Once upon a time two little monkeys spotted an open door. A door that is usually kept closed. A door that if it doesn’t have an actual “Mummy and Daddy only” sign on it, lacks one only because the other occupants of the household can’t read yet. It is the door to the studio and it’s long been a household rule that you only go into the studio under supervision. It has big things in it and heavy things and sharp things and pointy things and messy things and right now it also has partially constructed Christmas presents in it.
But one day the door was open. The monkeys had been inside earlier that day to do a little painting and so they knew what treasures might await. They knew that if they just tiptoed over the threshold they would be within touching distance of ‘the white box’, a veritable Pandora’s box of excitement. For while the monkeys have constant and unrestricted access to paper and crayons and pencils and stamps and ink pads and all sorts of moderately messy things in the boxes in the bottom of the cupboard in the lounge, they remembered the glimpses they had caught of treasures beyond imagination whenever the big craft box was brought out for a particular project. There were paper plates, and gold sticky stars, lots of glue sticks, scissors, a whole tub of jingle bells and beads and pipe cleaners and what seemed to the monkeys to be mound upon mound of endless glimmering glories.
The monkeys stepped through the door, and all was quiet.
It was the quiet that gave them away.
Quiet is always a dangerous sign that should not be ignored. And so Mummy and Daddy came to investigate and found the monkeys peacefully occupied in creating pompom masterpieces on paper plates with lashings of gold paint and a couple of loo roll inners for good measure. The content of the craft box was strewn about, tissue paper clouds gathered around paper stars in a very retro 50’s sort of celestial backdrop and a series of small gold fingerprints along the edge of the kitchen worktop evidenced that at least one small person had come in search of their drink, and it probably wasn’t Pip.
H and I paused on the threshold. On the one hand, there are very excellent reasons why the girls are not allowed in the studio by themselves (scissors, needles, sewing machine, iron, full size floor easel and the small matter or a number of paints and pigments that come with warning labels to name but a few) but something just held us back for that moment. After all they were already going to get the ‘why going in the studio without us is not OK’ talk and the ‘now help me clear up this mess’ talk, so why not let them finish their projects first. I’d like to claim it was all part of some deep rooted soulful logic, a respect for their artistic process and recognition of the value of their work or something along those lines (if perhaps a little less hippy-crunchy earth mother in the expression) but no, I’m afraid it was much simpler than that.
It was the quiet. Peaceful, beautiful, restful quiet, in which to do the washing up and have an actual conversation with my husband, to play peepo with Pip and watch for his smiles, or possibly even just to sit down with a sigh.
And so we stepped back into the kitchen.
Kitty finished a veritable masterpiece of tissue paper, fluffy pompoms, glitter and goodness knows what else she found rifling through the box, though it is sadly now a lost work of art thanks to some enthusiastic hugging of said masterpiece and her need to cart it around the house shedding twinkles in her wake.
And Elma? Well Elma’s creation was a little less intricate due both to her more limited motor skills and the sudden end of her artistic endeavours when she found herself being whisked away for a mid afternoon bath and intensive hair wash after inadvertently wandering underneath a stream of PVA glue that her sister was drizzling from great height down onto a piece of card in what I must presume was some sort of an attempt to play at being Jackson Pollock.
Now that’s what I call suffering for your art.