I was told once that having children meant that you would never be free again because they were hostages to your emotions.

I have to admit I have learned more about myself and become a happier more rounded person since I have had children.
They have let me see the world in a new way, to question the future and the past whilst I struggle with the present.
They have shone a light into the dusty cupboards of my life and I have become a new person with them.

Still there are things about having kids that knock me back, that make me tread carefully, that have really made me unsure about how the wold perceives me.

I blame the glitter.

Ever since Prole1 went to his first ‘art’ workshop aged 9 months I have been plagued by uncertainty.
Do I have a tiny bit of glitter stuck to my face?

The ‘tiny bit of glitter stuck to your face’ is the STD of the children’s ‘art’ workshop.
You don’t know you have it and for the most part it goes unnoticed but it singles you out in social situations and it is impossible to get rid of.

I always have a tiny bit of glitter stuck to my face. Just because I can’t see it does not mean it is not there.

All through Christmas I would catch myself in the mirror, a tiny flash on the forehead and it was gone.
I would then have to rock backwards and forwards until the light flashed again. Then it was gone.
I spent ages rocking backwards and forwards.
Surely life is too short.

Can you really pay attention to what someone is saying if they have a tiny bit of glitter stuck to their face?
I can’t.

In the early days I did not mind it so much.
In the early days though I would go out covered in glitter, pesto, baby sick and bits of breakfast cereal and frankly could not care less as I joined the ranks of other parents and we would nod hollow eyed at each other as we shared an understanding that eighteen months before we may all have been bright young things, flashing ultraviolet smiles as the DJ worked the ones and twos but now we just wanted some sleep.
And a tidy front room.
And for someone, anyone to come and clean the toilet because THERE IS NOT ENOUGH TIME IN THE WORLD.

Later as things levelled out, people in my house started sleeping for longer than three hours at a time and a tiny modicum of control came back into my life.
I liked it.
Sleep had a system, laundry had a system, food provision had a system, personal hygiene had a system. Sort of.

What I had no system for, what no one warned me about, what has devastated my life and house was the wall of cardboard tubes covered in bottle tops, crepe paper, sugar paper, newspaper, tissue paper screwed into balls and stuck to old bottles, painted boxes, drawings in chalk, crayon, felt tip, pencil and poster paint of all colours daubed everywhere. Sandwich boxes, take away tubs, cardboard boxes of all shapes, sizes and origin turned into cars, robots, binoculars, planes, submarines, worms, diggers, houses, castles, in fact anything the fevered minds of the Proles could come up with.
Paper plates, does anyone actually use a paper plate for eating off? The ones I see have pasta PVA’d to them and splurged with paint.

And glitter, glitter, glitter.
It is a common ‘art’ technique to paste glue all over an object and then pour glitter all over it.
You can shake the excess off if you like but the Proles like to keep things loose.
And glittery.

The phrase that keeps coming up is that it is ‘recycling’ and creating art.
It is not recycling, it is going through the bins and dragging out all the crap you can find and getting small children to Pritt stick it all together and then sending it back to my house in a form that is almost IMPOSSIBLE to recycle. Wrapped in sellotape and glued up.
There is not enough room in my house far all this stuff. At one point the Proles were averaging 14 pieces of ‘art’ each week.
At that rate we could be absorbing 728 pieces of ‘art’ every year.
Into one two bedroom house.
Each of these pieces of ‘art’ has immense sentimental attachment for the Proles.
Each one is like a Picasso to them.
The nice man on Antiques road show could value this stuff at thousands and the Proles would just laugh sheepishly and say no, these things have been in the family too long, they mean too much and they won’t be selling.

I wouldn’t mind if they were any good.

I have to get rid of this stuff.

I have a line of ‘art’ quarantine bags. If the ‘artwork’ within any given bag is not requested within 12 months then it leaves the house, never to return.
It used to be 6 months but recent uncomfortable questions from the Proles have extended the timings of the system.

I need to bring it under control.

But there is no controlling the tiny bit of glitter stuck to my face.
It’s not just handling the ‘art’, just being in the same house puts me at risk.
I will never know whether I have been infected or not.

I can deal with the big stuff, the threat posed to the Proles by eye operations, illness, heart conditions, cuts, bruises and the constant threat of being run over by an idiot.

The tiny unsettling everyday things are much more worrying.

It will be years before I can step out the door without worrying that somewhere there is a tiny bit of glitter stuck to my face.