Caught Purple Handed

This is what happened when you let your toddler go to be with a purple marker. And lest you think I am totally crazy – I honestly didn’t think he could get the cap off by himself. Purple is his favorite color. I honestly didn’t think that one year olds had favorite colors but Simon does.  If you give him multiple colors of markers he always chooses purple and he will color with it more than any of the others. It’s also the only color that he can say – well sort of he says “purp” (he can sign “red”) but those are the only 2 colors that he will mention.


Note the bed and wall in the lower right hand quarter of the photo.


This is his sweet innocent “who me?” face.


This is what the wall and crib look like. The sheets were pretty bad too.


This is what happens when you take markers away from. I think we have entered the “terrible twos” and he isn’t even 18 months old yet. This kid loves markers or “colors” as he calls them. This obsession started with ink pens or “p” as he calls  them. Our futon has already sustained some pen damage from a pen he found who knows where and so I needed to find something that would be ok for him to color with. Why would I give my 1-year-old markers?  I looked for crayons but couldn’t find any suitable. Now I know a lot of my good friends think I am a little nuts with all the BPA free, phthalate free, PCV free stuff but I found out something really unfortunate about crayons that makes me never want to give them to my toddler who still puts everything in his mouth. If you want to remain in blissful ignorance stop reading here.

Crayons are made with tallow – which is made from rendered animal carcases. These animal carcases that are used to make tallow come for all sorts of places including road kill and animal shelters. So if you have you dog or cat euthanized and you don’t have them cremated and you don’t take the body home then your dog or cat ends up as tallow. And that tallow is used in everything including pet food, fabric softener, lip gloss, soap, crayons, etc. (if it says tallow or tallowate in the ingredient list you can count on it) Now we are not vegan or even vegetarian but the thought of washing my clothes with someones pet or washing my face with “Fluffy” is absolutely revolting to me. So now I cringe whenever I see a toddler putting crayons in his or her mouth especially considering that the animal carcases contain euthanasia drugs.  I know all of this sounds a lot like Sinclair’s “The Jungle” but I am not making this up. If you don’t believe me do a little research and listen to episode 51 of This American life. I am on the look out for vegan crayons (if you have a source please let me know) but for the time being Simon is coloring with markers and I try to keep him from writing on his skin or putting them in his mouth (because who knows what that pigment is made from). For now we have a new rule – “colors” are only allowed at the table.

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  1. Oh my! What a sweetheart! That looks all too familiar! My daughter adores colouring everywhere, herself her brother the walls….. These are adorable. Wonderful memories!

  2. I just got rid of all the crayons in our house (not because of tallow…honestly the thought of my children sucking on tallow made from fluff doesn’t bother me all that much. sorry). I got rid of them because they break. All. the. time. I used to just buy huge boxes of crayons but within 5 minutes we have broken crayons. Then hundreds of broken crayons. I have now switched to using Lyra colored pencils. They are made in Germany, thick, nearly impossible to break, and have bright, vibrant colors. The only crayons in my house are Stockmar (also made in Germany) and are beeswax based. Haven’t researched them for tallow, but I’m sure you can 🙂

    Oh, and all of my children entered the the “terrible twos” at or just before 18 months.

  3. Kay Weaver

    I should have told you he could get the caps off the markers. He was doing so the last time I babysat. And quite proud of himself too.

  4. lol…soooo been there.

    what about color wonder?

  5. We had an incident similar to this when Andrew was around that age. The entire esser side was covered with marker. My first instinct was to grab the camera and then the cleaner. Ah…. boys.

  6. well they do make those crayola magic markers that ONLY color on the paper that come with it! so get some of those! and ewww gross about the tallow! tara

  7. Travis Thompson

    We also use color pencils. They’re basically just like crayons, and as far as I know they’re not made with tallow (though I could be wrong)

  8. Delia

    My local art studio has crayons by Stockmar which I think is a German import – it’s “wax blocks with pure beeswax”. Maybe they don’t have tallow, and in any case they come in rectangle shapes that are easier to use than the standard breakable crayon.

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  1. By vegan and vegetarian crayons « Emily Weaver Brown Photography September 15, 2009 at 10:54 pm