"Cwayons! Cwayons! Cwayons!"
But this girl has no interest in coloring. The huge Elmo coloring book and the Barney coloring sheets go untouched.
Her obsession is with peeling the label from each one. One by one, she digs her fingernails into the wrapper and pulls and tugs until the crayon is bare. She isn't satisfied until she has removed all of the paper from every crayon in sight.
Our dining room table is covered with piles of naked crayons. Without their labels, it's nearly impossible to tell if we are about to color with indigo or blue. How can one discern between dandelion and yellow?
At first, I assumed this crayon craze was just a temporary fascination. I could tolerate a few of our older crayons going without their wrappers. Who cares about the free crayons we picked up at restaurants?
But then she found a box of Crayolas.
There's something I love about a brand-new box of crayons, perfectly sharpened, standing neatly in rows. I love sorting them by color and lining them up in gradients from reds to oranges to yellows to greens to blues.
But still? Maybe I could give up even some of our brand new crayons if it would keep her busy. Don't get me wrong. We love to play with her! It's just hard to keep her happy when all the other kids are working on school work. This girl wants one of us to be her constant companion. She begs and pleads for a playmate.
Unless, of course, she has crayons.
After a few weeks, the toddler starting getting faster at stripping down the crayons. We would dig through drawers and cabinets to fuel her obsession. Oh, I know I could have told her to stop. But each batch of crayons would buy me 30 minutes to help the other kids with school or to clean up the house. If I could handle picking up the little piles of wrappers, I figured it would be OK.
Now, we are several months into her crayon stripping addiction. I've raided the cabinets of reserved school supplies. A box of 24 will keep her busy for two days at most. Should I give in and start buying crayons just to keep her occupied? Soon, she'll be able to unwrap 72 in a day. Is it worth it to give the rest of the family long stretches of quiet?
Then, I got to thinking. There must be something else that is made to quench a toddler's thirst for pulling off labels? A sticker book with removable stickers? Paper dolls she could rip to shreds? I'm determined to find something to refocus her attention.
Anyone have any ideas?