Unexpected additions to the Christmas present list…

Between yesterday and this morning we discovered, much to our delight, that J is not only very skilled with hammer and screwdriver, but he also LOVES putting furniture together.  Who knew???!!!!

It was rainy yesterday.  No, correction…it was cloudy and definitely-not-outdoor weather yesterday, so J and I spent the day reorganizing the closets in the basement level, and then I decided (because he was starting to show signs of wanting to check the mailbox for the fourth time) that perhaps he would enjoy helping me with one of the cube-organizer units we had bought the day before.

In a nutshell -and I’m glad I set up the video camera for this, or Dada and TGG would have doubted my story- I ended up assisting J rather than the other way around.  He put the whole piece of furniture together with some help from me…such as pointing out to which page of the instructions we were supposed to be following.  At first I tried to be a little more hands-on, but then I realized J would have preferred me to leave the room and let him work in peace.  Because tools were involved, of course, I couldn’t just walk out and leave him unsupervised, but I basically just made sure I supported the pieces he was working on, and I handed him the tools required at the right time.

In half an hour J had put together a six-cube unit…today it took him 45 minutes to put together a 9-cube unit.  You’re probably thinking that I just wanted to get out of doing this myself.  To that all I have by way of a reply is: you have NO idea how much I love putting furniture together.  My husband will tell you that, over the past thirteen years, he has often found himself simply handing over things as I steamroll him out of the way when it’s time to assemble things.  Yesterday and this morning were exercises in patience for me, not because J was taking too long or was doing the job poorly, but because he was taking away my fun.

As I mentioned, I filmed J putting together the 6-cube organizer yesterday, and then I had the pleasure of watching Dada and TGG watching the video.  I wish I had taken video of them.  Classic!  None of us had any idea that J could use a hammer so well, much less while working on a 1/2″ wide piece of compressed wood that, sadly, can easily split and chunk off if one hits it with even the slightest of glancing blows.  For a person with rather large hands and fingers, J did all this delicate work without any help, and not once did he hit his thumb, miss the nails or harm the piece of furniture.

J’s ability to complete this type of task is a very pleasant surprise, but the even greater and even more pleasant surprise is that he LOVES doing it!  The smile on his face, the giggling…priceless!  Once he was done, he happily helped me stack the unit on top of one we already had, and then he helped me move books from another side of the room to the newly assembled piece.  This morning, when I told him to help Dada carry the other package to the basement level, J was skipping and laughing…he clearly takes after his mother.  (Lord, help us…if my track record is anything to go by, the kid will go into a lifelong pattern of giddily assembling things and then giddily re-arranging rooms.)

What does this mean?  Well, for one, when his new headboard arrives on Wednesday or Thursday, J will be the one who puts it together.  Furthermore, my plans to replace the old pine shelving units can now slowly be set in motion.  That is: I can purchase the kits and leave them in storage until J’s Christmas vacation rolls around and, on each snowy day when he is in the mood, he can put one together.  The old units will, for the time being, be stored in the garage until TGG is ready to move out and they are handed to him (as has been promised over the years.)

I am adding to my list of “things to get J for Christmas” a very simple set with hammer and screwdrivers, etc.  Needless to say he will be supervised and all safety precautions will be taken into consideration, as usual, but this is quite an interesting development.  He handles tools, nails and screws well, with such dexterity and self-assuredness that we are impressed and happy.  Another thing I’m adding to the list: wood project kits.  This, of course, will take research and planning, but I’m sure we’ll be able to find things J can work on and enjoy.  The prospect is exciting!

From the large basket where I keep all the PECS that we have not yet used because they haven’t been germane to our circumstances, I’m fishing out the HAMMER, NAILS, SCREWDRIVER, and so forth.  I’ve already sought out and learned the signs for these words…and our vocabulary and skill-set keeps growing…and growing…and it makes us all very happy…

Tomorrow, Sunday, we will take some time to work in the “garden.”  The weather has not been conducive to enjoyable outdoor time, but we will be taking advantage tomorrow.  As of Monday, J and I will entertain each other as best we can now that the four hours of summer program are finished.

I’m sure we’ll be ok.  I think we can now dare to push the boundaries of our comfort zone.  Very exciting indeed!



2 thoughts on “Unexpected additions to the Christmas present list…

    • I think that is one of the things we most hope for when it comes to our kids: that we find something they are good at and that it has a practical application. Of course, if I try to tell someone outside of our immediate circle, I will get the “nod and uh-huh” with a smile of fake enthusiasm…while, at home, we actually did our happy wild rumpus and celebrated like we did when J finally figured out the potty-training. 🙂

      It’s the little things!!!

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