The Blue Crayon

The blue crayon.

That dreaded blue crayon.

I remember it like it was yesterday.

Never in the history of mankind, has a drawing implement generated such angst. 

It all started at a dinner/BBQ I was at.   After the meal, we were chatting and having coffee, doing our typical boring adult stuff.

 The two young boys (who shall remain nameless) were relegated into the kitchen, each with big pieces of cardboard and a box of crayons to draw with.

Suddenly, there was a sound.   An awful, horrible  sound.   Not dissimilar to that of a baby chimp being thrown feet-first into a wood-chipper.



We rushed to the kitchen.

Oh my god…what happened?   Did someone fall down and split their skull open?    Is someone disemboweled, and their life-blood is draining onto the linoleum floor? 


No.    The older brother was having a conniption-fit.      The Mother of All Conniption Fits.   You gotta admit, it was actually pretty impressive.

But we couldn’t really tell what the tantrum was about.   The lad was incoherent.   All we could get, from the occasional intelligible word, was that it had something to do with a blue crayon.

And you KNOW the younger brother had something to do with this.

Because during all the stamping of feet, thrashing and screaming, the two-year-old was quietly drawing on his own piece of cardboard.   With a blue crayon.   Smiling innocently to himself.  

….A little TOO innocently, actually.

The little shit.  You KNEW he had done something to push his older brother’s buttons.   He probably took the crayon away from him.    Or something along those lines.   

But we couldn’t prove anything.     And he knew it.

Well, whatever he did, it had the desired effect.  He was now being entertained a 10-Megaton Thermonuclear Shit Fit.   

 Although the rest of us didnt’ think it was so much fun.    The tantrum went on, and on…the older kid would not be stoppd.  The whole house stopped what they were doing, to come watch the firworks. 

(It would have been tempting to  say “Ooooh ahhhh” at that point…but I think that would have only put fuel on the fire). 

But finally, after a good 15-20 minutes, the tears subsided, and the boy calmed down, to a quasi-excited submissive state.

Then the  Grandma, playing King Solomon, made what seemed to be a wise decision.   She broke the crayon in half, and said:  “There…now you each have a piece of the blue go draw”.

 But like I said, the boy was in a quasi-excited submissive state.    You knew he was at that crucial balance point.     You know that point…when it could go either way.   The kid would either comletely calm down, or he’d lose it again, and go even MORE ballistic.

Both boys started drawing again.    All was well again…for about 10 seconds.

Then the older one started to draw with a bit more vigour than was required. 

Then he started to breathe hard….clenching his teeth, blinking  back the still fresh tears from his face.   He was forcing the crayon on the carboard

 (Uh-oh…Houston, we have a problem…)

And then the crayon broke.

You can guess what happened next.



Holy shit!    It’s now DEF-CON Five.     We’ve now gone ballistic.   Multiple warheads inbound.   Draw your blinds, seek shelter, and pray to your God!



At this point,  the Dad had had enough.   He retreated into the bathroom, locked the door, and stayed there, leaving the Mom to deal with her screaming son.

And scream, he did.   Quite enthuasisticallly.

And of course, once Junior noticed that Daddy was gone, this made his tantrum (I didnt’ think was possible at this point)…even WORSE. 

At that point, I decided to make a hasty exit.  

Thanks for dinner.    Nice to see you again.  But I have to leave.

As I exited, I had one last image of the Mom carrying her kid outside to try to quieten him down, while trying avoid his thrashing arms. 

 Huh.   All that, because of ONE BLUE CRAYON.


(And to think…..people ask me why I’m single and haven’t settled down and had kids).

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23 Comments on “The Blue Crayon”

  1. Kyddryn Says:

    The Evil genius has had a tantrum or two. I would have ducked out, too…only I’m his Mum…and since Daddy bugged out before I could…aww, dang.

    Cold shower, here we come. I’ve had great success with that – turn on the cold water, plonk the banshee in, and leave them there until they calm down. Or a glass of ice water poured over the head is almost as good. Shocks the little bleeders right out of their fugue and entertains the pained parent, too. Also, it’s non-lethal and non-violent, two plusses. And? It doesn’t have to be the parent who does the soaking. Bonus!

