The Roanoker - September/October 2020 - 14

The Art of the Matter

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, especially
when you're looking at kids' art.

A FRIEND OF MINE posted a question on Facebook: "What do
you do with your kids' art?" It was a while back so I feel like I can
safely out her (You know who you are, JEN.), but she was genuinely
stressed by the piles of paper growing around her home. There were
a number of replies, including making an elaborate book, or framing
suggestions. Companies have even sprung up to deal with this, like
ArtKIVE and Plum Print, but may I suggest an easy and affordable
solution, mom colleagues? Two items are needed. One, a deep drawer.
No drawer? A box will do. Grab that one from the Amazon crap you
just ordered that you don't need. And two, the trash bin.
I admit I struggled with this too, when my oldest was an only, a
post he occupied for four years. Everything he did looked like a young
Picasso in the making. I saved it all, putting it in a lidded box, or
hanging favorites on the fridge and the bulletin board for any visitors
to admire. Then his brother came along, toting home his own creations
from preschool and playdates, and then boom! I had kids numbers
three and four, and we were drowning in Crayola creations.
I first tried to make the kids select their favorites to keep. They love
them all...and the more glitter, the better. (I have glitter from 2006

14

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

CHRISTY RIPPEL is an award-winning freelance writer, covering lifestyle, design,
health and parenting. A VT graduate, she likes to bike and walk local trails. When
she and husband Chris aren't watching the Hokies, they watch their four kids
compete in sports. Christy is a Maryland native and lives in Roanoke County.

stuck in random places, like sleeping bags and hand-me-down clothes.
It sneaks out and surprises me a couple times a year).
Me: "Amelia, do we really want to save this snowman you made
in art? He's now missing all of his face." Amelia: "Nooooo. That's my
FAVORITE."
Everything is the favorite. They want to keep it all. So I started a
new tactic, which is throwing out their art when they aren't in the room.
Now, I know this will be tougher for those of you on your first child (see
above) and for those who lean to the super sentimental. But the longer
you're at it, the easier it becomes to determine the real keepers from
the trash bound. My son's gigantic valentine holder, made from an extra
large shoebox and dubbed "the explosion"? Trash. My daughter's sea
turtle drawing, the first thing she made in her extracurricular art class,
the one she was so incredibly proud of ? Keeper drawer.
Now, if you want to venture beyond my suggested drawer and your
trash, may I suggest a third category, which is "On deck trash." This
is the stuff that doesn't rise to the level of keeper, but is something
you definitely want gone from your house. I've had a tri-fold science
project on deck since last year. It's been marinating in the filth of
my 11-year-old's closet, and soon I'll move it to the storage area. If
we go six months without him asking to see it, it will disappear, like
a mafia informant. A bulletin board is also a great spot for on deck
trash. They can see it, you
can admire it, and then
it gets replaced when
the next favorite comes
home.
As for the science
project tri-fold, he was
proud of it. We were
proud of him for doing
it. But we have pictures
of him presenting it, and
AT LEFT:
working on it. We don't need the evidence.
My son's handmade
Stuff is tricky business. It's sometimes hard
valentine box
dubbed "The
to part with things that remind you of an earlier
Explosion" was trash
time in your life, or your kids' lives. I've tried to
bound after the
keep the best of the past, but remember that it
class party.
wasn't all rainbows and roses. That picture of your
ABOVE:
family that your kid created in preschool and gave My daughter's sea
to you? It's awesome. But also don't forget you turtle drawing from
were drowning in the early years of motherhood her extracurricular
art class--keeper
and barely had time to shower. You cried when he
drawer.
gave it to you, not just because it was beautiful.
But because your hormones were all over the place from just having
given birth to his brother.
Holding on to the best momentos of their past is such a worthy
goal. I think we'll all be so glad we did it later. But you'll want to open
that drawer and marvel at your carefully curated collection, instead of
having to plow through every school paper and art project and book
report your kid ever brought home. So get working on that drawer,
moms. When they go off to college, we can take it all out and make
elaborate leather bound books or house it in custom frames. We'll
finally have the time. -CHRISTY RIPPEL
TheRoanoker.com

CHRISTY RIPPEL

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The Roanoker - September/October 2020

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