Now, Throw It Away.
|My oldest daughter, now four, draws constantly. Crayon, pencils, markers, paint—you name it. Some of the drawings truly masterpieces and some mere lines on
paper; but as a dutiful mother, I gush: "Beautiful colors!" Or, "Wow, you did that by yourself?" Or, the new age correct parenting version: "Tell me about your drawing, how does it make you feel?" and, "You must be proud of doing that by yourself."
I have one problem: what do I do with all the drawings? We started hanging them on the fridge, like many do, but that was covered within a day. Then we hung them on the walls but the weight of the paper started peeling the paint. Then, I hung them on the kitchen cabinets (that molding makes a natural frame) until my kitchen looked like a wing of primitive art at the Museum of Modern Art. Once all the cabinet doors were filled, I was at a loss. I asked other mothers and scoured the parenting magazines for ideas. First, we tried a cardboard portfolio; she ended up throwing the paper on the floor so she could color the cardboard and after she was finished, the cat used it for a scratching post. Then, we tried a box in the closet, but eventually the doors fell off from the pressure of the accumulated artwork. I've used artwork as stationary, wrapping paper, shopping lists and birthday cards but still have a house overflowing with beautiful art. I think my daughter has killed a whole forest at this point and she keeps using up all my computer paper not to mention everything I can find with a blank side.
I've spent such a long time trying to decide what to do that I have never thrown out any of the artwork. I have some pieces that are two years old. My sister told me that I need to emphasize the process and not the outcome so the children associate the importance with the joy of creating as opposed to the finished product.
Lately, I've taken to surreptitiously throwing away some of the drawings and I've felt like a horrible mother. But, what, exactly, am I supposed to do at this point. My problem is only getting bigger because my two year old is turning into another artwork factory and she wants equal time on the cabinets of our art gallery…I mean kitchen. So, the dilemma becomes what to take down so they're equally represented? And once I take it down, what do I do with it?
Even worse is in a few years my youngest will join in—what do I do then?
I think I'm at the point where I have to be practical and recycle the paper. And to forestall the build up of more artwork, I'll say to each child as they present me with their latest masterpiece: "Yes, it's a beautiful drawing. Now throw it away."