It all started when we bought that damned easel. I read somewhere that toddlers and preschoolers were better able to write using an easel or sprawled on the floor, so it seemed like a good idea. From the moment Hubby set it up, Princess became an art-making machine. First she was content to color on the easel paper, adding to it over a few days until she needed a new section. Then she needed new paper every day. Then multiple times a day. Before I knew it, she was making several works of art every afternoon.
Then we branched out to paper plate crafts, especially after Caveman was born and my resources, both supplies and energy, were limited. You can make lots of stuff with paper plates, tape, and some paint. We made ladybugs and lions, tambourines and masks. Our dining room looked like a zoo.
Then she started pre-school, and I foolishly rejoiced because she was making art outside the house, where I wouldn’t have to deal with the mess. Oh, how foolish I was. Suddenly there were macaroni necklaces and finger-painted pictures, full-body cut-outs and melted crayon stained glass. She made paper dolls and puppets, cutting projects and collages. To keep up with the never-ending flow of artwork, I created a gallery wall with clips to hold the latest masterpieces. When that wasn’t enough, I instituted “Operation Grandma.” Each Grandma (or Grandma-equivalent) got a large envelope, and I stuffed art into those envelopes until I was together enough to mail them out. No notes, no explanation—just a giant envelope of Princess art in your mailbox. That worked pretty well for a while (for me—not sure how the Grandmas feel about it).
This year Princess is in Kindergarten and Caveman is in pre-school. On top of the regular art, I’ve got pages of practice name printing, math worksheets, and pumpkin projects. In addition, Hubby brings Princess “recycled” paper from his office so she can color on the back. That child can color a LOT of pictures when she has unlimited amounts of paper in front of her. She colors me hieroglyphic notes to let me know she wants a drink of water, she colors me flowers and hearts and rainbows. When she is sad, she draws a picture of herself with a sad face and brings it to show me. She colors ponies and puppies, pumpkins and porcupines. She colors pictures of herself coloring! Someone please help me, I’m drowning in kid art!!!
Don’t get me wrong—I’m glad my kids are creative and easily entertained. But I’m starting to get tired of the nightly rounds of “sneaky art disposal.” At night, after Princess and Caveman are asleep, I sort through the art, keeping a few pieces that are special or funny, and recycle the rest. You have to hide it, too, or you hear, “Why is THIS in the trash?!?” in an indignant tone the next morning. Artists, you know, are very sensitive. They don’t like it when you toss their art in with the empty peanut butter jar. Yes, that stick-figure family took about 5 minutes to make, but, “I MADE that JUST for YOU, MOMMY! HOW could you THROW it AWAY??”
Well, what the heck—I look really thin as a stick figure. Maybe I’ll put that one in a frame and display it. I’m definitely keeping this one forever:
Princess’s drawing of her as a butterfly and Caveman as a caterpillar.
Why, what did you think it was?