Deborah Ross: 'The macaroni-and-glitter stage of childhood creates appalling carnage'

Share
Related Topics

If you ask me, the combination of art and children is most trying. It starts with the crayoned squiggle which they'll say is a "fish" but obviously isn't a fish, as it's just a squiggle.

"That looks nothing like a fish. Go do it again, dumbo," you might want to say but, of course, in these over-praising, non-competitive times, where every child now gets a cup and ribbon on sports day (even the total losers!), you cannot. So, instead, you say, "It's marvellous, darling" and put it on the fridge even though, if they want their work to go on show, they should really provide a brief bio and timeline.

Next, it's the macaroni-and-glitter stage, and the appalling carnage this always involves. Macaroni everywhere. Glitter everywhere. Glitter. Glitter is viral. Glitter gets into every inch of the house and your being. Glitter gets into your lungs. All these years later, I can still cough up sparkly phlegm with quite a twinkle to it. But did I remain encouraging? Yes, although it does get harder over the years. "Marvellous darling," I would say, scarcely glancing at the 29th macaroni-glitter calendar of the week. "You possess a great talent," I would add, while binning it. "And if that macaroni had eyes, those eyes would be following me around the room," I might further add, while taking the bins out, and doing a sparkly cough.

Next comes the most frightening stage: figurative work. Your child presents you with a picture of a fat blob with three strands of hair and dots for eyes, one dot significantly higher than the other.

"Who is that?" you will ask. "It's you, Mummy!" will come the reply. You will protest. You will go into denial. But then you will look in the mirror and see you are a fat blob with three strands of hair and one dot of an eye higher than the other. This is always upsetting, but the truth, which is why you should put these pictures on the fridge. They are on ours and you are welcome to come see them anytime. You will know our house. It's the one between the very big flower and the very small tree. Also, you will know me, as I have three fingers on one hand, only two on the other and wear a big, red triangular dress.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester - Progressive Rec.

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester - Huxley Associates

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Progressive Rec.

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Reeva Steenkamp is  

Since Reeva Steenkamp's death, 243 women have been killed by male violence in the UK alone

Sian Norris
Actor Brad Pitt  

The over-50s have the real voting and spending power — so why are we so obsessed with youth?

Stefano Hatfield
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London