    Shade and Sweetwater,
    K (whose son now removes himself to his room or a quiet space when he’s overwrought, because he HAS learned that a little time alone is preferable to a wetting and spending the rest of the day/evening/time until we go home damp and chaffing)

  2. Davina Says:

    To all those happily kidded parents, my apologies… but I’m glad I never had kids. I went through a period of about 14 days in my 20s when I had the “urge” to have children, but that passed quickly.

    I practically raised my brother (he’s 12 years younger than I). One of my neighbours has two young boys that I hear screaming every day (at least it seems like every day); I have to give their mother credit because man, what a sacrifice. It’s not for me.

    I know… it’s different when they’re yours, so they say, but… not in this lifetime for me. I’ve got my hands full with my own “inner child”, hardy har har.

  3. Brett Legree Says:

    Heh. At my house, dessert (even if it is just an apple) is an optional reward for children who don’t fight over a blue crayon.

    Problem solved. People learn really quickly at my house!


  4. OMG! This is SO hilarious. You describe things so well!
    OMG! I’m STILL laughing.

  5. Karen JL Says:


    @ Davina – 14 whole DAYS? Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever gone 14 HOURS ever wanting to have kids. Not for me either.

    I do hang out with a couple of them once a week. Just for giggles. They’re OK when you can give them back. And are over 3 yrs old. (Babies scare the crap out of me.) 😉

  6. Mer Says:

    I would have tossed both of the kids in the slammer. Err, I mean, given them a time-out. (None of that breaking crayons sh*t for me.)

    Any time anyone in my house was overwrought they got a time-out. (My son, now almost 23, speaks of them as having been quite helpful, actually.) I used 1-2-3 Magic. Other than that, I didn’t have to say a word. No arguing, no nothin.’ 😀

  7. Brett Legree Says:

    What I know is that my house is very busy (four kids) and things are pretty fair, and a realistic version of the “real world” scaled down to the level of children.

    That is, when you screw up, you are forgiven a few times (and probably given a time-out) and then if you keep doing it, you get in shit.

    Just like an adult. Because as an adult, people don’t ask “how can I help you to help yourself?” 50 times in a row, and they don’t send you for time-outs more than once.

    I don’t beat my kids, and (generally) don’t raise my voice too much, but when you walk into the kitchen and see two of them having a “light saber fight” with cutlery, it isn’t the right time for psychology – that’s a “shock and awe” situation!!!

    (Translation – I said “HEY!” so loud that they dropped the knives and forks, and the windows rattled…)

  8. Steph Says:

    …and this is why I don’t need birth control. Thanks, Friar, for helping me stay kid-free!

  9. Steph Says:

    I’m with you, Davina!

  10. Eyeteaguy Says:

    Hmmmm, I love my kids dearly. They have made my life complete. I didn’t know this or believe this until it happened.

    But I am olde skool. I put my kids in a metaphysical box. Here are your boundaries, don’t cross them. The better they are the bigger the box gets. It works very well.

    I would have handled the blue crayon much differently. I count, 1,2,3,4…I never get to 5. If I ever do they wish I handn’t. Even to the point where my kids beg me not to count.

    I am my children’s primary care giver. My wife works goofy hours. At first I was a burden but now I am so grateful as I never would have been so involved if she hadn’t.

    Anyway, kids do not rule the roost, they are kids and it is my job to raise good citizens. BUT they mut have as much fun as possible, after all they are kids.

    But we will see how it works out in 20 years, will they be in jail? Still talking to me?


  11. Davina Says:

    Hi Steph & Karen. I like to have the blue crayons all to myself 😉

  12. Friar Says:


    Exactly. Every once in a while, I feel sorry for myself. Boo hoo, lookit poor me. I’m living alone as a bachelor with no kids.

    And then incidents like this occur. And then I go home and sigh with relief.

    Aaaaahhhh….I’m living alone as a bachelor, with no kids. 🙂


    Well, if you torment your kids, even a fraction of how much you torment me and Brett, I think we’re in a lot of trouble when your hatchlings reach maturity.

    But that counting thing works. I’ve never seen it fail (at least, for kids, that is).

    On adults, it’s a bit different. They’d start to question “Well, what happens after number 5?”

    We get this at the Factory. We’re warned: If you don’t do such-and-such, you get a talking to by Boss #1. The next time, it’s with Boss #2. The third time, it’s with Senior Boss #3.

