Wednesday, December 10, 2008

2 Feet Tall

She burst in the front door along with the bitter wind and I immediately, upon looking at her flushed cheeks, wondered where on earth her coat was? Not to mention the hat I sent with her to preschool this morning after looking outside and deciding that yes, today was definitely a "hat" day.

She clasped something shiny in her hands, her freezing cold hands.

It was shiny and covered in tinsel. There was a silver star hanging from it's top and upon further investigation I realized that it was a lower case "t." The tinsel gave it away. Tinsel starts with "t," just like all the other things used to decorate the letters of the alphabet that she brings home from preschool. We have an "f" covered in frogs. There is a "p" somewhere with pumpkins stamped all over it. Once I saw an "m" plastered with macaroni.

Once I got the door closed behind her and determined that yes, she really had worn her coat and hat during outside time at school, I asked her how her day was.

"Mom, it was fine," she told me in a voice too serious for a preschooler.

I told her that her letter "t" was beautiful, that I'd find a very special place to put it. Maybe we'd even hang it on our Christmas tree. It was just that special.

"Okay, but please don't throw it away like you do all the others," she pleaded, her eyes transforming into those of a wounded baby fawn. Oh, bring on the guilt.

"Of course I won't throw it away," I assured her, as I hung my head in shame.

This is my third child. Third children, unlike first children, aren't the first to do anything. They aren't the first to bring home a pint-sized hand print. They aren't the first to bring home a hand-stamped turkey, each tiny finger painted a different color. They aren't the first to make a tissue paper flower either.

I love and cherish each masterpiece any of the kids bring home from school . . . for a while. But then there comes a point when I have no more room on my refrigerator (and if you've seen my refrigerator door, you know that no available space is left vacant for long). My closets are stacked to the ceiling with tote boxes full of artwork. The space underneath my bed is crammed full of those under-the-bed boxes full of, what else? Children's artwork. There are a few prized pieces in frames and a few sent to distant relatives, but the rest?

They get photographed and recycled.

Unless they are extra, extra special.

I'm thinking my new tinsel letter "t" will be forever living in a very coveted spot, that being on the bulletin board in my office. So far no other artwork resides there. It is full of work calendars for the fire department, school information and special photographs.

Katie's letter "t" will be the first piece of artwork put there. I'll tell her how special it is, how nobody's artwork has ever been placed there, and that I'll look at it and think of her each time I work on the computer (or watch last week's episode of Desperate Housewives or funny 80's videos on YouTube). That ought to make up for recycling the letters that came before it, right?

Tell me, what do you do with all of your child's artwork? Do you save every single thing (Oh, don't tell me that - I'll feel even worse!), or do you selectively sort and save? Do you frame special paintings?


Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

I am the wrong person to ask.

I have everything.

Or everything has me.

Either way.

It is all so precious. I need help.

Ashley said...

I'm as guilty as you. I recycle my first kid's artwork because he is the only one old enough to be in school. Who knows what I'll be doing with it by the time Sugarbaby hits Pre-K, using it as papertowels maybe?

I do save very special pieces, but I'm not a packrat. I hate clutter. And you just made me feel bad about that with this post. I'm thinking maybe the Monster doesn't know that all his stuff isn't stashed away somewhere safe so he can nostalgically go through it twenty years from now. I better get a damn big rubbermaid now.

Christy said...

Oh, HELL no! I do NOT save everything! I toss more things out that you can shake a tick at (and I too am admonished for it, and feel the guilt start to flow.) But seriously, we can't keep everything. We can't. If we did, when our kids grew up, they'd think we had a "problem"--we were hoarders or something, and they'd end up in therapy over it. I figure it's either that or seeking counseling for the tossing of their most prized posessions...and at least the latter keeps my house less cluttered!

TuTu's Bliss said...

I have my girls occasionally paint on giant art Canvas and those of course get saved.Others "special things" I scan and print in albums via photobucket. The rest...hmmm they just get "lost", I promise :)

Anonymous said...

I still have some of yours. But not all. And Dad & I have those files of stuff from the "grands". But not as much for that 3rd child yet.

I feel so ruthless when we discard.. most of the time I just move it up to the "office" , stash it, then tell myself I will take care of it later.

But hey.. does anyone want to hear about Carrie's report cards? We have those, too!


San Diego Momma said...

