Tag! You go to jail.

Tag! You go to jail.

“It’s never too early to train our kids in criminal activity,” I said to Blythe.

“That’s nice,” she said, looking at John’s work, “and I see you’ve managed to combine crime with explosive and poisonous material.”

“Kind of a bonus, right?” I said, maybe a bit too proudly.

Now before you go agreeing with Blythe and judging me harshly, let me explain.

Tess had a playdate. 

That’s it. That’s the entire motivation. 

Sometimes our kids get a bit possessive around each other. When I say “possessive” I mean, “Punch the other one in the neck if they so much as look at a pencil belonging to the other that NO ONE HAS TOUCHED IN A MONTH!!!!” IT’S BARELY AUGUST CAN’T YOU TWO GET ALONG FOR FIVE MINUTES WITHOUT SCREAMING?!!! WHAT?! …. I AM NOT SCREAMING!!!”

Anyway, imagine what happens to kids who get that crazy about a pencil and an entire person shows up for a play date and the other one doesn’t have a play date.  The bomb goes off before the egg is even soft boiled.

So I needed something to do with John. Something that would be interesting enough, compelling enough to get him pumped – and make him forget how fun terrorizing a play date can be.

Naturally, I turned to criminal activity. Well, not really, not actually. It was something I actually had no experience in – but I figured I could pull it off. And I maybe, sort of, might have implied to John that in any other setting this would get him in jail. And he was IN.

I was going to turn John into a Graffiti Artist.

We went to Lowes, bought a big sheet of fake brick wall. We got the folks there to cut it in half so he’d have two goes at it.

Then we went to the paint department and asked them “What sort of spray paint makes good graffiti?” The two guys there were very excited to help. (legal disclaimer – I am not getting any funding from Lowes for mentioning Lowes and I’d like to add that they only helped us when they realized we had a non-criminal plan. And other legal stuff. Tort. Heretofore.)

One of the guys then said, “Hey – would you like a gun for the spray paint?”

Why not ask John if he’d like a bowl of maple syrup for breakfast. 

So we got the gun. And gloves. And masks. If we needed to rob a bank, we’re ready for that too.

We drove home, I threw the boards on the wild grass in our back alley, and I said: “Have at it.”

And I gotta say, it was pretty amazing. John was completely in his element. 

My friend Dave always tells me “Kids love BIG things. Get them doing something BIG.” and this is it.

The first creation. “Too much paint …”

His first piece ended up looking a bit muddy – but the second one he was really proud of. 

He brought Blythe out to the garage where it was drying.  “I just sort of start doodling and see where my imagination takes me,” he told her.

She was kinda proud of him too. A bit concerned about the toxic part.

To which I said, “Yes, we might have given him respiratory issues that will show up in a few decades… but was there any screaming this afternoon?”

I might have won her over. Almost.


Just getting started
The final product
Artist: “Johnny Boy”