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Entertaining them all the way to the hospital


Last week my son and I made homemade gum.  I didn’t get any pictures- and you know how I just love fiddling with pictures- so my husband said, “Why don’t you write about the playhouse we’re building?”

“Why don’t I?” I responded, “Because that's way off-topic.”
He said, “Yeah. Like you've never been off-topic before.” 
With no comeback in sight, that pretty much settled it. 

Aside from being off topic I also (secretly) worried that anyone reading this would think I was being very irresponsible in my parenting.  I felt like I was saying, “Give them power tools.  They’ll entertain themselves all the way to the hospital.”
Stephen, somehow sensing my need to fool everyone into thinking I am Little Miss Perfect, rose to the occasion.  With joyous cries of, “Look at me! You’ve got to take a picture of this!” He promptly jumped off the top of the ladder in dare-devil fashion.   Not once, but Five Times.  Fool that I am, I took those pictures.  Thank you, son. Now would you like that horror movie before you go to bed?

So there you have it, this week's subject: playing with power tools.   Stephen’s club house was in dire need of repairs so we had some Labor Day fun ahead of us.  The roof needed shingles, the front peak needed patching and the sides are still awaiting panels. 
Eric said Stephen was old enough to learn how to use REAL tools.  I was squeamish at first, but the men assured me this is what men do.  
You know what the women do?  Everything the men walk away from.  Yet we are always scared to death when they pick up a wrench.  Why is that?  (Yeah, I know why- but don’t tell them!)

Step one: Teach him how to be a helper. 
We had him stay down and hand us things as we needed them so he could get a feel for how the job was done.  Eric even gave the Stephen the "You’ve Got To Start At The Bottom" speech. Kids are under the impression that to become the President, you simply have to volunteer for the job. But that's not uncommon for this day and age, they also seem to think they are contributing to the household by killing off aliens in a video game.   Seriously- how proud are they, completing a level and running to tell everyone in the house?  I feel absolutely criminal not handing the child a medal.  But I got off topic again…which seems to be the theme today. 
Eric tried to ensure that Stephen understood the responsibility he was about to undertake and the experience he would need to develop, one small job at a time.  That went over really well, because Stephen’s next response was to say, “Okay, then after I hand you the nails, I want to hammer in the shingles at the top of the roof.” Yes, Dear. That was exactly what we meant. 

Clearly, it must have been, because Stephen rose to the top of the work chain like no other child exploited for their labor.  One minute he was handing me nails, and in the next, he was getting a tutorial on how to use the drill.  From there he went just a little higher on the roof, and a little higher yet again, until, what’da ya know, he was hammering in the shingles at the top of the roof. 
I could seriously take 'slippery' lessons from him. 
~another show and tell from MY perspective~

 But let's take a step back.  Before he got to this level of the con, he had to suffer through another of our demented parental steps.

Step Two: Safety First!

Teaching eye protection was easy.  Stephen looks GOOD in glasses- and HE knows it. In fact, it was trying to get the glasses back off that was a problem. 
Teaching him to use the buddy system (just like in the pool, never do a job alone) was a matter of conquering the boy-cub-ego. 
As for tool safety, Eric had Stephen practice on the ground with remnants until Stephen felt comfortable with a tool.  Wise choice.  Turns out Stephen has all the confidence and bluster due a nine-year-old, and little bitty muscles to match.  He had grand ideas of simply guiding the powered screwdriver and plowing through the wood, zippity- zip. 
Ha-ha-ha!   (Oops!  Was that my out loud voice?)

The reality is tools don’t do the work, people do.  And that club house was a LOT of work. But so worth it- we'll have the fun of hanging out in it for years to come, but the best part is that I'll have these pictures forever.  See my favorite one below with that pinched face Stephen is making?  I'll have it FOREVER! Mwahahah!
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