Great moms save everything, right?

Some mothers keep everything their children make.

Not this mom.

Let me explain. My two-year-old son spends about 35 to 40 hours a week in day care. Every day he does art projects. When I arrive to pick him up, his cubby is crammed with cotton-ball sheep, pipe-cleaner people, and aluminum-foil rockets. Even if he were a pint-sized Picasso, I couldn't keep up with this prolific output. So, when nobody's looking (especially the teachers), I carefully fold the artwork into a tiny wad and bury it in the trash.

At the moment, my son is oblivious to my cavalier treatment of his chefs-d'oeuvre. But this does not assuage my guilt. If I were a better mother, the voice in my head goes, I'd have scrapbooks in which to keep all his artwork. If I really wanted to encourage his talents, I wouldn't care that his drawings don't enhance my kitchen decor.

A few words in my defense. Last January, my son designed a truly inspired New Year's hat, with glitter, sequins, and feathers. I was impressed. I felt the kind of pride that fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi's mother must have felt when he first carved up one of her suits to make an outfit. I carried the hat home gently, intending to photograph my boy wearing it. Months later, it's still in the cabinet, gathering dust.

There's no moral here, other than parenting is an endeavor littered with good intentions.

My son may not have a sense of ownership or pride in his work now, but that will change, and I'll become chief curator of the Muse du Fridge soon enough.

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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