Tuesday, March 20, 2012

go to your room!

circa 1981
Me, pre-trouble years (circa 1981)

As a child, I was no stranger to what they're calling nowadays "imaginative play." Which is a nice way of saying, I was good at getting myself into trouble. Now don't get me wrong - I wasn't a troublemaker. I was quite secure in my position as a straight-A, rule-following, goody two-shoes, teacher's pet.

But I was also quite creative. There were a lot of hatched plans and a lot of "I wonder what happens if I do this" or "I can make this myself." Hence, the trouble. Basically, all of these scenarios were early attempts at DIY gone wrong.

Most of these experiments took place behind the closed door of my childhood bedroom. And most of these experiments involved art supplies and cosmetics. Both of which are messy. Both of which can cause permanent damage to one's parents' home...

My favorite thing to do was "creating potions." This involved taking various cosmetic products and mixing them together to see what happened. I think I was inspired to conduct these experiments due to the way science was portrayed to children. "Chemistry" was pouring different substances into test tubes and then POOF! THEY TURN GREEN AND SMOKE COMES OUT. Since I didn't have "chemicals", I opted for a combination of nailpolish, perfume, and powder.  (Hypothesis: When I mix these things together, cool shit will happen.) Unfortunately, cool shit did not happen. (Results: It made a giant mess.) It made an even bigger mess if you accidentally spilled it on your bedroom carpet and then your mom found out. (Conclusion: Mom will be PISSED!)

(Note: You will later find out that Chemistry has nothing to do with green smoke or making potions. In fact, it involves balancing equations and moles and other things I still don't understand. It's math disguised as something that should be fun. Also, it doesn't involve nailpolish.)

Then there was the time my friend Becky slept over at my house. At god-knows-what-hour-in-the-morning, we decided it would be a good idea (and we weren't even drunk!) to use the box of kleenex in my mother's room to make paper snowflakes. IT WILL BE SO COOL, WE CAN *COVER* THE ROOM WITH SNOWFLAKES. IT WILL LOOK LIKE IT ACTUALLY SNOWED! Wrong. I also think that was the same night that we used a tube of Chapstick to MOISTURIZE OUR FEET. (Conclusion: Mom will be PISSED!)

And then there was the time my BFF Sarah and I decided to spend the afternoon after school working on some art projects in the kitchen. By art projects, I mean SPLATTER PAINTING, YES! And WHOOPS, how did that paint get all over the kitchen curtains and MY BELOVED PINK KITTEN SWEATSHIRT? However, there's an easy solution to the problem of getting paint where you shouldn't: Strategically arrange the kitchen curtains (which I should add, my Mom sewed herself) to hide the paint stains. Stuff the paint-splattered kitten sweatshirt under your bed. Until your mom finds out, because you know, moms are smart and kids are stupid. (Conclusion: Mom will be PISSED!)

Most embarrassing of all, was the time my kindergarten BFF and I were having a sleepover. This one actually occurred in her bedroom. Remember those little stampers that included both a stamp and ink pad together? Well, we had a green one that was shaped like a shamrock. And my friend's mom busted us late one night STAMPING SHAMROCKS ONTO OUR BUTTS.

I really have no idea if the moms were pissed about this one. Her mother was probably horrified that she had to tell my mother what we'd gotten into. (Lest I come home from a playdate and my mom wonder why I had a green shamrock on my ass. I'm pretty sure these things were frowned upon, even in the eighties.) But personally, I would have laughed my own butt off had my kindergartner been busted artfully decorating her butt cheeks. Then I would have been terrified that she'd end up with a tramp stamp. (Conclusion: Be grateful, Mom, that I didn't grow up to tattoo my lower back!)

I should clarify that these incidents did not occur when I was a toddler. You always hear the stories of little kids getting into baby powder or diaper cream and smearing it head-to-toe. And I always thought, I bet I never did that as a baby. No, I was worse. I did most of these things between the ages of five and ten. I knew better - which is why I closed my bedroom door before conducting said "experiments". Ironically, my punishment for most of these offenses was being sent to my room.

As a result of the trouble I got into in my own bedroom, I think my parents' plan for damage control was to encourage us to play outside. After all, how much trouble can kids get into outside? They can't ruin the furniture, the carpet, or the curtains, right?

True, but they can ruin other things..

There was the time that Sarah and I decided to use hedge clippers to cut a MAZE into my parents' bushes. That didn't end well. For either of us. (Sorry, Sarah!)

Then there was the time we decided to start an oak tree business. This involved the collection of acorns which were then placed into ziplock bags with a damp paper towel and allowed to germinate. Except that never happened because my mother discovered our cache of "baby acorn trees", yelled at us about wasting ziplock bags, and crushed our entrepreneurial spirit.

Then there was the time I used a nail to scratch my name into my parents' car. I'm pretty sure they should've killed me for that one. I wasn't intentionally being destructive; for some reason I thought I would be able to rub it off, like writing in dust. When I realized it was permanent, I calmed myself by thinking "They'll never know who did it." Because my childlike handwriting wasn't going to give me away or anything. Nor was the fact that I'd SIGNED MY OWN NAME ON MY CRIME. (Conclusion: Kids are really stupid. Also, Mom AND Dad will be really PISSED!)

And then there was the time I made napalm under our treehouse. No wait, THAT ONE WAS MY BROTHER.

In conclusion: Do not your children anywhere near nailpolish, chapstick, hedge clippers, or paint. Most definitely do not let them near your car. Do not let them have sleepovers. Or friends. Children are more destructive in pairs.

(Also, DIY tattoos are funny. So are butts.)

The Scintilla Project | Day 4: Prompt #1. Talk about your childhood bedroom. Did you share? Slam the door? Let someone in you shouldn't have? Where did you hide things?


Sarah said...


I snort laughed through this entire post. I love this. And I can relate. My little gal pals and I got into so much trouble together. I especially loved how you and your friend stamped your butts. That is so something I would have done (or maybe I have!) :)

Thanks for sharing - this is pure gold!

Lauren McKenna said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! Oh Rachel, this is great! Thanks for sharing and thanks for making me giggle :)

Marypat said...

This made my morning! I also did personalized graffiti, on a neighbors pool table with pool chalk. Kids are dumb!

Brandi {not your average ordinary} said...

It sounds like you and I would have gotten along brilliantly when we were younger. I never did anything insanely bad, but I did have a wild imagination and I let it take me places.

Funnelcloud Rachel said...

Thanks, ladies. Kids really do the dumbest things.

Brandi - that's exactly how I was. I definitely wasn't a bad kid and I think my parents should be thankful that I was making potions instead of smoking cigarettes!

Becky said...

I haven't laughed this hard in a really, really, long time. Thanks for that!

flylikeabirdtestblog said...

I loved reading this!
And also, this is EXACTLY why my nail polish is WAY high up...and also probably why my make up should also be!

Karin said...

Oh man, this is great! Lol.

smstokesbury said...

This brings me back to the good ol' days. I have such a smile on my face from remembering these stories! Thanks for memorializing our childhood adventures :) Strangely, I only seemed to get in trouble with you, but I wouldn't have traded it for anything. BTW, I still think that maze idea was AWESOME. How long did the shrubs take to finally grow back? If I remember the damage correctly, I'd seriously guess several years!