sur la table

When it comes to home furnishings, I’m not style-conscious. You could say I have decorated our home in the motif of “hey, this is functional and someone is giving it to us!” I actually can’t think of a single piece of furniture in our home that I purchased new except for our mattress. From our dining room table and desks to our couch and recliners, most of the items have been yard sale finds or hand-me-downs from family and friends.

We moved into the modern age when we received a new flat-screen television for Christmas. Of course, rather than buying a new stand, we decided to perch it on our old console television (the one I inherited from my grandparents).

This arrangement displaced the table lamp (passed on from my parents) that was our source of lighting in that part of our living room. Again, our first instinct was not to immediately go out and buy a new end table. Instead, we repurposed a small, unfinished wood table (no idea where it came from) that had been a catch-all in our laundry room.

Philip was immediately attracted to the table. For starters, it was “new.” He also likes it because it is the perfect height for spinning objects. I often see him standing beside the table playing.

On Saturday afternoon, however, Philip was drawing at his easel. Peter was watching TV. I went into the kitchen to wash the dishes. I glanced back into the living and noticed that Philip was beside the table. I figured he had tired of coloring and was once again spinning an object on the table.

I was wrong.

"I thought YOU were watching him"

“I thought YOU were watching him”

A friend who saw my picture on Facebook suggested I put it on Pinterest and “everyone will have them.”

By the time I saw this, Philip had actually put his markers away and moved on to another activity. I saw no point in yelling at him. Besides the fact he wouldn’t know what I was upset about, I honestly wasn’t that upset. It’s not like this is some fine antique. However, when I did catch him in the act of heading to the table with a marker, I did stop him. This made him cry, but we don’t want him to think that he can draw on furniture.

After decorating the table, Philip kept trying to put his foot up on the numbers, as if he had created his own unique hopscotch board. I also made him cry by asking him to stop that.

Despite this incident on Saturday, we continue to let Philip have free access to his markers. It’s been over a year since he drew on our walls, and he did that in pencil. Because he enjoys drawing so much, we keep a bin of blank notebooks, coloring books and three styles of markers on our dining room table. In our living room, Philip has unlimited use of his dry-erase easel and a collection of markers. In fact, I gave him a new twelve pack of markers just a couple of weeks ago since he had used the previous set to extinction.

A couple of times while I was seated at my desk (given to us by my aunt) which is located right beside the easel, Philip reached over and drew on it. My desk is white, just like the dry-erase board. A gentle, “No, no,” persuaded Philip to put the marker back in the appropriate place. I think he just got carried away.

As he did with the table. When I got home from work on Monday, this is what I saw:

What the table looked like by Monday evening

What the table looked like by Monday evening

At some point, we should just take the lamp off and let Philip finish what he started. Maybe then I will put it on Pinterest.

7 thoughts on “sur la table

  1. Yes, Philip needs to learn boundaries, but oh my, I love the table! It’s truly an original and one day will be a classic! When he is finished decorating it, put a coat of polyurethane over it and the art will be protected. Then one day, when he is on his own you can give him the table! This is why it’s easier to have hand-me-downs when the kids are little. When they make messes, which they will, you don’t freak out. There are too many other things to worry about, who wants to spend their time concerned about stuff! 🙂


  2. When J was little, he would never scribble on walls unless it was with the very dark, very hard to remove crayons or markers. I covered the walls with parcel paper up to about four feet. This didn’t deter him, but it did give him a surface to mar rather than the walls that, when damaged, would eat away at our rental deposit.

    I discovered a few things: a white eraser will remove crayon from matte paint; a baby wipe will take out pencil scribbles; J really loves color.

    Now, I LOVE this table. I would WANT this table. My suggestion? Let him finish it, and then put a nice finish on it like Life&Ink said. That is a keepsake, my dear… I’d start yard-sale-hunting for a coffee table you can periodically cover with parcel paper so he can “redecorate” it to his heart’s content. I’d also probably look for one of those older iron tables so he can do a mosaic on the top.

    It took YEARS for us to be able to have “nicer” furniture…and that wasn’t just because of J’s need to express himself through all things colorful, gunky or sticky. It really isn’t worth the trouble to fight the Battle of the Nice House…you’re raising a kid. You’re, in a nutshell, in the middle of the battlefield and anyone who is worth their salt should understand that your life is going to look “lived in”…for all my efforts, my life still looks lived in…

    On the plus side, he’s into markers, not tattoo guns…which create more permanent marks…

    LOVE the table…would WANT the table…seriously…


    1. Oh, you always make me smile. I’m seriously going to move the lamp so Philip can “finish” the table. Then I’ll let hubby “finish” the table. And, I know this will shock you, but I’ll post pictures of the “finished” project.


      1. Hey, I am in the process of taking pictures of J’s ceramics projects to display here. I still have a papier mache snake TGG made in the Third grade, and it is proudly displayed. I think we should encourage our kids to try what makes them happy, and we should be proud when they do what others call “ruining” and we call “personalizing” furniture.

        Our Christmas cards were such a big hit this year that I’m seriously pondering if J could have his own line of “limited edition” stationery he could sell at market. Maybe Philip can do the same, but personalizing furniture…it’s worth a shot!!


  3. I know the frustration but I actually like the table and his artwork! It gives the piece real character. Plus a great conversation piece, Pinterest find, facebook status update and blog post! See, he is so inspiring! My youngest made off to freshly painted walls with a Sharpie. After I repainted he re-sharpied and then when repainting again he markered on the floor. I think I would rather have the table. At least I could pass it down to him. Walls and carpeting not so much. I cannot wait to see his finished project. Sur La Table’s got nothing on Philip!!! 🙂


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