‘Why is this picture in the bin?’ asked my daughter.
Seven little words with the power to chill every parent’s blood.
We give each other a look. We’ve been caught.
‘Oh, it must have been an accident!’ replied my husband.
It was no accident.
There are two very distinct schools of thought when it comes to what to do with your kid’s masterpieces. I discovered this when my friend Erica shared a meme on the subject into a local mum’s group and came under the kind of intense scrutiny usually reserved for people who put cats inside wheelie bins.
There were mums on both sides of the ‘keep it vs can it’ debate but the more vocal of the two factions could not believe that any monster would throw away one of their child’s lovingly crafted creations.
I stayed quiet, but I am going to admit it here.
I throw my children’s artwork in the bin.
Not all of it, obviously. And not in front of them. That would be mean.
A particularly good or meaningful picture is kept, put on the fridge or even on the wall if it’s super-duper special (there has been one such piece so far) however without using their paintings to paper the walls there just isn’t the room to keep hold of all of it when you have two prolific artists.
When your children go to preschool, most days they’ll bring you back some kind of artwork.
Using paint is, of course, one of the reasons you send them to preschool in the first place.
When they first start coming home clutching their little pictures, it’s very cute.
Even though aged two or three their scrawls are undecipherable and there’s no way you’ll ever guess what they’re supposed to be (do not try and guess. Pro tip), you feel so proud you do the proper thing by gushing over it and placing it in pride of place right on the fridge or mantelpiece to greet you every day.
Thats how you start… but it quickly mounts up.
When you have two children, you can be greeted by up to 8 pieces of A4 paper per day.
There isn’t a person in the world with a fridge big enough for that.
And let’s face it; not all of it is award winning. When you can’t tell which is the four year old’s and which is the two year old’s, it’s very probable they were just phoning it in.
This particular picture wasn’t a picture, it was a half-arsed pen scribble which had actually gone right through the paper. I know a good piece of preschooler artwork when I see one, and that my friend was not it.
My daughter’s reaction to finding her picture in the bin was awful.
She was crushed*.
So I’ve decided that I won’t be doing it again.
Next time it goes into the recycling where she’ll never find it.
*She wasn’t really, I promise.