Taking Stock - February 6, 2012

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WHAT do cornflakes packets, toilet rolls, plastic pop bottles and dried pasta have in common?

I’ll give you a clue – they’re all cluttering up my house having, at some point in recent months, made the short journey home from The Munchkins’ nursery.

Now, I’m not one to belittle the achievements of the little ones, particularly at a time in their lives when they need as much encouragement as possible.

But where am I supposed to put all of these creations?

The fridge is already covered – you can’t even see the rude word I spelled out with the fridge magnets in a moment of mischievous immaturity.

I could try calling the Tate Modern, but I’m not sure whether The Munchkins’ creations are off the wall enough, compared to a room full of dusty pot shells or a filthy bed.

Of course, it wouldn’t be so bad if there was just one source of the clutter, sorry artwork.

Unfortunately, the Old Folks are keen to nourish her artistic side – mostly in the form of wooden spoon men who appear to be massing an invasion force on top of our kitchen cupboards.

The problem is it’s hard to throw anything away.

The Old Folks are testament to that.

Their house is still filled with my youthful creations, dating back to my primary school days.

All of them are, of course, utter rubbish.

When the twins start bringing things home, it’s going to be even worse.

For a start we’re going to have to find room to display two of everything and that’s before they’ve even started asking us to judge which is better.

That’s a situation which will clearly call for some tough parental diplomacy, and the kind of subtle response at which I am hardly a master.

It will also call for a bigger cupboard in which to store all of these future masterpieces – after all it would be mean, wouldn’t it, to actually throw them away.

But what about those cereal boxes, bottles and hastily painted pictures of “night”, which are coming home right now?

Will any of the little ones really mind if we haven’t kept every last badly-glued memento?

As a parent it’s a tough call, which is why I’ve decided to rely on the theories of Charles Darwin and the naturally destructive nature of a four-year-old to seal their fate

If a creation survives half-an-hour of playing, it at least deserves a shot at survival.

If a creation falls into the recycling bin, well, that’s just a tragic accident.

That’s my story – and I’m sticking to it.