Cruel? I prefer to think of it as as decluttering or clutter prevention, cause that just sounds so much more umm child friendly. Wait! Hear me out - excessive paper equals clutter, clutter causes chaos, chaos equals stress, stress equals cranky mum, cranky mum means a life doomed to misery for all cohabitants. See I'm really thinking of their happiness and well being.
Recently, I got busted by a very peeved five year old and I learned a valuable lesson - when it comes to culling your child's artworks, discretion and caution should be always be applied.
Before I argue my case your Honour, and to ensure the jury doesn't label me as a totally heartless cow, please let me share with you some evidence of my devotion to my children's handiwork.
Everyday school bags and Kindy bags come home chockas full of drawings, most of which have just carelessly been scrunched up, shoved in the bottom of the bags and totally forgotten about. And every Friday a loving kindy teacher desperately thrusts armfuls of artworks upon me in an attempt to purge herself and her preschool of some of the clutter. My point is, every day more and more crayola stained paper threatens to invade our home and suffocate us, and this doesn't even include the creations that happen inside the walls of our house.
Take Exhibit A for example.
I mean I KNOW it is an alien space can sending smoke signals to the Indian rowing his boat in the lake. Clearly any fool can see that! But HOW many pictures of alien space cans does a household really need?
My methodology has been to cull before they make an entry into our home. As I unpack the bags from the boot of the car I cast a quick glance over each of the pieces to ensure their are no Picassos or Monets in amongst the piles and then I put the bulk of it straight into the blue paper recycling bin next to the garage.
This method has worked well for me... until now.
Last week I was standing in the kitchen fussing around as ones does and the kids were outside playing in the front yard. I heard the front door slam and the stomping of some very angry little feet. Before I even had a chance to gather my thoughts, in walked one cranky little dude with a fistful of paper and a look on his face that would scare even the toughest of adults.
"MUM, Some one broke into our house and stole all my dwarwings and THEN they hid them in the bin. That's naughty isn't it Mum"? he venomously stated.
"Oh yeah mate, that's just horrible" I innocently replied. What? I was taken by surprise alright?
"I think we should call the police and make them go to Jail" he went on to demand.
"Ummm no point hun, the dogs probably scared them off and they have had a really good head start on running away and the police will never catch them now. We will just have to make sure we are more careful with keeping your drawings safe in future". I was desperate OK! I knew it really wasn't my best parenting moment and by not fessing up straight away, I was digging myself in deeper and deeper, but that look on his face was pretty fierce I tell ya!
My middle son Sammy walked into the kitchen and casually inquired as to what was the matter?
"Someone broke into our house and took all my drawings and hid them in the bin out the front so they could come back later and steal them" Flynn promptly informed Sam.
Sammy looked at me and I could see the panic in his little face and at that point the guilt threatened to entirely engulf me.
I couldn't lie anymore, well not so blatantly anyway. And more to the point I couldn't let some poor non existent sucker take the rap for my crime, nor could I have my kids frightened of robbers who break into homes looking for kids artworks to pinch.
I certainly couldn't let the dogs take the blame again as they already take so much heat for the all little junky toys
"Actually I may have accidentally thrown them out when I was throwing out the newspapers guys" I meekly fessed up. "I really need to be a little more careful in future" *snort*.
Happy with my explanation and free from the fear of our neighborhood being invaded by art collecting cat burglars, the kids left me to choke on my guilt and went back out to play.
Crisis averted and at that moment I vowed to make sure that any disposal is handled more carefully in the future. Oh and of course I was reminded that lying to your kids is never the solution (if there is a chance you are totally going to get caught out).
I actually have a little project listed on my HUGE list of projects that has now been bumped up on the priorities rating. I have a stack of IKEA frames I bought with the intention of turning a wall upstairs into an interchangeable gallery of the kids works. I promise to share it with you as soon as I get to it.
I figure the kids will be really happy and proud to have their work displayed, it will stop their special masterpieces from being caught up in the *ahem* newspapers, and robbers would find it much harder to hide the bulky frames in the recycling bin.
What do you do with your kids million and one drawings and artworks?
Does the dog in your house get the blame for more than farts?
Any disposal tips you are willing to share, you know from one mum to another?
Do you think Picasso's Mum kept Everything?