Jeff and Katie were three and two respectively when we bought our first house and they moved out of kiddie beds and hand-me-down sheets to big beds and brand new bedding sets that I was more excited about than they were.
Jeff had graduated from his Mickey Mouse obsession and moved onto dinosaurs and Katie loved everything about Belle from Beauty and the Beast. I remember how excited I was to find the perfect comforter and sheet sets for them at Target and for a price I could afford.
Moving into a new house with two toddlers underfoot quadrupled my frazzled and frenzied approach to unpacking and settling in. I was glad that the kitchen was within earshot of their bedroom and I could listen for mischief while I unpacked the pots and pans. I smiled to the sound of quiet, mentally patting myself on the back for having such well-behaved kids and I wondered what imaginative game they were playing.
I opened the door and two sets of blue eyed guilt glanced up from between the twin beds. I scanned the room; the walls were still white, the carpet was still blue, and there was no sign of scissors or missing chunks of hair.
Confused, I stepped further into the room, “Your sheets! Oh no, what did you do to your sheets? They are covered with blue ink.”
“How could you ruin your brand new sheets? I’ll never get the ink out. You two are in time out until I say otherwise. Do not leave this room!”
For the next thirty minutes I paced between the kitchen and their bedroom and tried to calm down. I’m sure I sounded like the teacher in a Peanuts cartoon and all they heard was “Wah wah…” every time I opened their door to scold them.
I opened the door one last time, “Ok guys, I’m done being mad now, but before your time out is over is there anything else you want to tell me?”
They stood facing each other, turned toward me, and pulled their shirts up in unison to reveal tummies decorated in blue ink.
I stared at them and did the only thing that made sense. I burst into laughter and captured the artwork with a picture.
The photo has faded, but the memory has not.