Monday, October 27, 2008

After-School Projects

We were expecting flurries this week, but the cold weather went south instead, allowing me to continue my outdoor projects. When the kids walked in the house today, I had a flurry of projects waiting for them to help me with.

As soon as my 11-year-old walked out onto the deck, I asked her for help screwing in some hardware. I have been putting together a new wooden swing set for them, one phase at a time, with her help at the steps that say “a helper is vital at this stage”. I will put together as much as I can during the baby’s naptime, saving those parts for when they walk through the door.

I always think of working with my father when I am doing such activities. Together we built a deck and a table. I still have the table and it is as sturdy as ever. I am going to use it as a template for a larger one that is needed for my son’s upcoming First Communion. I suppose if I had an older brother, I never would have had the opportunity to become comfortable with drills and ladders. I am thankful for how things worked out.

We finished one “phase” and put our tools away. The baby was due to wake up, so I put dinner on and pulled out something for my 9-year-old to do. More bulbs! I have been purchasing new species at the rate of two boxes per week. So I had four more boxes of early-blooming bulbs, which hopefully will come up at the right time to add some color to the yard for the First Communion next spring. Together we picked the right spots for them and planted them, sprinkling cayenne both in the holes and on top of them this time, to repel both moles and squirrels from eating them.

My son was busy climbing trees. I felt I had to get him involved in something now. I got out the muffin mixes that he has put together quite well in the past. But he decided he would rather stay in the trees, and the girls were glad to have a turn making the muffins.

The baby’s project was easy: to eat eight out of the twenty-four muffins we had made!

I asked her, “Do you remember going food shopping with Mommy today?”

She nodded her head as far as it would go, her mouth full of muffin, humming an affirmative “Um hmm”.

“Do you remember helping Mommy pick out the mixes for these muffins?”

“Um hmm”, with another big nod.

“And do you remember hugging them and saying MINE?”

“Um hmm”, nodding and smiling even bigger.

Life is never boring here, and my children are always industrially busy, learning skills that will help them to be fruitful and independent adults. In the meantime, I am training them to take over many of the jobs that used to be solely mine. In a few years, who knows? I can orchestrate all the household projects from my desk while putting the final touches on my now-oft-neglected novels.

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