If you give a toddler a Sharpie

by Katie on January 30, 2015

Our little family traveled to Texas over the weekend. It was Leyton’s very last free flight, and her sixth consecutive month to fly. She was absolutely ecstatic when we told her we were goingIt was a good, quick trip, and I was able to support some family members who lost a loved one last week.

We were scheduled to leave my parents’ house to head to the airport shortly after naptime, which should have worked out perfectly.

We put Leyton down for her nap in her usual pack-n-play in my mom’s sewing/craft room, Brandon and my dad cooked us up a seafood feast, and we were all enjoying the afternoon and making the most of our last couple hours together.

And then, just an hour and a half or so after naptime started (which usually lasts three hours), my mom burst through the back door, doubled over in laughter, with our toddler behind her, covered in black marker. And now you all know exactly where this is going.

My mom began trying to tell us all the places Leyton had marked in the room she was in, but she couldn’t really get much out between her fits of laughter. But she did manage to let us all know Leyton had “given a makeover” to the 1800s portrait of my mom’s great-grandmother. After that bit of news, Brandon attempted to wipe the black marker off Leyton’s skin, and confirmed what we all suspected, yet feared:  permanent, black Sharpie ink. Awesome.

It kind of sent me into a brief panic attack. Over the portrait my mom mentioned. Not Leyton’s skin. I was picturing a canvas portrait, not a framed print. So when I ran upstairs to survey the damage, I was temporarily relieved. Until I took a look around.

First, let’s not forget that she had been put down in a pack-n-play for her nap. That she had never before attempted, much less succeeding in escaping. In fact, when my mom first announced how she had heard noise upstairs and Leyton met her at the door when she went up to check, a flood of both “what-ifs” and relief washed over me. We don’t have the furniture in that room secured to the wall. Had she opened the door, she could have attempted going down the stairs. There could have been a whole host of not-baby-safe things lying around a sewing room. So in all of this, I did not lose sight of the fact my baby girl was perfectly intact in front of me, albeit covered in her version of war paint.

On this fateful day, as I was placing her in the bed, she had looked up at a plastic popcorn bucket my mom had sitting on a pretty tall little cabinet. She had told me “Want that!” repeatedly. I told her we would get it after her nap. Works every time at home. She was pretty adamant with her “Want that!” demands, but I really didn’t think anything of it.Toddlers demand things they don’t get all the time.

Well, I guess I underestimated both her desire and determination. Because guess what was on the floor, along with a sampling of its contents strewn about?

The plastic popcorn bucket.

And guess what object it contained?

A black Sharpie.

Among the damage:  two pack-n-plays,








one old sewing table,

IMG_6673sewing table







portraitone antique frame and portrait of our family member from the 1800s (Please note the detailed doodling of the eyes, mouth and addition of some crazy hair. I’m not going to lie, we were a little impressed with her artistic ability on that.), one wall and mirror,







dominoone random domino on the floor (I mean, you have to give her props for creativity on that one, right?),






leytonand last, but certainly not least, one baby.

You will have to excuse her lack of interest in photographic evidence. While Mama was scrambling to remove Sharpie from the portrait glass and frame before we had to leave (toothpaste worked like a charm, by the way), she was just hanging out on her daddy’s lap while everyone fed her shrimp. Toddlers have the life, y’all.

leyton with shrimp

Ironically, she was dressed in a shirt that day that said, “She leaves a little sparkle wherever she goes.” Um, she left her “sparkle” alright. And she also put a big, black Sharpie mark right through the middle of the word “sparkle”. I mean, I think she was just taunting us at that point. (By the way, in case anyone finds themselves in a similar predicament, an online source said hand sanitizer would work on clothes. It didn’t, but I tried it on her skin, and it worked like a charm there.)

IMG_6681 IMG_6680 IMG_6676 leyton sharpie

To add to all this, I found the pants she had been wearing in a crumpled pile on the floor. Wet. But her pull-up and the bed were completely dry. Our only speculation can be that she had to go to the bathroom, and couldn’t find a better place to accomplish that in that room. But by golly, she didn’t go in her pull-up while she was awake (which is typical). So I’m really torn on calling all that a parenting win or fail.

And also? when Brandon took her to “go potty” a little later, he found her markings were not limited to exposed areas of the skin. We’ll leave it at that. And again, we have to appreciate her artistic talents here. The bottom of her foot? Each finger and fingernail individually colored? That’s pretty advanced for a nearly-two-year-old, right?

So, on a bright side of all this, we learned Leyton may have taken after her Nana in creativity, drawing and painting. Because we all know it skipped a generation with her mama.

All in all, I’m really glad none of us took ourselves or our “things” too seriously and found the humor and artistic appreciation in The Great Sharpie Incident of 2015. But, Leyton will be scrubbing Nana’s wall on our next visit to Texas. Ha!



















Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: