Stuff Kids Write on Non-Traditional Surfaces

Soccer night. Two kids on two different teams playing at two different fields. I have enough equipment to load down a trio of Sherpas. My husband is at a meeting and, as usual, I’m barely coping in my attempt to get everything and everyone out the door. I send Vivian and William outside while I gather the last of the gear, which includes my mitts and sunglasses (nothing says soccer season in Canada like contrasting accessories).

The door slams behind me. I notice Vivian and William collecting rocks on the side of our driveway.

I load the last of the stuff and walk around to open William’s side of the van.

I see this writing:

Stuff Kids Write

"William" (with sad face above)

“Did you use a rock to write on the van?” I say. Sometimes you have to ask the obvious.

Vivian looks at me. I can tell she’s stalling. “I’ll just crawl in William’s side,” she says.

“You didn’t write—“ I interrupt myself. “Did you carve things too?”

I walk over to the other side.

I see this.

Stuff Kids Write

"Vivian only" (with scratches on the left, where she was trying to get the rock to work properly)

And this.

Stuff Kids Write

"on behalf of my class" (yes, she's composing dedications)

My kids know by my speechlessness that they’ve done wrong.

I rub my index finger across one of the gorges. “This won’t come off,” I say. “Ever.”

I hear choruses of “I’m sorry” and “We didn’t know.”

And I think: Freaking stuff kids write.



Wendy M of Herding Cats in Hammond River is the random winner of last week’s giveaway, a Starbuck’s gift card. Thanks, Wendy, for sending us some hilarious stuff kids write. It will be featured in an upcoming post.


Thanks to all who’ve sent us photos of funny writing by your kids (or from when you were young). We’ll let you know when we run it!


If you have any stuff kids write, please consider submitting it to us. See the sidebar for more information.

About Leanne Shirtliffe

Leanne Shirtliffe is the author of SLOTH TO THE RESCUE, SAVING THUNDER THE GREAT, THE CHANGE YOUR NAME STORE, and NO MORE BEIGE FOOD (2016). She also wrote humor books DON'T LICK THE MINIVAN: Things I Never Thought I'd Say To My Kids and MOMMYFESTO. She and her family live in Calgary, Alberta because they like complaining about the weather.

Posted on May 9, 2011, in Writing in Weird Places and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 59 Comments.

  1. Oh crap, Leanne! That’s awful! I hope the new paint job doesn’t cost too much…

    Thanks for the shoutout, though…


  2. I’m wincing in sympathy here. That sucks. It’s moment where I totally would have lost it. Maybe you need a site dedicated to moments that make parents lose it.

  3. OMG, and also LMAO. Sorry to get all acronym-y on you, but I’m nearly as speechless as you were.

  4. oh man… this reminds me of when i wrote my name in nail polish on the antique wood coffee table then used polish remover to try to erase the evidence… i’m cringing inside and out…:(

  5. And that’s why we ride the subway…
    Seriously, I commend you on your speeechlessness. Just like Trish I would have lost it.

  6. I am surprised your husband didnt kill you… cause that would have happened to me.

  7. I carved stuff into wooden surfaces all the time when I was a kid. Like my mom’s antique dinner table. I’m pretty sure this is going to happen one day in my house. It’s kismet.

  8. Ok, I knew about this already, and I’m still cringing. I was picturing small scratches, not giant signatures.

    I would have gone ballistic if that had happened to my near perfect exterior van.


    You are amazing.

  9. This demonstrates your level of commitment to the new site, Leanne. Not sure how I can top this. Maybe give my kids tattoo needles and see what they come up with?

    I don’t really know what more to say.

    • I don’t intend to condone harm to children here, but that’s about the best reply possible in the universe.

      I can’t believe that car artwork (cartwork?) Is that for real? Like, you weren’t at a junkyard?

    • I love how you take the humour up a notch.

      And you know that verse in the NIB (New Internet Bible)? “Greater love hath no blogger than this, that she lay down her car’s paint job for the promotion of her site.” Just being faithful.

  10. ouch, ouch, ouch.

    leanne, i deeply admire your level-headedness and your ability to restrain yourself. you are my hero.

  11. Holy crap. I mean, holy crap!

  12. I just had to come back to this one. I do feel bad but your line about how she’s composing dedications is only outfunnied by what she wrote! I don’t know what else to say other than see you in the freakin PTP.

  13. Omigosh! I was covering my mouth as I read this entry. Oh, the horror.

    It is beyond.

    I cannot imagine it.

    But her dedication – to carve where no one had carved before… I’m just so glad that you had the presence of mind to take pictures! 😉

  14. I actually didn’t believe it as I was reading! No lie. No reaction until the end! Now I have no words! I thought my story was bad,but it pales in comparison! Well,maybe not in sentiment. My Dad built our hardwood floors from ugly pieces of lumber to beautiful shiney boards of luxury. My four year old is going through an eternal art phase,so she was elated when she found the blue sharpie.Scribbles of bright blue adorn my kitchen floor. The tragedy of this common childhood mishap is that Dad is no longer with us to fix the custom floors. Uhg. Kids! It’s like your car- so great an offense that anger seems pointless. “Sorry for your car” sounds trivial! :-0

  15. OMG….I am laughing, but I sympathize cause I can so see my kids doing something like that.

  16. kellimwheeler

    I’d be thinking more than that. I’d be thinking how I could sell my kids on eBay. Along with a custom carved minivan…

  17. I would have jumped off the ground and hovered about two feet above it for a very long time. Kudos for not growing fangs and breathing fire on them. That looks like a total repaint.

  18. This made me feel better about the interior fabric my children ripped off the side walls of our van. They like the lived-in look.

  19. And I thought my friend’s Facebook status yesterday was bad: “The euphoria of the weekend came to a screeching halt when the kids smashed the plasma tv screen in our family room while playing catch with a cabbage patch doll!!!”

    I will send her you blog so she know’s she’s not alone! 🙂

  20. blackwatertown

    That is really and truly shocking.
    So – did any kid survive your explosion?

  21. The Children should be washing this car every weekend until it comes clean.

  22. Oh no! Just this weekend, Kiefer handed Boo the keys to unlock the front door so we could bring in groceries. Boo promptly ran the keys along the side of the car door as he walked past. Nice….

  23. Oh. My. GOD!

    I am speechless for you and am afraid of what MY husband will say when I show him this post. If the Reds did this to my car, I would toss them in it and drive out of the country, to escape their Daddy’s wrath.

    Thank God they didn’t wreck the TV.

  24. Jess Witkins

    Wow. I’m so sorry about the van. That sucks. But this is about the funniest thing I’ve read all week. At least one of your kids is SO going to be a writer at some point. If I’d have done that when I was little, I probably would’ve had to figure out a way to pull all my baby teeth out at once because my parents always made us PAY for our mistakes. I rarely got to keep my tooth fairy money. 😦

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