Chronicling

A great philosopher once said:

Wise beyond his years. He hadn’t even had any kids. I don’t feel like my kids are growing up but rather exploding, quickly and secretly when my eyes are turned. One of my colleagues who has grown up children told me once, “I don’t know, it’s funny. You put them in bed one night, kiss them goodnight and when you wake up, they’ve flown the nest”.

My kids really like drawing now. My eldest is particularly consumed by it. At the end of the day, even the promise of reading a Roald Dahl book can’t get him to come to bed because he’s drawing. I’m not complaining – it’s a nice pastime and we encourage it. Before leaving work, I raid the recycling bin for unwanted and unloved one-sided photocopies that I can staple together into a sketch pad and bring home to my boys – what a guy!

The walls of our house are plastered with their drawings. Literally plastered.

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Not featured on “Changing Rooms”.

We’ll never win any interior design awards and my Pinterest account is rarely looked at but I couldn’t care less. It’s comforting to come back to a home filled with pictures of suspended blue skies, portraits of family members with no hair and twelve fingers, and frantic scribbles in primary colours. It’s also satisfying to use the word, ‘scribbles’. Sitting at the table with a cup of tea with your child, watching their knitted brow, pursed lips and chubby fingers grab that deceptively large pencil, listening to their deep breaths of concentration is a nice way to forget the troubles of the day.

These pictures are as precious as photos but are not treated as so: they’re often thrown away, put in a drawer or forgotten about. That’s why we have taken to photographing everything.

When we moved house, I found myself having to deal with a tonne of papers: work stuff, bank info, documents, my unfinished Hollywood script. These papers were heavy and bulky, and when moving country, sacrifices had to be made. Everything relatively important (too important to throw away, not important enough to be saved) was photographed and stored on a USB, and then I started photographing their artwork.

Flickr provides 1TB of free photos. Google Photos offers unlimited storage if you’re okay with some compression. My wife has a second Facebook account with only a handful of friends (grandparents, brothers, me) which she uses to upload anything and everything child-related without causing eye-rolling and long sighs from casual friends.

One more thing, when pictures have been scribbled and drawn, my wife always writes the date in the corner in pencil. This allows us to see real progress.

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What a difference a year makes.

Also, with more ‘creative’ endeavours, she also pencils in what these blobs and squiggles actually are. Thus ensuring that when they’ve flown the nest, we can look back on these efforts with warm smiles and not knitted brows of our own.

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