What goes on in your kids’ playroom when you’re not looking? The good folks at Dropcam - a state-of-the-art video baby monitor – posed this question to me for their Tales From the Playroom series and I summoned up the courage to answer it. Such a sobering moment when you realize that the last thing on your little angel’s mind when she’s left alone in her bedroom is reading War and Peace. But as we know, fear is as natural to parenthood as Cheerios, so I threw my hat in the ring.
Y’know, I think I have fairly decent taste when it comes to home decor. My family’s apartment will never make it onto the pages of Better Homes and Gardens much less go viral on Pinterest, but when I take the time to tidy the place up, it looks decidedly not horrible. There is a kinda-sorta teal color motif going on in our bedroom*, we have some swanky throw pillows adorning our sofa that I got on clearance at a thrift store, and our
hand-me-down vintage kitchen table and side tables hearken back to more modular Mad Men days if Don Draper never had someone following him around with a coaster.
*I mean, our bedspread is teal; that qualifies it as a motif, right? Right.
All things considered, I’ve made our place up. You may not even notice the – ahem – remembrances of grape juices past on our rugs and sofas. The artwork we’ve hung on the walls makes up for the stains we started noticing once Cee hit the toddler years. And hey, I’m willing to write off the coffee splatters she got on the wall (don’t ask) as Pollock-esque. Whatever gets me through the day.
But clearly, all the work I’ve put into making our home the kind of place that is moderately pleasant to look at was lost on Cee. To her, it lacked that certain je ne sais quoi that would really make the colors in the drapes pop. One morning last week, I gave her some paper and colored pencils and told her to go to town with them, but the true artist takes inspiration from the world around her and looks beyond the obvious. Our living room wall spoke more to her than recycled copier paper, so while I was indulging myself with the laundry in my bedroom, she created a mural á la Diego Rivera.
It’s quite an improvement on the aesthetic I had going, no?
I can tell that my daughter surely has a career in art ahead of her because she did not spare a square inch for her masterpiece. She covered the entire wall with circles and lines and used a respectable variety of colors. I interpreted her work as a critique on the socioeconomical implications of worldwide oil dependency. However, when I asked her what she had tried to convey with her mural, she said it was ducks.
In the grand tradition of artists who are not recognized as genius in their own time, though, her father and I decided that the mural needed to be taken down the next day. It turns out that I am more attached to the Spartan clean-wall look than I had thought, and her mural – while well-intentioned – simply clashed with what I had going.
Perhaps the Magic Eraser took with it the early work of a genius, but this is an apartment and we’re very keen on collecting our security deposit once we move out.
We are, after all, a family of starving artists.
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