Dirty nappies, bottles to wash, uncertain stains to clean. As a parent, I had plenty of those and was happy the day arrived I no longer had to deal with them. The only item of parenting detritus I have conflicting feelings over are the specific items of child paraphernalia I have amassed a copious amount of.
I have scribblings and paintings aplenty, pasta and food pictures galore. You want glued boxes I got twenty, but who cares, I want more.
Well, not that much more because, here is some parenting honesty, almost universally they are terrible. I know there are parents out there who think their child is tapping into their inner Pollock or Dali, but one piece of child work is cute, two okay but having enough to open an entire gallery takes the value from them.
On a normal day at nursery we would be presented with three pieces of paper in various states of paint. This is not creating art, it’s teaching toddlers to become decorators. Sometimes they try to hide this by getting the children to paint on shapes because this is the only way to differentiate between pieces.
To begin with, it was touching to have an original piece of Feliciraptor work even if her earlier attempts saw more coverage of herself than the canvas.
We had the naïve idea to collect and save every item she created, we could create an archive showing the evolution of her style over the years. After we filled one folder in a month, this was not a workable project.
You then have to weigh the merits of one ‘white paint on blue paper’ against the next and does using macaroni over pasta shapes add more value? Not that it matters, anything that comprises dried food gets eaten by Feliciraptor on the car ride home.
We have saved pieces, including her first-ever picture from the nursery. Rather than covering my fridge in magnets and masterpieces we framed them and stuck them to the walls. It adds a level of classiness and means we could sell them for pounds.
Despite the overall standard, and I realise with my ‘C’ in GCSE art I am pot/kettle/black here, I still enjoy seeing what she produces (as I will with A-Rex’s artwork).
The work may be terrible, but it comes from the right place (in contrast with ill intentioned ‘good’ art).
Sometimes it is just another splurge of paint, sometimes it is ‘daddy and mommy’. That card may just have spaghetti on, but this one with lasagne sheets also says ‘Happy Father’s Day’.
As with any art, the real value is in the interpretation.