Not so long ago, I used to care if Cole drew on himself like a piece of canvas.
First, I used the old, “you will die of ink poisoning” argument. He believed me when I told him that his ears would fall off if he ever cut his own hair, so I figured I had a shot with the ink poisoning. I did, for a certain amount of time, but then he Googled ink poisoning. There are a lot of deaths that result from swallowing a pen or a pen top, but not as many from ink poisoning. You know, who really cares about porn sites? A truly useful internet parental control would be a flashing screen on your teen’s computer that says, “I am telling your mother you are checking up on her.”
When “death by ink poisoning” failed to work, I told Cole that he might unknowingly be drawing gang graffiti symbols on his hand that could be noticed by a gang member passing by the school and, in turn, result in an innocent by-stander being shot and killed. After all, we live in Chicago. If I were president, any teen that was caught eye-rolling would be forced to listen to thirty minutes of their parents’ favorite music on their headphones. I should be president.
Next, I sternly pointed out that drawing on your hands was a distraction from important schoolwork. Now here is the kicker: the Waldorf school that Cole attends often encouraged the children to draw or play with a piece of clay while listening to a story or a lecture. Cole, of course, pointed this out to me. Gathering myself up, I pointed out that high school students take notes. Obviously they don’t take notes in chorus. Let’s not talk about the singing battle I lost a long time ago.
When I selflessly waited for four hours with my son at his pediatrician’s office because he was suffering from chest pains and the good doctor took one look at the intricate drawings on his hand and arm and said, “Cole, that is beautiful. You are obviously very talented,” I knew that Cole had just won the battle of the ink. OKAY, FINE. The same doctor who diagnosed my son’s chest pains as rib spasms was now complimenting him on his body graffiti. I wanted to smile and say, “Obviously you missed your calling as a connoisseur of fine art.”
Fine. I have decided to re-think my feelings about drawing on one’s body. I fought a hard war, gave it my best shot, and quite frankly, I lost. So, I am retreating to the hill, “not worth fighting over,” where so many other parents gather on a daily basis. I have concluded that teens whose body art is applauded and appreciated are at a lower risk for tattoos and piercings later in life. Those of you with younger children, please write this battle guideline down for future reference on the same page as, “Teens that are allowed to blow things up at home are much less likely to become terrorists when they grow up.”
Of course, we have a ways yet to go, so be sure to check back in 4 years and see if I was right or if I was wrong.
Drop me a comment and share your parenting war stories! Odd Loves Company!