Monday, January 01, 2007

Thomas the Builder

This morning while Mommy and Sarah were napping, Thomas and I decided to ring in the New Year by assembling a kid-sized table and chairs. The pieces have been in the garage for a while, in one of IKEA's wonderful flat boxes, but he and Sarah are just now getting big enough to really appreciate having the table to play and eat on.

For those of you who haven't dealt with IKEA furniture before, it's pretty simple to put together. So simple that the instructions have absolutely no words. They're composed entirely of line drawings of something vaguely resembling a man performing the assembly of whatever the "thing" is. All fasteners and tools are provided.

Thomas jumped right in at the beginning, helping me put the pieces for the table and each chair in separate little piles. The first steps involved joining parts of the frames with wooden pegs, and Thomas was more than happy to "Push it!" once I'd gotten all the holes lined up (sometimes even before). Once things were pretty well framed up, it was time for the bolts. Upon seeing the little wrench being turned, Thomas lost interest in unfolding all the screwdrivers on my Leatherman tool and came to see what he could do. A few instructions later he was happily tightening the bolts on his chair. It took him a couple of tries to figure out how to keep the Allen wrench on the bolt head, but he had it down by the second bolt. With one chair assembled and tested, it was time to "do Gwacie's!" Pretty soon I had a little boy proudly playing on furniture that he had a real hand in putting together.

Thomas shows off his skill with a wrench!

Gracie appreciates her chair.

Thomas is proud of his accomplishment.

Can you tell that I'm pretty proud too? I was excited to see Thomas's enthusiasm and ability. Excited, because I learned pretty much every primary skill I have just as Thomas did today - by just being around and involved as Mom or Dad did things. Dad rarely took me aside and said, "OK, son, today we're going to learn about... hammers and saws," but I helped build more than one deck. We never did "Fire Building 101," but I helped gather and burn a lot of brush. I fondly remember "doing stuff" with Mom and Dad, and I'm pleased to find myself well-equipped for life as a result. I'm hopeful that my kids will get to enjoy many similar experiences, along with the future benefits they'll provide.

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