Sticky Little Hand Prints

Late last night, the girls were asleep, and while I was in the master bedroom, I heard some furious whispers coming from the stairwell. I crept out to investigate, and saw no one there. I knew it had to be Ed making those noises, but at the same time I wondered what in the world was making him talk to himself?

As I wandered downstairs, Ed soon appeared with a spray bottle of Formula 409. Now I knew exactly what he was up to. There were several sticky little hand prints on the wall going up the stairs, and Ed had spotted them.

About a year before Ed and I were married, I brought up the idea of adoption. After having breast cancer, chemotherapy, taking the drug Tamoxifen for five years, and then having huge, orange-size uterine fibroids removed along with part of an ovary, I feared that I wouldn’t be able to have children. Ed and I agreed that if it turned out that I was infertile, we would go the adoption route.

When Ed and I started trying to have a baby, it didn’t take long before we found out Lily was on her way. I was unable to have my regular mammograms when I was pregnant and breastfeeding, so we didn’t try to have our second baby until I had that mammogram and everything checked out okay. Emmy was on her way three months after my mammogram. My fears, obviously, never came true.

And so when I saw those sticky hand prints on the wall last week, I was happy to be in my own, toy-strewn, chaotic house with sticky hand prints on the wall. This is the kind of house I’ve always dreamed of having. I resisted cleaning off those sticky little hand prints. A house full of little ones with sticky hands and mouths, runny noses, and giggles is exactly what I want.

Being sentimental about those sticky hand prints didn’t cause me to stop Ed in his tracks, however. Eventually, I would have gotten out the Formula 409 myself. Sticky hand prints on the wall can only be sentimental for a limited time. Plus, I have a rule…never interrupt your husband when he is in cleaning mode, or he might never be moved to clean again!


“Mommy,” Lily tells me, “I drew a beautiful picture on the wall to show everyone what a good artist I am.”

Sure enough, she did draw a beautiful picture on the wall. AAAAAAAH! I have been telling her since she was old enough to hold a crayon that we only draw on paper. She has NEVER (never say never or always) drawn on the walls, or furniture, or in books before. I was so proud of her when I would see books from the library that some unruly kid had scribbled all over, or furniture at a garage sale with crayon marks on the side. My kid never drew on anything she wasn’t supposed to. That sure came back to bite me in the butt.

Ever since I became a parent, I have learned that as soon as I have something figured out, it changes. I’m also learning not to yell. It doesn’t work. I always feel horrible after I yell. And I would have woken up the baby, who was napping.

Before the cleaning supplies came out of the closet, I really wanted to take a picture of the wall. It really was a cute drawing! Plus, wouldn’t it have looked great in this post? But if Lily saw me with the camera, would she draw on the wall again? The last thing I need is more cleaning to do!

Lily just cried and cried when I washed her drawing off the wall. That was almost punishment enough. She was serious about showing people her artwork. I’d like to get some butcher paper and tape it to the wall for a mural backdrop. I love that Lily spends hours drawing, coloring, and cutting paper. The second part of her punishment was telling her if she ever drew on the wall again, I would take her crayons away. I’d hate to have to follow through.

I’m almost positive she’ll come home someday with a tattoo. (Wait a minute, need to go into denial phase…my little girl will always be my sweet, little Lily!)

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