When Johnny’s No Michelangelo
Congratulations to brave New York Times writer, Michael Tortorello, for tackling such a sensitive issue with this week’s “Mom, You’re One Tough Art Critic” about homes so overrun with kiddy art that mothers have done the unthinkable: thrown it out.
“We all want our children to be creative,” he writes. “But do they have to be so prolific? Once children enter nursery school, every day produces another masterpiece. Presidents’ Day brings a cotton ball wig; Purim means a bean-box rattle. Forget about organizing the pieces in a storage bin. This is a job for a shipping container.”
Mother of two, Jessica Hanff, tells Tortorello she averages two to four new crayon drawings a day — not all good enough for the fridge or the walls or even a cardboard box. Take 4-year-old Elizabeth’s coloring of Dora the Explorer. “It looks like someone slapped her in the face,” she says. “She’s got these big shiners.”
More and more, she says, she has no choice but to bin it. Of course, sometimes her kid fishes it out of the trash and, well, that’s embarrassing.
Back at my house it’s a sensitive issue. My husband would throw out all of our toddler’s art if I let him. Then again, he has no problem disposing of personal letters, birthday cards, old New Yorker magazines, glossy inserts from weekend papers (okay maybe I’m the one with the problem).
The other day, he tried to throw away a Christmas card our daughter made, which I was still displaying on the refrigerator. It’s true she’d ripped off the snowman and the reindeer and the snowflakes, and really little about it said “Happy Holidays!” anymore save some clumps of gold glitter and a sad tuff of cotton snow.
“She’s two,” he said. “We live in a small house in London with no storage. What’s it going to be like when she’s ten?”
“It’s her first Christmas card,” I protested. “I can’t throw it out.”
“Then how about throwing out those New Yorkers instead?” he said, pointing to a pile on the kitchen table.
And the debate continues…
Views anyone? How do you decide what to save and what to throw out?
Image by the toe stubber.
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