Writing on walls

Despite the wet and wild weather we had a lovely half term and a great trip to London. Here is Finch and his cousin scrawling on a giant chalkboard at the South Bank Centre. When Finch saw it, he couldn’t resist shooting me a mischievous look. This was because he and I have been butting heads over his creative outpourings recently. He wrote his own, and his sisters names, in big letters over his bedroom wall the other week. The writing was beautiful but, I explained to him, we don’t write on walls. He nodded and said “Yes Mummy”, but there was a blankness behind his eyes that told me that this rule wasn’t really hitting home.

A couple of days later I found three familiar names written in familiar handwriting on the wooden computer desk. I explained to Finch that we don’t write on walls OR furniture. “Yes Mummy,” he said, nodding emphatically, a fog of incomprehension still behind his eyes. I explained that it’s not ideal to put permanent marks on something we had bought to last a lifetime. I explained that the piece of furniture had been thoughtfully and carefully designed to look and function the way it was, without his writing on it. And I explained that it wasn’t respectful to write on furniture OR walls without permission.

A couple of days later I was carrying a pile of laundry up the stairs when I noticed a stick figure and the word ‘daddy’ had been drawn onto one of my ornaments on the staircase shelf. It was clear I was going to have to change tack. “Finch,” I said. “We don’t write on walls OR furniture OR ornaments. We only write on paper.” Which isn’t true, but was the best I could come up with on the hoof.

“Yes Mummy.”

Another couple of days passed and I was putting our library books in a bag to take back. I happened to flick through one of Finch’s books. He had only written in the book and coloured in some of the pictures! And you can imagine what he said when I asked him about it…”But it’s paper and you said we only write on paper!”

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