September 1, 2010

Childhood Memorabilia

Today I was home sick. I started to get sick yesterday with a sore throat, and woke up this morning with a sinus headache, a runny nose, and a stuffy head. Needless to say, I cancelled A's physical therapy appointment (can't be at Children's Hospital while contagious!) and we stayed home all day. Although I felt terrible most of the day, there were a few hours in the middle of the day when I had some energy. I decided to use that time to sort through D's and A's schoolwork/artwork, which are in big plastic bins in the garage.

You see, I hate throwing away their schoolwork and artwork. I don't keep EVERYTHING; if I did, I'd need a storage unit just for that! But I do keep a lot: drawings, art projects, construction paper hats made for various holidays, writing books. I label everything with the year, and toss it in a plastic bin in the garage. My plan is that when they are adults, I will give each child their bin and they can sort through for themselves what they want to keep.

So today, I spent time finishing labeling the projects D brought home from kindergarten last year, and put it in his bin. And now his bin is full. Completely filled. He has been in "school" of some sort since he was 5 months old....first a Mommy-and-Me class for two years, then preschool for three years, then kindergarten. And he brought lots of stuff home from each class. I labeled the entire bin "birth through kindergarten" and am now onto bin #2 for him. I suspect that this next bin will last from 1st grade onward, as I'm sure artwork dwindles every year.

A's bin....well, it is about 1/8 full. There are a handful of art projects (mostly fingerpainting) that she has made in school for the past two years, but that's about it. Granted, A is two years younger than D, and much of D's artwork and schoolwork came from kindergarten last year, but still. It made me sad.

D went to preschool at our synagogue. And they were big into projects. Not only do we have the typical artwork any preschool would make, but they also did projects for each Jewish holiday. Torahs made out of paper towel rolls, Purim groggers, and tzedakah boxes came home alongside caterpillars made from egg cartons and homemade books. A doesn't go to the preschool at our synagogue; she goes to fabulous preschool at a Presbyterian church that has the most amazing inclusion program (this school is truly the right school for her). There are not as many projects coming home from this school. I'm not sure why, and it doesn't make the school better or worse than D's school....but I'm not used to it, and I'm sad that her box of school memorabilia is so skimpy.

It just reminds me, once again, at the differences between my children. Not that every child has to have the same experiences or opportunities...I know that isn't true, and even if A had been typically developing her childhood still would have been different than D's. But I'm sad that she didn't get the same preschool experience....I loved that D got such a great Jewish foundation through school. With A, all of her Jewish identity comes from home. Again, it's ok...but it makes me sad.

I'm sure that A's bin of schoolwork and artwork will soon fill up, especially when she hits the pre-kindergarten program next year, and then kindergarten the year after that. Until then, I will continue to save every scrap she brings home.


  1. (So sorry you are sick and have a bum toe. Didja see my dumb tweet joke about the pink marshmallow ball? I'm wondering if you will scrap the 1/2marathon so as not to further injure yourself?)

    We have saved bundles of stuff, too. Honestly, it is just not the same between any two children, I think. Ours have decidedly unequal piles for a variety of reasons. Notwithstanding their differing ages, boys and girls, eh?

    Hoping to cheer you into thinking differently about the meaning of your storage bins. Barbara

  2. I have kept a lot of stuff over the years too. Gracie is only three, and I have so many pictures and crafts. Hanna is going on two, and I don't have anything that she's "made". It's different, but it's okay. i know they will be very different, but they will both have strengths and weaknesses.
    I hope you feel better soon!!

  3. I am just like you and save a ton of stuff. It is so hard to get rid of when they are growing so fast. I love looking back on the things that Caleb made while he was in kindergarten.
    Gracie doesn't make much stuff but I do keep what she makes. Luckily I can tell when she made the project or when someone did it for her.


I love to read your comments!