When my children were younger they burst forth from their classroom at the end of the day, waving indeterminable scribbles and tatty bits of paper with random items stuck to them. In fact, I’m sure that teachers save up the worst contents of their recycle bins just so they can have a giggle at our expense when we attempt to enthuse over our loved one’s latest creation,. Over the years, I became hugely experienced in the discovering what each scrawl or construction was supposed to be, learning from, but also channelling, the late, great Joyce Grenfell’s questioning technique:
Now then, children. Shall we talk about this picture? Tell Mummy what you can see. My favourite part is this blue bit. Of course I can see what it is but I want you to tell me all about it…
Of course the pictures deserved praise – I have to retain my Supermum title somehow – and I’m hugely adept at deciphering what my ‘talented’ children created, but here is my confession. There is no special plastic ‘memory box’ in which the artwork is stored or a coloured perspex display board because each precious picture went in the bin a few days after it was brought home.
Craft sessions with the rugrats are all well and good – and I’m a dab hand at cutting a star into half a potato – but the fruits of their labour serve no real purpose. School glue is renown for not actually doing its job very well therefore, essential parts of the creation disintegrate or drop off and the sparkly stuff gets everywhere! Glitter flavoured mash for tea? Of course, darling. And, whilst I’m at it, who’s bright idea was it to stick uncooked pasta onto an A4 piece of paper? There’s a great conversation in Victoria Wood’s ‘dinnerladies‘ that parents in my shoes will love:
Dolly: (reading Tony’s get well card) What does that say?Twinkle: Love Twinkle.Dolly: We had to practice handwriting when I was at school! The little boy next door can only write his name in macaroni! How’s he going to move on to joined up writing?Bren: He’ll have to have a pencil case big enough to hold spaghetti
And, you know what? There’s no respite. Twenty years later my grandchildren are presenting me with handiwork that is covered in just as much glitter, pasta paint and glue. Craft… timeless, huh?
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