(Steel age 2 drawing of a horse)
Here are a few things about which I'm conflicted:
1. The craft materials: paints, markers, crayons, paper, play dough, stickers are under lock and key in our house.
2. I rarely take my kids to my studio to do clay with them.
3. When friends told us they scan every piece of artwork that comes home from daycare and bind the images in hardback for the grandparents at the end of the year, I sternly mouthed "NO!" to Tim.
4. I'm seriously considering a school with no art for my children.
My Dad was always self-employed, but it makes him crazy that I don't work for anyone and neither does my husband. I find it patronizing that he thinks we can't do something he did. However, I was recently asked to help someone make a decision about going into a medical career or a "creative" one. She'd been doing restaurant/nanny work for the past 2 years, and I hadn't seen anything creative going on. I said, "If you're going the creative route, you're going to be competing against people who spend every waking, breathing moment making things." How patronizing is that?
(JP age 3 drawing of a penguin)
One of Tim's exes is not a shipwreck. (reference to previous blog) She's an artist; she and her musician husband have 2 sons in Manhattan. We stayed at their uber-glam Tribeca live/work space for a weekend. There is no adult seating in their living area. It is a 20x20 space of solid toys complete with a train set zooming around its perimeter. There were no apologies about, "the mess." I came away from that weekend feeling, at the very least like a boring control freak, at worst, like a bad mother. I still don't understand why I put away the toys every night or why I scream at JP and Steel to do it. I need to see the puked-on Marshall's Home Goods rug in my living room at the end of every day.
I used to treat our coryan white counter like a gesso-ed canvas for our kids. They'd go wild with the washable markers, but we had a very close call with a Sharpie and some generic non-crayola markers didn't come off with soft scrub. The party was over. I could blame my husband for the tight reigns on art supplies, but I get crazy when the red and black playdough are mixed. (I'm ok with the yellow and green.)
Another artist couple who allow the chaos is comprised of my childhood friends, Helen and Frank, who are now married. We visited and there were so many toys to distract my children, they didn't notice the vat of glitter in the middle of an art table in the middle of the living room. If we had unprotected glitter on the premises people would think Tim was getting lap dances every night. There'd be glitter in our ears. When the nurse came to visit Helen and Frank a week after the birth of their second child, she said, "I had no idea you were running a daycare!" They replied, bewildered, "We don't..."
When people say, "Your kids are going to be SO CREATIVE!" I usually reply, "No, they're going to sell insurance..." Is that what I want?