April 22, 2013
The one benefit of the crappy spring we’ve been having is that it’s still too miserable to give up on all indoor chores and get outside. As such, buddy-child and I finally painted her bedroom this weekend. It was fine before but my kids have always had the option to choose whatever color they want on their bedroom walls and decorate to their hearts desire themselves. It’s led to some pretty interesting rooms over the years with some wild, dark, cave-like colors but hey, it’s their space and a for me, that’s a form of self-expression. I’m also big on the fact that I don’t clean their bedrooms – their space – their jobs, ever since they were little. Now I obviously helped them when they were small but you might be shocked at how early I actually left it up to them to clean (often with a pretty strict timeline and consequences and privileges attached or it would never have gotten done).
The thing with “re-parenting” an extra child is that you don’t just bring them home to teach them right from wrong (or in my case, they come through the front door, plant their foot on the “soil” in this house and yell the equivalent of refugee); you let them be kids on many levels. That’s the only way it will work. Focusing on rules and privileges and consequences are hugely important but so are all the little things like practicing driving around the block (god help me now), having friends over for all night movies, chips and sleepovers and letting kids pick the color on the bedroom wall. It’s the little things that give that sense of security and trust that allows the kid now living with you to learn from the consequences and privileges and invest in themselves.
So pick buddy-child did. Being the girly-girl that she is (and partly reliving some little girl pieces of herself that I think were possibly denied many years ago), buddy picks hot, neon pink.
What am I going to do? Say no? I’ve never said no to any of the other kids so it’s not exactly fair to say no to her now (even if she is leaving for University in a couple of months). Maybe it’s a test? Or maybe she’s laying claim to the room so that no one else gets it while she’s gone? Or maybe she just likes pink. Either way, her original goal was to paint it ALL bright neon pink – every single wall. After some careful negotiations, we settled on a chalkboard wall, pink on either side of it and a light steel grey on the rest of the walls so that her pink and black furniture would have a chance to stand out! We still have the trim to paint and then accessories to add but we can do that this weekend.
Lo and behold the wonder of a pink room;
The chalkboard paint is actually really neat stuff. Stinks but what a cool surface it leaves. I’m conveniently blocking out all thoughts of what it will be like to paint over this stuff but I figure the chalkboard will stay regardless of what the room becomes after buddy is gone for good (in about two or three more years).