The Tots Turner Prize

Every time I open my fridge, I knock another shower of glitter onto the floor.  Its doors are already covered in the artistic creations of my budding little expressionist. And she is only 20 months old.

If she keeps on producing art at this prolific rate, the Tate Modern are going to have to build another extension.

You see, I am still in that new, enraptured phase of cherishing every scrap of crumpled, dribble-stained paper my daughter leaves her mark on.

Child's handprints in blue paint on orange paper, scattered with glitter
An early piece from the Handprint Period (Nursery Whines)

Do not misunderstand me.  I am not under any delusion that her paintings rival those of Picasso or Matisse, but I cannot yet bring myself to cast them aside, in the way she breezily does.  She has gone to the effort of creating something that, albeit briefly, meant something to her, and for that reason they mean something to me.

And so my fridge, the kitchen table, the mantelpieces and an already bulging folder under my bed are now stuffed with her paintings, drawings and decoupage.

a piece of paper stuck with dried lentils, glitter and sand
No, not a sneeze, this is art (Nursery Whines)

I have reached the point where I am able to discard old magazines on which she scribbled.  But for a while they were building up to form the basis of an early collection.

There will come a point when her latest composition far exceeds the ones that have made it onto the fridge thus far.  And then they can be installed in pride of place and her budding attempts downgraded to the file under the bed.

Brown paint splodged on white paper
This is apparently a portrait of Daddy (Nursery Whines)

But at what stage does it become acceptable to *sharp intake of breath, then whispers* throw the lesser works away?

I am not sure I am even looking for advice and reassurance from fellow parents here.  I am a hoarder, from a family of hoarders, and perhaps I need a stern reprimand (other than those of my Significant Other, which fall on deaf ears) to, “Just bin them!”

Even then, how on earth do I decide which are the gems and which are just scrap paper?

Child's scribbles on a piece of paper
Does this picture speak to you? (Nursery Whines)

Art is subjective.  And in a world where a pickled cow and factory-manufactured dot paintings are priceless, my personal feelings make every daub of my daughter’s a potential Turner Prize winner, as far as I’m concerned.

This masterpiece was painted by me as a toddler, and deemed by parents good enough to frame and hang on the wall.  I was their eldest child and this was the first picture that actually resembled, to them, what I declared it was.  I believe it is supposed to be a spaceship. I don’t remember.

Child's painting of blue pink and green daubs in a frame
What the Tate might be like if Nursery Whines had pursued a career as an artist (Nursery Whines)

The picture still hangs in my parents’ house to this day.  My sister is the professional artist.  I proved to have virtually no talent for painting and have become a writer.

So perhaps I need to choose just one piece from my daughter’s Handprint Period, frame it, and learn to let go of the rest.

Paper plate stuck with feathers, paper, glitter, and a fluffy pompom and threaded with pipe cleaner
Paper, plastic, metal or just general waste?(Nursery Whines)

But if I am ever able to bite the bullet, how on earth do I work out which recycling bin they go in?

Disclaimer:  The unmade bed used for the photoshoot that accompanies this post is a product of the blogger’s own slovenly lifestyle and any resemblance to an actual Turner Prize nominated artwork is coincidental.


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