Strange dilemma you might say, huh? You could possibly have the same dilemma and you just don’t realize it. Let me enlighten you. (I tend to take the scenic path versus the turnpike to describe things, so indulge me if you will for a few minutes.)
I have a family of five. I use a lot of trash bags. I don’t know about most families, but we generate a tremendous amount of trash on a weekly basis. For example, my daughter Leah (a.k.a. Nunu), 3, decided to take the four big pieces of Styrofoam from a shipping box in the living room, and create many hundreds of smaller pieces with it because she wanted it to look like snow in the living room. But I digress.
I do have two small children that create what seems like THOUSANDS of paintings and drawings daily at school/daycare. This form of expression adds greatly to the volume of paper in my home, consequently adding to the volume of trash bags that I use.
While I truly believe each and every one of them is a masterpiece, I have an extremely small home and cannot possible keep every rendering of Dora, SpongeBob, a house, a dog, a dragon, a cloud, a stick, etc. (Sidebar: Sometimes they all look like a stick but it’s best to ask what the picture is, rather than assume. Trust me on this one).
Sure, we share them with family members. My office is completely adorned with them. There are a few on the car dashes, at least a dozen in my purse right now and several are still the school backpack. We’ve even sent some to Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and yes, the Grinch. BUT – even after all of that, there is a treasure trove of art at my house. They vary in sizes from a post-it to a poster. They vary in shapes too because we need to practice THAT new dimension in our art, in order to mature our talents as a whole.
Much to my children’s dismay, we do have to discard some of the older pieces, and if I dare say, some of the less valued works of art. I know, I know, shame on me. But you have to understand just HOW MUCH ART there is!
Keep in mind this is a difficult task if you don’t just make an executive decision when the artists are asleep. As the curator for the gallery, sometimes I feel compelled to clean house or change things up a bit. Should I choose to get the artists’ opinions, it could take longer to make a decision than it takes a soap opera star’s career to end. (Don’t act like you don’t know what I mean. Some of those people have been on the same show for 30 years!)
Don’t get me wrong. Each and every work of art in my house is considered a loving, beautiful gift to the family, but the madness must end. Grant you, some of these items are simple tracings, some are impressionistic and some exhibit a flair for color. Others are a little disturbing, some are less-than-flattering portraits of me, and many are simply only understood by the artist. Each of them is distinctive by intent and design.
Beauty is NOT in the eye of the beholder in my home. Interpretation of work is entirely up the artist. If you don’t believe it, ask my 5-year-old to describe what is happening in a picture that has a squiggly line and a triangle in it. From moment to moment, the interpretation varies greatly.The same sketch could be a variety of things in a matter of minutes. The subjects in the drawing magically change from one being to another, at the whim of the artist’s imagination.
The artwork in our house is not limited to just the locals; Stina and Nunu. Oh no! We import random artwork to our cubbies at daycare and school. There are kids’ names on these papers that I’ve never even heard of, and pretty sure they don’t go to school there. I don’t just retrieve several trees worth of drawings and such from my own children, I get much more than that. The Thompson house is an equal opportunity gallery. We take everyone’s recycled trees.
If I try to toss these offerings, I get the usual, “No momma, Brittney made those for me!” (Notice I used the word those. I think Brittney’s momma has the right idea and tells her baby to make “gifts” for other people, instead of bringing them home). Sometimes I curse those quick-thinking moms. I’m barely getting out of the house with teeth and hair brushed, while these moms have time and energy to cultivate their less painful plans of action for keeping their houses clutter free.
Nonetheless, I have to limit their ever-expanding collection on a regular basis. I refer to this act as the Tossing of the Picassos.
Because I’m not as sneaky as I should be with tossing of the Picassos, I, to put it plain and simple, was caught red handed. Evidence in hand, trash can in the other. Let me tell you…it was a T O U G H situation to handle. I couldn’t talk my way out of it. They didn’t want to hear an explanation and I couldn’t think fast enough.
The artists were devastated, and then they rioted. I hadn’t reduced their art to rubbish, I had trashed their hearts. The talent they put on paper (and the occasional wall or counter) countless times a day in an attempt to create something unique each time, was thrown away like an old banana or a broken toy. They were so upset that I just pitched their loving gifts so effortlessly.
This created a little situation that I like to refer to as the PaDrama – defined as the act of putting on pajamas in an attempt to get them settled for bed, adding a bit of whining, plus a little kicking, sprinkling in some crocodile tears and just simply put…throwing a ring-tailed fit.
Small detour: the PaDrama is really a progression from the PeeJammas. Those nights when you were potty training and the kiddo insisted they should wear “big girl” panties to bed. Yeah, at that point when the confidence your child has in controlling their bladder conflicts with the competence of their body to refrain from releasing, they are no longer pajamas – they are in fact, peejammas.
Back to the point. PaDramas are usually long and tremendously frustrating. After the PaDrama, the disheartened, exhausted illustrators went to sleep, gripping so tightly their crumpled artwork they had rescued from the evil curator. I looked at their sweet little sleepy faces that were still red from being upset.
It was more than I could take.
In the end, I was riddled with guilt and I realized I wasn’t left with a dilemma at all.
2 x 4s and insulation cost much less.