In our house, we want our kids to be well-rounded. And not just when it comes to school and sports but also when it comes to hobbies, interests and capabilities. We don't want to raise a son who grows up and can't cook or do laundry or sew on a loose button. Nor do we want to raise a daughter who can't swing a hammer, use a riding mower, or install tile. We want our children to have a repertoire full of useful skills so that when they're grown they'll (hopefully!) prefer to do things themselves.
And so LP has watched us take on many a DIY project, from rebuilding the deck to putting up a swingset to painting rooms and refinishing hardwood floors. As a baby Paul would put LP in his carseat next to the car when he was changing the oil, talking through the steps even though LP certainly couldn't understand him at such a young age. And LP has hung out in my sewing room enough to know that I can take scraps of fabric and turn them into something useful- or into something fun. He's equally happy going with one of us to Home Depot to look at hardware or to Joann's to look at fabric. Our house is full of things that we did ourselves- from the updated electrical outlets to the art on the walls to the curtains on the windows. There's not one space in our home that we haven't DIYed or crafted.
Quite a while ago I'd picked up some plastic canvas and a large plastic needle with the intention of putting together a little sewing kit for LP. I never got around to it but today, after LP told me he wants his own sewing machine for Christmas, I decided it was time to start teaching him the basics.
Together we hunted through my box of yarn, picking the colors he wanted to use. It's my mother-in-law's birthday tomorrow so we decided to make a coaster for her tea from a round piece of plastic canvas. I showed LP how to thread the needle and how to take stitches on the canvas. He spent almost an hour sitting on the couch stitching his coaster.
His first attempt at sewing was very haphazard, but it's a start. He's learning the motions and eventually we'll move onto something more difficult. For now though, I love that he's interested in learning to do things without defining them as being something girls do or something boys do. For now, they're just things that WE do and I hope it always stays that way...
I know that it won't be long before Paul has Eliza out in the garage, showing her how to loosen bolts and change windshield wipers. Hopefully as long as we keep leading by example, and as long as our children are willing to listen and learn, they'll end up being those well-rounded adults we hope they'll one day be.