Feed on

Child Art

When Mother’s Day rolled around this past spring, I had child art on the brain. Which wasn’t to say that I didn’t give Matt numerous not-too-subtle hints as to what “Simon” could get for me, but that I longed for the day when Simon himself, as opposed to “Simon”, would present me with a gift. Presumably, until he’s old enough to cut grass or shill lemonade, that gift will be child art.

One of the things I always used to notice about the houses and offices of people with kids is that they nearly always had child art on display. And why not? It’s charming, heart-warming, and critic-proof. Even the most snobbish interior design critic will give you a pass for anything tacky made by teeny tiny hands; child art can humanize even the most imposing or dull spaces.

My mother-in-law must have sensed my longing, because she presented me with a plaster cast of Simon’s hand at Mother’s Day. It was done in a stepping stone mould and now happily sits in my back garden. I was very excited to have a piece of child-art, even if Simon’s participation was minimal, and longed for more. It made me feel like a real mom!

Well, be careful what you wish for. KIP sends Simon home from pre-school with a different piece of child art nearly every day. I’ve got crayon “drawings”, a water-color “painting,” a paper-plate “hat,” an aluminum foil “mirror” and a card (no quotes here) with a “letter” from Simon inside. The letter was real enough, but owing to its legibility and its inclusion of verbs and pronouns, I suspect fraud was involved+.

This is all perfectly adorable, but it poses a huge problem for me: What do I do with all of this stuff? Right now, the child art is piled up on my sideboard in the dining room. I don’t have space to display it all, and I can’t bring myself to throw any of it out. Storing seems to be the logical choice, but I’m worried about the scale of all of this. Amortized across the next 17 years, the amount of child art likely to enter my home will crowd out other things-things like food, clothing, and furniture.

Thus, I will end up, old, alone, and sad, in one of those homes that people cannot walk through. And yet, how can I throw out the work of my child’s hands?++ The solution is clear: I will keep every piece until I can no longer navigate my attic, at which point I will sort through it all, keep a few pieces, and throw the rest out. The elegance of this solution is that it has me arrive in the same place I would if I just sorted now, therefore not only accommodating procrastination, but also making the entire job more time-consuming and difficult by doing so. Perfect! You can call it “The Goldstein Way.”

+Actual text of letter, “Dear Mommy and Daddy. School is great! I love you, Simon.”

++ My own mother would have NO problems throwing this stuff out, so one elegant solution is to just let her do it.

4 Responses to “Child Art”

  1. bethnbobinnc says:

    My brother Bryan scans all of my nephew’s notable art work and stores it on the computer. I have not been that good about it. Mine gets displayed on the cabinets in the kitchen and then disposed of in the dark of night. The only things we keep are hand prints and foot prints. Since I now have the mounds of “art” times 2, it must be controlled!!! Good Luck!

  2. goldsteinrita says:

    You make me sound absolutely heartless. However, you are right. I would keep very few items, especially at this age when you know that he really had very little to do with the whole thing and would not even be aware that they were being disposed of. Just let me know if you need help. I love to throw things away!

  3. Jen Bortel says:

    I read somewhere that you should take a picture of everything (works with even the 3D stuff) and just keep a few actual pieces. At the end of the school year, you and Simon could go through the photos and pick the pieces you like best to make a scrapbook of his “year in art.” If you are the kind of mom who is disciplined and organized enough to actually do this, my hat goes off to you.

  4. Jessica says:

    I think photographing sounds brilliant. My sister-in-law mentioned something about this a few weeks ago when she was doing a massive clean-up. I’m definitely going to try that and the annual cull. Thanks for the suggestions!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.