    And like a parent, they’ll say “You DON’T want to be having that meeting with Senior Boss #3”.

    Oh, yeah? Well, what happens if we do? Does he scream at us? Or hit us?

  13. Friar Says:


    In fact, I have very expensive artists markers and paints. Which are much better than crayons.

    And nobody cries when I use them, or breaks them. 🙂

  14. Friar Says:

    My Mom never gave us cold showers. But once she threw cold water in my face to calm me down.

    It worked, too. And no doubt, I deserved it.:-)

    Yesss! Here’s to another Non-Breeder. There aren’t’ too many of us out there.

    Like a Lab Chimp pressing a lever to get a banana pellet, kids will do anything for a bit of dessert. That’s a sure-fire way to instill discipline.

    @Canadian Army Wife.
    Heh heh. Thanks.

    I just write ’em, as I see ’em. 🙂

    Welcome, fellow Non-Breeder. 🙂

    Yeah, babies are scary. Especially the diaper change part.

    Which I’m proud to say, I’ve NEVER done. (Hey, if you made the kid, YOU wipe the feces off their butts). Uncle Friar don’t want to have any part of that.

    I have mixed feelings about Time-Outs. When we were kids, it was “Go to your room”, for at least 30 minutes or so. And that worked.

    But sitting still for 120-seconds is not exactly what I’d call a hardship. Kids know this too. I’ve seen them treat time-outs like a joke.

    Light-sabers with cutlery? Heh heh. That’s pretty FUNNY, actually. 🙂

    Of course, as a parent, you’re obligate to disprove of such behavior. But deep down, I bet you probably thought that was pretty cool, and wanted to join in.

  15. Peter Says:

    Geez, you’d think those parents would have better control over that little asshole.

  16. Friar Says:


    Oh, I think that was just a very, very SPECIAL day. The stars were aligned, the weather was right…it was the perfect set-up for a minus-three sigma tantrum

    I’m pretty sure the kids arent’ like that ALL the time… 😉

  17. Peter Says:

    Three-sigma (one-sided) means 1.5 in a thousand. Frighteningly, I suspect that this was only a two-sigma event.

  18. XUP Says:

    My daughter has never had a tantrum. She’s been upset about stuff. She has cried. She’s been angry. But never in this sort of uncontrolled/uncontrollable, hysterical, loud way. Perhaps there’s never been a need for it. Perhaps she would get nowhere with that behaviour (certainly wouldn’t have gotten half a crayon to shut her up). Or maybe she’s just too lazy to put in that much of an effort.

  19. Brett Legree Says:


    I have to admit, I did admire the survivalist instincts of my kids. There were only a few scratches too (luckily they didn’t pull anything from the knife block on the counter or it would have been worse…)

    “Time-outs” for my kids only work if there’s something sufficiently interesting going on that they would miss.

    Like their parents, they have wild imaginations and being told to go to their rooms if nothing else of any consequence is happening is not much of a punishment…

    Hmm… which makes me think, sometimes I wish they’d give time-outs at work.

    I can see it now:

    “You’re late with your report – go to the library and sit quietly – don’t come back for three hours!”

    “Yes boss… muahahahahaha…”


    I figure it is a combination of personality and environment.

    Take any one of my children alone, and you would never have any crying or whatever – which makes sense, if you’re the centre of attention.

    Triplets with an older brother? Not so much mom & dad to go around, so they resort to more subversive tactics…

    …and so do I 🙂

  20. Friar Says:

    @XUP Like Brett says, I think temperment has a little to do with it. How often do we see two siblings, both raised the same way, but one might be a ballisitic missile, ready to go of? While the other one might be as docile as a golden retriever? You can even see the difference, in infancy.

    Maybe your daughter can’t be bothered with tantrums. They aren’t’ easy. They take a lot of effort and persistence (I know from first-hand experience) 🙂

    Just wait till your boys are teen-agers, with testorsterone and the stupidiy of youth running through their veins.

    I think you might have a few trips to Emerg in store…for stitches and such.

  21. Brett Legree Says:

    Once they’re teenagers, Fight Club starts in my basement.

    And I’m Tyler.

  22. Friar Says:


    I think Tyler is going to have fight club in his basement, whether he likes it or not.

  23. Brett Legree Says:


    Yeah – but it’s the basement of Lou’s place, and I’m fuckin’ Lou 🙂

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