I'm a keeper.
By that I mean that I have difficulty discarding the artistic output of my children, however trivial the scribble. I know that some parents fall more readily into the "thrower" category, shiftily seeking the first opportunity to slide the 45th tree-house-flower assemblage into the bin. I envy those people who can enjoy the picture and then make a pragmatic decision not to fill their house with dusty pages which will never be looked at again. And as for those people organised enough to photograph the artwork and make books? Well, the organised shall inherit the earth*.
I think we partly ascribe value to our children's art because we recognise it as evidence of progression and healthy development. Seeing a recognisable figure emerge from the end of your child's crayon for the first time is a wonderful milestone moment. This is true for me, but I also value it because it is rare.
Oscar is a terrible perfectionist which he has 100% inherited from me and I am so sorry for it. Consequently, he is not a hugely enthusiastic drawer or painter. He much prefers junk modelling and process art (both fabulous and fun), as he gets easily frustrated at not being able to translate his detailed imaginings into equally detailed (and accurate) representations. When he does relax enough to paint or draw something, I tend to treasure the results. If he does draw, we often see the same picture iterated, as he tries to get it just right. We saw a lot of this guy (a monster, of course) for a time.
Spike was also slow to take up artistic pursuits, but he increasingly spends time creating. While he is generally satisfied with what he produces, his delayed fine motor skills mean that he does find drawing (and writing) tiring. When these rare gems appear, I can't help but scrutinise them for a little insight into his inner thinkings like some sort of half-assed Freud. Currently, 90% of Spike's drawings are of trains, train parts, or TOC logos. From this I can clearly discern that...[dramatic pause]...Spike likes trains. Occasionally, though, his drawings offer more insight. This is a particular favourite of mine.
So, here a giant six-winged butterfly (a brimstone, perhaps) is being threatened by a disembodied hand, wielding a ferocious looking sword-chainsaw hybrid. The butterfly is understandably petrified and is backing further into peril, towards a loo. He will not find refuge there, as it houses a carnivorous, toothed, snapping plant. It's fair to say the butterfly is f$£@ed.
Just like Nicole Kidman, Spike has a raging case of lepidopterophobia and has clearly taken comfort in designing a fitting end for the insect. I think the drawing would get a lot of love over at I Hate Butterflies.
My loose aims for the summer are to encourage Spike's more narrative drawing (because I love it), and to help steer Oscar from the path of perfectionism.
* I confess I did this once, for Spike's first year at nursery and optimistically subtitled it "Volume I", but then...life.