When I was a kid I used to watch Blue Peter and marvel at how they could make space rockets out of loo roll and an empty Coke bottle. I never made anything like that as it seemed to require a lot of effort and by the time I’d collected the things I needed, I’d forget how to make it.
Although my lack of craft skills has meant that I don’t make things with Mishty at home, he at least gets to experiment at nursery. He would come home laden with lovely paintings and plastic plates with bits of glitter and macaroni stuck on. I would tuck them safely all away in a little folder as a special keepsake.
However, since moving house I have noticed that the new nursery does things somewhat differently. The quantity of items being brought home has increased but the quality of his art has decreased.
“Look Mummy, I made this for you” Mishty says sweetly as he hands me a piece of paper with one line faintly drawn on in pencil.
“Oh, how lovely, what is it?” I ask, feigning wonderment at this rather minimalist picture.
So that makes two of us.
I also have a sneaky suspicion that the nursery is offloading its recycling duties onto us unsuspecting parents.
For example, Mishty came home the other day with a plastic biscuit wrapper. It had nothing on it – no paint, no glitter and not a pasta shell in sight. Of course he wouldn’t let me throw it away either as it was of immense importance to him. I’d understand if it still had the biscuits in it but being empty, this attachment baffled me.
I was expecting rockets, ships and robots but instead I got an empty plastic Persil box with a bit of masking tape on it. Focusing on the positives, at least it was something I could store things in and I could see that he had made some attempt to decorate. If I was marking it, Mishty would get a “must try harder” rating.
And lets not forget toad in the hole. I get an insight into the diet of nursery staff through the range of ready meal boxes he brings home. It’s nearly always toad in the hole. I think he is attracted to this one because he loves sausages and he loves Yorkshire puddings so a combination of the two is just too much to resist. But there’s nothing on it! Just another strip or two of masking tape that has probably taken him ages to rip and stick on.
A better mum would be appreciative of these efforts but the tiger mum in me has higher expectations. So what if he’s only three – this is hardly the stuff of treasured keepsakes. I can’t even get rid of the stuff because every time I try to sneak it in the recycling box he finds it and pulls it out with a hurt expression saying, “hey, how did that get there?” and then I say it must have been Daddy.
But who decides what is art? One man’s art is another man’s rubbish. My interpretation of Mishty’s minimalist art may actually be too simplistic. It may be the case that he is using the rubbish to depict societal ruin, consumerism and materialism and they are in fact exceptional pieces of modern art. Or it simply may be the case that one nursery’s rubbish is now another family’s rubbish. Whatever the case, here’s to art, whatever its form!
Update: After writing this post, I picked up Mishty from nursery and came across more art/tat which show a substantial improvement.
Pic 1: The McDonalds cup – This has an entire roll of Cellotape wrapped around it. It still looks like rubbish but I appreciate the effort that went into making this.
Pic 2: Super-Potato-Man – This is creative but I don’t like food going to waste so this will most likely end up on my plate for dinner.
Pic 3: Red & Black Blobs – A traditional painting using two bold colour choices. This is clearly worthy of the Tate. My son’s talent has finally arrived!