Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Children's art

Small part of living room wall covered in children's art (S & N)
Happy garden scene with snail (S)

Clay on paper (S)

Eat you heart out, Mondriaan (N)

Eat you heart out, Van Gogh (S)

The sky (N)



I spy with my little eye, a vase within a vase (S)

Ode to the much-debated Black Piet' (S)

A Christmas Tree, sideways (S)

An abstract Christmas Tree, sideways (S)

Was Mondriaan ever this productive? (N)

A prefab dinner menu (N)

A dog of sorts (N)


Lovely little hands (S)

Bits of colourful material stuck on red paper (N)

S explained this one to me at length. It is an intricate labyrinth beneath the ground made by super ants in their attempt to build a special magical city

I was recently sorting out all sorts of artwork created by my two sweets and wondering where on earth to store it all, when M casually suggested throwing it all in the paper bin. The paper bin - what?! How on earth could I possibly throw out anything created by either pair of those beautiful little hands? "You're too emotionally attached to that stuff, you need to let go," M responded calmly when he saw my exasperated expression.

Too emotionally attached? You're darn right I am, I thought angrily as I ploughed my way through finger-painted toilet rolls and bits of cotton stuck on coloured paper. But his words made me think. I had thrown out bits and pieces before, but always with feelings of guilt and sadness. In my mind's eye I would see either S or N colouring, sticking, folding or cutting away, lips pressed together and eyes focused in utmost concentration and I would feel that all too familiar pang in my chest. By throwing something out, it was like I was dismissing their efforts, not appreciating their creative beings; it even felt like I was betraying them (sounds dramatic, I know).

Just today I was giving it all some thought. Maybe M is right when he says I need to let go. Perhaps my allowing the house to become cluttered with the children's art is because I don't want to let go of something - their childhood, for example. But the Buddhist in me knows that childhood - like all other things - is there to be enjoyed and let go, not to be clung to. I also realised that it is my mind that makes up a story, a story that has little bearing on reality. Throwing stuff out doesn't mean I am betraying anyone - it just means I'm sorting out and decluttering.

Mr. Caterpillar

Yesterday N came home with a lovely caterpillar she had made. She proudly showed it to me and said: "Look mama, I've made a caterpillar." My heart melted. Whatever happens to the rest, Mr. Caterpillar is staying.

Do you have difficulty throwing out your children's artwork? Do you even throw it out at all, or do you keep everything? Or have you thrown out stuff and regretted it? I would love to know.




16 comments:

  1. Zelf heb ik geen kinderen, dus vanuit het standpunt van "de mama" kan ik niet zeggen wat ik zou doen...
    Ik weet wél dat toen ik onlangs bij mijn mama op bezoek was, en zij ineens een doos bovenhaalde met wat volgens haar "mijn mooiste creaties uit mijn kinderjaren" waren, ik enorm gelukkig was. Dat ze zoveel jaren die prulletjes gekoesterd heeft, vond ik zo mooi...
    Ik denk dat je niet alles moet houden hoor, maar hou toch maar een paar zaken bij van de kunstwerkjes van je kindjes...

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    1. Bedankt, Ingrid!
      Van mij is er niets meer en dat vind ik eigenlijk wel jammer. Misschien moet ik alleen wel oppassen dat ik niet de andere kant opsla!

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  2. You're going to think I'm heartless but I'm afraid I threw all my children's art out save one little drawing my middle child did when he was 5. They weren't bothered by this in the slightest. I attach very little importance to stuff whoever made it. My mum kept loads of my art and my school books which I really resented because it was stuff I'd thrown out and I wanted it gone. In the words of the song 'let it go, let it go' :)

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    1. Thanks, Sue. M would like you to know he agrees with you entirely :-)

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  3. I kept all my children's art work, I am clearing the attic at the moment but could not bring myself to throw them out. I have put them in a big box labelled it and sealed it. One day we will get it out and look through it together. My OH would throw it all out, we are all different x

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    1. Thanks Chickpea. I think that's what I will be doing too: keeping it all in a big box and going through it with my kids when they're all grown up (if they want to, that is)...

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  4. I don't keep everything but I save the best things and take pictures of what I don't keep. My parents threw away everything I ever made, or wrote, and it makes me sad. I won't do that to my kids. My husband's parents kept a lot of what he made and I treasure it like I would my own. Just my own perspective. :)

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    1. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, Jennifer; much appreciated.

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  5. I have just the same dilemma! I try to just keep the best stuff, and throw away the rest when they aren't looking. I always make sure I write the date and their age (and what it is they drew, if necessary!) on the back so that years later I can remember what it was. x

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    1. Yes, sometimes it's necessary to write on the back what something is meant to be (often obvious to the child but not so to the parent)...

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  6. A bit of both. I prune from time to time but suspect that when I have to move somewhere smaller it will concentrate my mind wonderfully. My mother kept a few things for a trip down memory lane. I remember not being at all interested. The timing was just wrong. Too soon perhaps. I daren't offer anything to my son yet as he has way too much clutter in a tiny house already and the other one is still a student.

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    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Lucille. Perhaps a good time to go down memory lane with one's children is when they have children themselves (if they ever do); or otherwise when they're at least in their thirties (or old enough to appreciate it).

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  7. My mum kept a lot. When I got my stuff in my adult life, there was no room for it. ....so I threw away the treasured drawings etc.
    For my first-born I kept it all. I have to admit all the kids who followed after had to suffer my husbands regime: THE PAPERBIN!

    There is a brilliant solution though: a shoebox. You get to keep one shoebox per child with their most endearing/creative/sweet creations. If you want to add something to the box and it doesn't fit: something else has to go.
    All the other stuff that was worth a place on your kitchen wall for a little while, deserves a photograph.

    Good luck!

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    1. Thanks so much for your lovely comments, Inger. The shoebox is a really good idea. What is it with men and paperbins?!

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  8. All my four children have a box in which they can keep the art that they want to keep. My older ones decide for themselves, for the younger ones, I choose what to keep. As long as it fits in the box, I am happy. The same goes for school jotters work sheets. I always keep the writing stuff because this is where the children jot down memories from weekends or draft stories. I have virtually nothing for my two younger ones from before the time they lived with us, which is a shame.

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Christina. Yes, I'll definitely be keeping their writing efforts - looking forward to all their stories and other scribblings. None of mine were kept and I think that's a real pity.

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