M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Tuesday, August 12, 2008  

Body of Work

I'm on TV again for the first time! Check me out on Twin Cities Live today (Wednesday) at 3:00 p.m. on Channel 5. Do I have to say Central Time? I think if you can get Channel 5 you pretty much have to be on Central Time. If there's an online clip later, I'll try to hook you up. I might even watch it myself this time, depending on how I think it goes.

* * *

Back in April, when M. Edium spent a couple of trial hours at what would become his Montessori, he left with a picture of the Space Shuttle on its launch pad that he had colored. He gave it to me, and I took it to work and hung it on my cubicle wall until he demanded it back. I miss it. It was and remains a special thing to me.

Then on his first full day of school, he had some coloring-book pages in his locker to bring home. We oohed and aahed over them appropriately. Same thing the next day, and the next. I had the idea of maybe starting to collect them in a binder, with dividers between each week or month, and we could one day flip through it and trace the subtle stages his artistic evolution, like when you have a Simpsons DVD marathon and watch Homer's face get more and more ovoid.

Now I'm just glad I didn't say that out loud, because needless to say that binder did not, nor will it ever, materialize. With five or six different coloring projects coming home every day, four days a week, for over three months now, it's difficult to get excited about each individual one. It's not like I could tell you which is my 327th favorite or anything. We couldn't possibly keep them all on the refrigerator. We couldn't keep them all in the refrigerator. It doesn't help that they're all on different shapes and sizes of paper. I swear last week he brought home a swath of orange construction paper shaped like a bra.

And they're piling up a bit, I'm sorry to say. There's a rapidly filling manila envelope on his desk, and a loose stack in the kitchen, and a stash that we're saving for his birth family. When I pick him up at school, I sometimes tend to leave them in Trash's car, which makes me a bad dad and a bad husband at once. Meanwhile, Trash encourages him to pick one to give as a gift when we have visitors, or we visit someone, or the UPS guy comes. which means his work gets to spread out to more refrigerators than just ours, but by this time next year there's still going to be enough to paper the house.

Right now the deepening palimpsest on the fridge includes his first cut-and-paste project, and another Space Shuttle picture that represents a leap forward in terms of staying in the lines. And stuff is going to keep coming.

Nothing for it but to get another fridge, I guess.

posted by M. Giant 9:47 PM 9 comments


I hear you, brother. I’ve got three kids pumping this stuff out. But do keep an eye out for the gems among the dross. Every now and then, you find a primitive masterpiece.

By Blogger Andy Jukes, at August 12, 2008 at 9:59 PM  

One of the parenting-type magazines once had an article about the pile of "art." They suggested having the kids pick their favorites each week, month, or year to keep, then toss/recycle the rest. The keepers could then be posted in the garage or in a basement, which would be designated as the child's gallery.

Yeah. Um I'm going to do that. One day. Sure.

By Blogger Bunny, at August 13, 2008 at 5:00 AM  

Ohhhh, it's so hard to throw that stuff out. But with two kids with a combined 6 years of Montessori and 3 years of elementary school --I call uncle.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 13, 2008 at 6:42 AM  

Somewhere on a shelf at my parents' house, there are several large manila folders. Each folder represents one year of preschool or school (well, for a while...there isn't a folder containing my high school term papers or anything), and my mom kept the keepers and presumably retired the rest to a trash can when I wasn't looking. It's nice to have a few, but no one misses the ones that didn't make the cut.

By Blogger dancing_lemur, at August 13, 2008 at 7:38 AM  

Get yourself an accordian file folder and toss the ones that won't fit on the fridge in there. That way it can live somewhere convenient and you can sort through it once a month to pass out the good stuff to other family and when it gets too full, you can toss the not so great stuff. My grandma made me this HUGE envelope thing, like 3' x 4' to stash all my work in. It got moved to the basement and we dug it out when I was in college once. It was neat to have and didn't require much effort on my parent's part (which, you know, is the key to anything like that ever actually getting saved- heh!).

By Blogger Auburn Tiger, at August 13, 2008 at 1:08 PM  

I remember those days. Unfortunately, my older daughter was able to keep track of every one of the 3,492 pieces of artwork she brought home each day. If even one item disappeared, she'd launch an investigation--there was no sending any of it off to live in the trash can. When my younger daughter hit preschool, her favorite activity was cutting up old magazines into itty-bitty pieces. While she wasn't obsessed with keeping every single scrap, she had a nasty habit of filling her pants pockets with her creations. No matter how vigilant I was, we always ended up with a mess of soggy, shredded magazine clippings in the laundry. Yuck!

By Blogger IntrepidLily, at August 13, 2008 at 3:46 PM  

Take photos of the really good stuff. I do that, and feel guilt free about throwing it away after it's spent a reasonable about time in the "gallery" (fridge). Of course, as mentioned above, sometimes there is a masterpiece. Keep that.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 13, 2008 at 5:52 PM  

Oh, the oddly sized/shaped paper art is the WORST! I once made the tragic mistake of tossing out what I thought was a wee scrap of orange construction paper, upon which was (I kid you not) one small, black magic marker dot. Turns out that teensy, tiny scrap paper was "the baby bug" of a series of bugs that Kiddo had been diligently working on creating. There was an entire bug family, all on their own individual, sized-to-fit pieces of orange construction paper. And I was the Baby Bug Killer.

It is good to read this and have the reminder that underneath the teeming mass of paper in the corner of the kitchen is an actual fridge, though, because I swear Kiddo's artwork *could* stack up that high. (At least, if the pile of artwork accruing in our basement is any indication...)

By Blogger Heather, at August 14, 2008 at 4:50 AM  

(Oh and I forgot to mention that there was loud and passionate mourning for the death of Baby Bug, so much so that I attempted to replicate the "dot on orange scrap of paper" and tell her I'd "found" Baby Bug a short while later. Unfortunately, I neglected some key detail to the "placing of the black dot" on the paper and/or the cutting out of the tiny square, because she took one look and said "That is NOT Baby Bug" and would have nothing to do with it. Kids!)

By Blogger Heather, at August 14, 2008 at 4:53 AM  

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