for no reason. She hadn’t even used it yet. It certainly didn’t need to be sharpened.

It was time to Put. The. Crayons. Away. She accomplished this by shoving them into the plastic caddy. A crayon broke. I actually gasped.

ME: “You know what I think, Pea? I don’t think you’re ready for these crayons yet.”

ONE: “You know what I think, Mama? I think you can color with these crayons. I don’t want to anymore.”

I grabbed a coke and gave myself a time-out. I hate it when she’s right. They were her Crayolas, not mine. I gave them to her as a gift and she needed to be able to enjoy them freely, in any way that moved her. If I wasn’t careful, I’d turn her off to the beauty of brand new crayons.

Somehow it took having a kid to realize that I still need to work on my sharing techniques.






Faith September 9, 2008 at 4:26 pm

I relate to this more than you’ll know and I have no children. I think i might be the mom that buys one 150 caddy for me and one 150 caddy for my child.

Ink Chick September 9, 2008 at 4:32 pm

first of all, you really crack me up. do you remember us buying coloring books in college. maybe it was a calendar to color? i know there were bears. so i’m familiar with your love of crayons. i love that you took a pic of the new caddy.

second, i think of that episode of mr. rogers quite often. it was my favorite. i say, “do you remember when mr. rogers took us to the crayon factory” to which shaun just sighs and reminds me that it was a tv show. witch i think lead to my love of factories. i loved the pcn tour channel.

third, blog entries like this make me think i should just take my blog down. lol

love you more than red-violet
BTW my new favorite color is jazzberry jam! they didn’t make ‘em like that when we were kids.

Erica September 9, 2008 at 5:23 pm

Don’t feel bad, I do the same thing. When we take Donnie to Chuck E Cheese, I used to suggest to him which rides/games he should play and if he stayed on one for more than two rides (which he often does) I would try to coax him off to do something else. I never realized I did that until Duane mentioned that Chuck E Cheese was his world and, especially since he doesn’t have as much freedom to make decisions completely on his own in the “real world” that I should let him roam free and play however he wants. It’s a work in progress…

Ink Chick September 10, 2008 at 10:36 am

after reading this yesterday, shaun and i sat down and colored. i couldn’t help but think you would have been pulling your hair out watching us play. half the crayons had broken tips and half now have teeth marks. lol. we haven’t graduated from the 6 pack of crayola yet.

Ink Chick September 10, 2008 at 10:38 am

p.s., i posted your blog on my mom’s board and they all loved it and asked that i post them as you write them. i told them to subscribe, so we’ll see who does.

faemom September 12, 2008 at 2:42 am

OMG! I hate when they throw your words back to you! And if it wasn’t so late, I would actually be able to come up with some examples. I’ve actually hidden all my good art supplies (my favorite crayons, glitter, color pencils).

talesofaswallow September 23, 2008 at 1:42 pm

I love how honest you are- it is so refreshing! Thanks for sharing your difficult moments in such a funny and eloquent way!

Country-Fried Mama March 18, 2009 at 10:02 am

Actually, my little mirror has taught me that I say “actually” far too often. And actually, mistreatment of crayons bothers me more than it should.

tlc March 18, 2009 at 10:38 am

It’s good to see a rerun post! I read this in the archives, and it is definately one of my favorites.

I relate to “What if they broke? Clearly she wasn’t ready for the responsibility of the 150 caddy.” more than you can imagine! I had a very similar experience with the 24 pack of Play Doh.

it’s HIS Play-Doh, not mine if he wants to *wince* smoosh colors together…

KS March 18, 2009 at 11:18 am

I LOVE that post. I think that may have been one of the first ones I read. Fantastic.

Gibby March 18, 2009 at 11:49 am

Other than your ridiculous talent for writing, I think we have a lot in common. It has taken my husband to point out that Poonch is NOT me and that I should just let things…go.

And like CFM, I have come to find that I say “actually” way too much as well. And “because I said so.” Which I swore I would never say.

wild4words March 18, 2009 at 12:33 pm

oh crap… I hate it when I see my phrases bounced back at me. Had a good laugh over this one… Thanks, I needed that! ;-)

Jen March 18, 2009 at 12:36 pm

You know what I think…..I think I may have done the same thing and taken the crayons away…..LOL

And I hate it when they turn the page before “we” are finished our page.

Love it!

sunnymom March 18, 2009 at 12:43 pm

I gave up trying to keep crayons in the box and neat. I bought a very large pencil box and dump them all into there. Then when we color I don’t have to worry about putting them back in their spot, which I would prefer but there no persuading Tooters. After having her I learned that some things really are worth ignoring or not paying attention to. Like the play-doh and crayons.

She got really good at throwing my words back at me. We were riding our bikes yesterday and she told me after we crossed the street,

“Mom get up on the side walk with me it would make me feel so much safer. Besides it is not proper bike riding to be in the road where you can get hit and become a grease spot. I dont want to visit your grease spot in front of the gas station.”

And away she went. OMG am I ever in for it, and she is only 7 lol.

D March 18, 2009 at 1:42 pm

It’s so hard when they are right and we have to check ourselves.

Sounds like you handled yourself well though.

Becca March 18, 2009 at 2:38 pm

You know, as always, I laughed as I was reading this. It was not only because I can totally relate but because I gasped when she ripped the paper off in the story. I was thinking in my head… why… oh why do they need to do that? I remember when my mom bought me a 64 pack of crayons it was like it was Christmas. I LOVED NEW crayons!!! I would go home and take them out one at a time. I would then place it back in the box as carefully as I could. I would get so upset if it broke. I even sharpened it on the back of the box. When this happened it was because the crayon could color no longer. The “tip” was meeting the paper. I would peel just the right amount of paper off and assure that the crayon was again placed in the box with the utmost care.

My kids throw most of their crayons on the floor, break them on purpose and even take the paper off. More then once I have told them that I will never buy them crayons again! Of course I do but I just do not get why they cannot respect the crayon!


Please visit me at

MsBurns March 18, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Don’t lie. Did you repost this because ONE was given more glitter crayons? I’m sorry already. Won’t happen anymore. ;-)

Ink March 19, 2009 at 12:00 am

This is beautiful. You are such the epipany woman…I’m always learning from you. And from my kids, I learned that I overuse the word “actually.” So much that now when I say, “X, Y, Z” my sons go, “Acccccccccccccccctually, Mom…it’s A,B,C.” Drives me mad.

Ink March 19, 2009 at 12:01 am

Ooh, Gibby, you say “actually” too much, too! Maybe we can do a 12-step program or something!

Court March 19, 2009 at 12:28 am

It can be so hard when you thought they were wayyy past that but they go back to it!!!

KH January 4, 2013 at 3:04 pm

I could have written this. Except my son is 1 and doesn’t play with crayons yet. Maybe I’ll get myself crayons whenever he gets some, then I can just be anal retentive with mine.

Tiffany January 10, 2013 at 12:13 pm

There are so many times that I catch myself being upset over things like this…that drive ME nuts but make no difference to the kids.

But seriously? Don’t mess with the crayons.

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