Sunday, February 12, 2012

Come On Babies Light My Fire

My daughters are prolific artists.

This is a real-time shot of our kitchen table where I'm writing this post. The Valentines factory is in full swing. We have feathers, glitter glue, markers, jewels, multi-coloured paper - even some flowers LK brought home the other day.

It's hard to know what to do with this 'embarrassment of riches' - every project is a window into their souls. Every pen stroke a Rembrandt.

We have an 'art wall':

and we've even framed some of it:

It just keeps arriving by the carload though. They are a two-woman deforestation project

Then this winter we hit on an idea. Recycling and reusing. We are lucky enough to have a fireplace in our house, and when the temperatures dip we make good use of it. This year we were also blessed with several truckloads of free firewood. Turns out most of the avocado ranchers LK knows are desperate to offload avocado wood - and it burns beautifully - fast and hot. On Christmas Eve LK turned up with a truck full of the stuff and my Dad and I helped unload. "Careful" yelled LK cheerfully, "I saw at least two black widows in amongst that lot". We studied our gloveless hands. "Really?" asked my Dad. "Sure" said LK, "but they're really shy, just be careful in that loose stuff at the bottom."

In the end we didn't die a painful neuro-toxin death, but we may have been more than a little ginger when it came to stacking the wood - one carefully scrutinized log at at time.

Back to the art. We really needed kindling. Then it struck us, we had all this paper bounty just sitting around, cluttering every surface in every room. We tried to be discreet, but they soon busted us rolling up their masterpieces and lighting fires with them. We sat down and explained we couldn't save every creation, that it might end up going in the bin anyway, but if anything was really special they should just let us know and we'd definitely keep it.

Of course, I got a taste of my own harsh medicine when the last day of school before Christmas rolled around. I picked Anna up and she left her with her schoolfriends, all cradling the term's art and writing projects. In front of her teacher, her classmates and all of their parents she yelled - "Look Mom - look at all the stuff I have for you to put on the fire".

Parent of the year.


Anonymous said...

Brilliant post. I am very captivated by the idea of becoming an avocado rancher, lassoing any of those errant avocados... Much Happy Valentine's Day love to your girls. How's the face? S x

Elsie Button said...

ha ha love it! i too use my girls art work as kindling - but do feel horribly guilty, specially when caught!

mcCutcheon said...

hehe, I love it :)
I guess if you manage to explain it to them it's a ton better than being handed that huge box filled with shame inducing proof of your artistic endeavors when you move out, your parents happy they finally found a good reason to get rid of the stuff.

my family holds on to every. little. thing. which results in mountains and mountains of stuff. I'ver since vowed to simplify my life by keeping only the most important memories in material form. But I would've had to sift through a lot less had my parents had that foresight ;)

seadragon said...

I loved your last two posts. So funny. This one made me laugh out loud.

Also an idea: you could take a picture of anything you feel guilty of burning, so you'll still have a record of it.

I have yet to figure out what to do with my son's creations. Crumpled up paper with various things inside (e.g., a marker), presented to us as "presents". He saves these in his cubby at school and then wants us to take them home.

Anonymous said...

Though my daughter is just a month or so younger than Lucy, she is not quite the prolific artist (she is more of a Lego girl, and though I do have trouble convincing her the her houses and towers cannot be kept and need to be broken apart before we can fit the Lego back into the bin, she eventually concedes.)
But I second what seadragon said: My brother used to keep every.little.thing his kids made, and after a few years, when it obviously went out of hand, he just started scanning every little thing. Every night, he just scans anything they've done that day (be it a little collage, or a drawing, or a little story they write) -- and then off to the trash it goes. I'm hoping to be organized enough to do the same one day, if needed...

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