But what if he’s an architect someday?

Sometimes I just don’t know the rules.

Since about Week 10 of my pregnancy (5 years ago), I’ve been getting weekly emails from BabyCenter. At first they were weekly updates on the growth and development of my unborn baby (then referred to only as “Bump” – nickname courtesy of my sister Laura) and were incredibly helpful as I managed my own expectations of belly size, activity level, and whatnot. When he was born (and officially transitioned from Bump to Colt) the emails evolved into weekly updates on my “newborn” then my “baby” then my “toddler” and eventually my “preschooler”. After his 5th birthday last month, the subject line of the weekly emails switched to “My Big Kid This Week”. BIG KID, y’all.

I never unsubscribed from the emails because they have never stopped being relevant and helpful. Almost every week for nearly six years I’ve read the email, skimmed the recommended articles at the bottom, and forwarded it to Jeff to do the same. We’ve never done this before. Parenting, that is. We have welcomed the weekly encouragement and perspective and guidance.

But here’s the thing. The emails have been anything but helpful when it comes to my latest challenge.

When to keep. When to toss.

#firstworldproblems? Maybe. But I have no idea what the rule is here. He brings home enough “artwork” in a single day to fill an entire shopping bag. Sometimes, it’s handfuls of tiny pieces of construction paper — that I’m certain he painstakingly cut with his chubby little five-year-old fingers. Sometimes, it’s a stack of drawings — all rainbows or all dinosaurs or all hammers — and I have to pretend I can tell them apart, because “they’re all different, Mommy.”

But sometimes, it’s this:

Sunflowers by Colt

Forget throwing it away, I’m thinking of having it framed.

Since he’s our only, I’ve never felt the need to purge stuff to “make room”, and I’ve been pretty good about handing down his outgrown clothes — when they aren’t completely beat to hell. But now that he can write his own name on stuff and has moved beyond finger-painted, nonsensical masterpieces to actual, recognizable drawings — I’m lost. Do I keep them ALL? Do I ask HIM which ones to keep? Do I look into building on an addition to the house so we’ll have plenty of room to store everything?

After we saw Scooby Doo, he was reminded that we didn’t have any Scooby Doo books. So he made some. A whole series, really. He had his teacher help him staple paper into a book and he illustrated several episodes of Scooby Doo and the gang. He even chronicled our actual experience at the show that night — complete with shots of the audience and their reactions. His teachers captioned the drawings word-for-word, per his direction. He went on to round out his portfolio with books about sea creatures (a series he calls “Commotion in the Ocean”) and, of course, tools.

But lately – he’s a crafter. A builder. I see an empty mac & cheese box, he sees a table leg, or maybe a toolbox. I see a roll of tape, he sees an afternoon of endless fun. He asks for every empty box, bottle, and bag that comes through this house because he wants it “for building”. He needs materials, people.

Which means the artwork coming home from school — has gone 3D.

And this week — I got a text from his teacher with this photo.

Colt and friends with Colt's diorama of the school

I texted back: Oh, wow – class project??

The answer: Nope. Just his own creation!

Here’s a video tour of his diorama.

I made a model of my school! from Sarah Hood on Vimeo.

Do I have to keep this thing? Should I? Someday when he’s a famous architect or artist, will his biographers come looking for me and shake their heads with pity when I admit that I tossed out all his brilliant, “early” work? Will this video be enough to satisfy them?

So NOW what? This thing doesn’t exactly fit into a file folder.

8 thoughts on “But what if he’s an architect someday?

  1. Holy cow, that kid is cute!!

    1. He’s a monkey, huh?

  2. I saw a post from another mom once that suggested taking close up photos of artwork and then uploading them to a digital photo frame. That way you have a record of everything and he can still see it without it taking up room in your house. That way you can just keep the really special pieces in their 3-D form. I’ve also seen a suggestion about making a shadow box frame into an art display piece. You put the most recent or favorite piece in the glass and the rest are clipped behind it. Change them out as new ones come in and photograph the rest when the box gets full. I thought both were creative and cool ways to keep the memories without the clutter.

    1. That’s a great idea! Maybe I’ll create a little art gallery for him! (Or maybe that will just encourage a greater volume of art! Ha!)

  3. Oh, yes, save the “snack cart” and the video and call it good! He is so cute and I love your story. I have have a few boxes of treasures. Kids will have to decide what to keep and what to throw when they want to sort through it. When they move out it will go with them!

  4. The snack cart is my favorite part!!

  5. People are getting very creative in commemorating their child’s artwork. It really is hard to decide. Here are a couple ideas I’ve seen:

    Taking pictures of every piece & placing the pictures in an album
    Keeping a binder for each year & allowing your child to edit out what’s most important

    Precious post!

  6. I love the book idea. That would combine at least two passions :)

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