This is an actual dilemma for me, at the moment, though it's not keeping me up at night or anything. Opinions from one and all, welcome.
The Goober is big on art supplies and coloring. I think I've got 2/3 of the stuff made by Crayola. One of the things we've got is their easel. So the rule in the house is, any crayons stay at the easel. Either they are in her hand, being used on paper, or they go in the front of the easel, in the little tray. After the first couple weeks, with a few episodes of her running around with a crayon and me taking them away for a day or two, she's been very good. There was one swipe of green on the couch (right next to the easel) that may well have been an accident, and otherwise, all coloring has happened on the easel (nearly all of it on the paper) and the crayons have stayed just where they're supposed to.
However. She's three, and she's smart, and she's the Goober.
When she spots a pad of paper with a pencil on it, she'll pick up the pencil and do a bit of post-impression artwork on the paper. Yesterday I gave her some paper (directions from something I'd bought - she likes to pretend they're maps) and she took the paper over to the easel and colored on it.
Now, this isn't quite what the rules are - she's supposed to be only using the crayons on the paper I put on the easel, and that's it. But I keep thinking, she's using the pencils ON THE PAPER. And she's taking the paper TO THE EASEL to color on it. Nothing on the walls, on the floor, nothing. This morning she got up early, got hold of a marker, and got it open. So what did she do? Took it to the easel and colored on it. When I got up I about had a stroke and told her she's never to open markers by herself. But again. She went straight to the easel with it, and stayed there.
I can't find it in me to do more than grumble at her about leaving pencils and things alone. There's been no dramatic punishment, because the walls and furniture are intact and she's KIND OF following the rules.
Should I try to reason with her? Or forget it altogether? It also occurs to me that 'kind of following the rules' is likely as good as I'll get with a three year old kid. Maybe it's me who needs reasoned with.
And I'm on round 203 of 206, of the shawl. Eeeee!