Oh Lord, no. I have a few representative samples from each "stage," but that's it. I'd go crazy trying to keep it all.

I did frame some things (in cheap Ikea frames), and I came across The Picasso Kid here in San Diego that takes kids' artwork and binds it in a I'm gonna do that for some stuff.

Other than that, I hide tons of stuff in the trash can. But I never was much of a good mom anyway :).

gorillabuns said...

You are making me nervous about having this 3rd kid.

Sadly, I make my kids choose what they want to keep and if it's really special, I store it in a bin with the art work they chose.

Rachel said...

Hey, my pre-schooler brought home a macaroni M recently, too! ... And you can guess where it ended up. Thanks for the guilt trip, he's only my second. I cannot save everything. I can't even save a fraction of the artwork my kids generate. I do set aside *really* special pieces, to someday be sorted and sifted through, and passed down. I have framed a couple of my oldest's paintings. Funny you wrote this, I just featured one of her many masterpeices on my blog. ;)

Didi said...

Oh ladies! We've all had that comment and the doe eyes....I too have the clear accordian files for each kid- and all their "stuff" goes into them that is saved. At first I "didn't know" what happened to those things, and then we had some hurt feelers when they found out I was recycling the majority- however- I can tell you- that once they get out of pre-K.... there is a massive reduction in bring home projects- so those I hang all over my kitchen and office for that season- and then we take down, recycle and refill with the new stuff.

Now I'm not sure if they really feel good about the fact that we are recycling and it's good for the earth- or simply that they don't want me to crack like an egg at the sight of any more clutter in what is designed to be the ultimately clean house... I'm sure we'll all end up in thereapy together tho! :)

Anonymous said...

As of right now, it is all in under-bed bins. They will be completely full after this school year, then I know I have to go through it...

wyliekat said...

We sort. And we save. We've got two rubbermaid bins in our attic with our girls' names on them. We keep odds and ends in there of stuff that's really cute or key.

Still, everything has a time on the fridge. One little vase of pussywillows (made with wallpaper and puffed wheat on blue paper) is actually whimsically stuck on our dining room wall like genuine art. I don't know how it ended up there, but for some reason it works.

Cin said...

This is going to sound terrible so I will begin by saying I am overly sentimental. EVERYTHING chokes me up. I cannot bear to get rid of stuff but it became overwhelming. So i have some pretty decorative boxes where I save the really special stuff, and everything goes straight to the trash before I have a chance to think about it or fall in love with it.

cin said...

Oh! and my kids are with the program! It never bothered them because they see me crying over the beauty of everything they do so they don't take it as a sign that I don't cherish every move they make. :-)

cin said...

Oh! and my kids are with the program! It never bothered them because they see me crying over the beauty of everything they do so they don't take it as a sign that I don't cherish every move they make. :-)

The Coffee Lady said...

Keep some. Chuck some. But really, chuck most of it.

Someone once told me that they kept a box for each year for each child and put ALL their craft stuff in, with the idea that they could open it on their 18th birthday as a lovely memory

Can you imagine what kind of 18th birthday present that would be? Really? Boxes and boxes of splodges?

ANDREEA said...

Thank you for your kind words.:)
If I had a child I would keep everything...frame draws..all of it.:))

Kimmylyn said...

I have to say that I save 98% of it. The only things I do not save are the random drawings on like Newspapers that they use sometimes. I put their art work in bins and label the years. Terrible right? But I have to say that my Mom did the same and when she passed it on to made me smile ear to ear.

Queen of the Mayhem said...

I am a terrible mother.

I throw almost everything away.

Talk about bringing on the guilt!


OHmommy said...

Oh gosh... I can only imagine the lack of art things I save for the third child.

For now. I have resorted in taking pictures of art work and making a one page collage in their photo albums.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I'm a picture taker and recycler. I started that back when you used film. The keepers are few and far between.

Sheila @ Dr said...

I sort and throw away particularly if it's broken. But I do have one big plastic bin that I tuck a few momentous things in. I know one day I'll really cry buckets going through it all!

Oh and of course I'm a picture taker! :)

Leanne said...

I've kept a few bits and pieces, usually when all the other kids have been painting with brushes and toots decides she quite fancies using her hands, the things that set her apart.

But everything else gets photographed and recycled.

I've used some of her bigger crayon scribbled over paper as wrapping paper for nana's mother's day present.

Anonymous said...

Very nicce!