If You Give a Kid a Sharpie

Let me paint a picture for you.

Imagine this:

Let’s say the heating element in your dishwasher bends.

Bends over.

Over and down.

Like Downward Facing Dog if your dishwasher’s heating element knows yoga, which mine, apparently, does.

No one knows how that happened.

You know no one knows because you asked.

A kid shoving a dog in the dishwasher?

Siblings giving each other rides on the bottom rack?

Small beasts packing the dishwasher with their mother’s cast iron skillets and decorative lawn rocks to “see how much that box can hold?”

Who knows for sure?

It’s impossible to say.

There’s enough denial to circle the Earth at least 5 times.

Nevertheless, let’s say the heating element in your dishwasher bends.

Know what happens next?

I didn’t, either.

But I do now.

If the heating element in your dishwasher bends, it melts a hole in the plastic dishwasher tub.

That’s what happens next.

And, FYI, if a hole melts in the plastic dishwasher tub, the water doesn’t stay inside your dishwasher.

It sure doesn’t.


If a hole melts in the plastic dishwasher tub, the water runs out of your dishwasher through the hole.

It does.

It runs right out of that hole.

But do you know the water is running out of your dishwasher?

No. No, of course you don’t.

Because no one mentioned shoving the dog in the dishwasher “because he likes to lick stuff in there.”

And no one mentioned the joy rides on the bottom rack.

And no one mentioned seeing how much stuff — like iron and rocks — could fit into that box.

So you didn’t know the heating element had bent.

And you didn’t know about the melted hole.

And you didn’t know about the gallons of dirty dish water flooding day after day and week after week under your floor and into the subfloor until you noticed the laminate, bubbling from underneath.

Eventually, though — eventually — you think to yourself that something might be amiss, what with the squishy floor and the bubbles and the new hills and valleys which are perfect for your boys to have matchbox car races and for you to trip next to the stove while hot things like off-brand mac and cheese are cooking away.

Yes, you realize something might be amiss, and you think you Ought to Do Something About That Squishy Floor, but Oh My Gosh, you guys. Oh my gosh. Because even when things Ought to Be Done, there’s still laundry and work and homework and feeding children and forgetting to make them bathe and a thousand Other Things to do, instead.

You have a thousand thousand Other Things to do, so, by the time you consider replacing the laminate on your own, and your neighbors remind you you have home-owner’s insurance, and you’re all, “oh yeahthat’s what insurance is for,” and you call your insurance company, and they call the water mitigation service, and the water mitigation service arrives and starts using words like “saturated” and “destroyed” and “total loss,” you realize you’re going to have replace everything. The entire floor.

IMG_3719You live the next two months with your floor in tatters and enormous fans blowing and making calls to and from (and from and to) the various companies trying to fix the things you’ve wrecked, until you get The Call. The CALL. The Call You’ve Been Waiting For! The call that says, “We’ll be there tomorrow to replace the floors.”

You are grateful.

You are delirious!

You can prove you’re delirious, in fact, because you hand your children Sharpies — permanent markers, in other words — and you tell them to Have At It. “GO FOR IT,” you say. “Draw on the floor! HAVE A BLAST. Those floors are getting ripped up tomorrow, kids.”

And so they do.


They draw away.


They have a blast.

They draw some things you expect, like monsters.


And some things you don’t expect, like Odes to Bob.


Final Resting Place

Rest In Peace
This is were Bob
lies ded. he was a 
good person. Bob lived
a long good life.
he had some odd
This is wat’s
left of his

They make social commentaries, like this, which they wrote in front of our TV:

This is were we whatch things.
This is were our brains rot.

And show an affinity for human anatomy, which we’ve already discussed.


Of course, as soon as your children finish their works of art, you’ll get another call. One that says, “Actually, we can’t replace the floors ’til next week,” which means you’ll have your old floors while you throw a party or two, and your mom-in-law will come over, and she’ll see your floor decorations, and you’ll shrug your shoulders at her, and you’ll thank God she knows how to giggle.

Yes, this is what happens if the heating element in your dishwasher bends and if you give your kids a Sharpie.

And in the end, you’ll decide it was all worth it.



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7 responses to “If You Give a Kid a Sharpie”

  1. Ah yes, they push you to your limit with penis pictures and then they make it all ok with a love note to mum. I almost cried when my daughter came home from the school Christmas fair with a bagful of things she made or won for me just when I was finding her extremely “challenging”.

  2. My parents had a temporary patch of concrete laid to fill a hole before getting their courtyard re-sealed recently. They let me write “X buried treasure” on the temporary patch. I’m 25, and I still appreciated the opportunity.

  3. Love love love! You’ve got to be the most fun mom on the block! Thanks for the constant laughs and encouragement!

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