Permanent Pens & Other Dangerous Objects

Did you know that permanent pen markings can be removed from a leather couch?

Wait, let me back up.

Several days ago, our little alarm clock Aaron came bounding into our bedroom at some way-too-early time (the exact time is irrelevant – it’s always way too early). “Go play in your room,” my groggy husband told our son. Wonder of wonders, Aaron obediently walked out to give us some extra sleep. If you are thinking to yourself, “Uh-oh, bad parenting move,” your judgement is better than ours were that morning.

Two hours later, Aaron came back into the bedroom. I awoke from my lovely sleep, and lazily opened my eyes to see our son completely covered in red markings. At first, I panicked, thinking that it was blood. To my relief, I realized it was only pen. I should have stayed panicked.

When we opened the bedroom door and walked through the rest of the house, we discovered a disaster.

Permanent red pen, uncapped, lying on the floor.

Bright red scribbles EVERYWHERE.

On the tablecloth. On dining room chairs. On coffee tables. On the carpet. On the leather couch. On every single chair in the living room. Some pieces of furniture had one single, prominent streak of red, as if marked by a dog peeing to claim his territory. And for good measure, red pen covered several new books (that belonged to someone else).

To my credit, on the way to full-blown hyperventilation, I reminded myself, “I love my son. These are just things. I love my son. These are just things.”

It is also worth noting that we were about to leave for a weekend trip that morning, necessitating about a hundred million other items on my To Do List, like packing and doing laundry. “Scouring pen stains from upholstery” was not on the list. But that is what we did that morning. Oh, the price we paid for some extra sleep.

So then, the lessons of that day?

1) Keep pens and other potential tools of destruction under lock and key; 2) If a young child is independently playing quietly for more than five minutes, worry! 3) Don’t invest in any expensive, valuable things until all kids turn 18 and move out of the house; and 4) Leather cleaning wipes really do work.

Several days later, I overheard our son reminding himself of the permanent pen episode, “No no pen on couch. No no pen on table. No no pen on chairs. Amen.” He really did say amen. Toddlers are crazy.

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