Products I love to hate, Part I: bath crayons

Do your kids love being creative? Do they pitch unholy fits when they need to stop their imaginative exploits and go bathe? Fear no longer! Instead, hurry out and buy them a set of bath crayons.

On second thought, don’t.

Everything works, in theory. Childbirth works, in theory. Bath crayons work, in theory. In theory, it does make bathtime fun.  Yay for creative little minds and fingers! Parents love it!

Until the bath is over.


First, forget about the colors floating merrily down the drain when you pull the plug. All those vibrant, kid-friendly hues seem to be based in deepest red, which means that the aftermath of bathtime tends to look like the shower scene in Psycho . . . except not in black and white. I want to call 911 on myself.

Even when the evidence has mostly gone down the drain, it’s not all good. To begin with, the remnants and bits of waxy art embed themselves in the stubbly texture of the bathtub bottom. They are impossible to remove.

Then there’s the fact that the kids didn’t spend their time in the tub waving the crayons around and looking cute; they made giant murals all over the tub/shower unit’s walls, ledges, soap holders, bath toy holders, and more. And these don’t wipe off with a gentle swipe of a damp cloth, as the smiling shill mother on the outside of the package would have you believe.

When the packaging says “washable” you think “water-soluble,” as in “show it a picture of water and it will dissolve.” Not quite. The images are semi-permanent, etched onto your tub fixtures for eternity and a half. You have to scrubandscrubandscrubandscrub until you burst a blood vessel, at which point there’s more red in the tub to deal with. Color my world. And call 911 again.

I love to give the Maiden the opportunity to flex her artistic side, but I wish it had less staying power. For a while, I hit upon a temporary solution, one which I call the whitewash game in honor of Tom Sawyer (Mark Twain’s young genius, who is famous in literature for getting other people to beg to do his job). We were a house building company and someone had made a mess on the wall. The house wouldn’t sell, so I needed a painter to “paint it all white again.”

She got into the story, and I had a clean tub wall–for all of two minutes. Because then the Maiden decided she loved it so much that she needed more graffiti to whitewash! And by the time she’d completed her newest destined-for-destruction masterpiece, her feet were turning into prunes and she needed to get out before the damage was permanent.

Permanent . . . like her drawing.


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