Father Of The Blog

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Father of the Blog

No Strings Attached

Originally posted on BabyCenter.com 04/01/07 

Three months straight, Olivia repetitiously pleaded for a pair of her own scissors. Having tons of practice cutting at preschool and various activity centers she was definitely ready. But there was one little problem, Kim and I were concerned that Hailey’s lack of sheering dexterity combined with her strong determined nature could be a dangerous combination. At what point do you sacrifice the learning experience of an older child while protecting the younger sibling from possible physical harm or mental anguish? We figured that close supervision would be the key, so Kim bought two identical training scissors and surprised the girls.

For the past few months Olivia has been methodically producing new and exciting artwork. She has evolved into a multi-media genius. Experimenting with papers, ribbons, string, yarn, cloth, anything clipable, also playing with several different tacking mediums, glue stick, tape, glitter glue, paints, hot glue gun (with my assistance), skillfully layering objects upon object. Her insatiable desire to create supersedes my own and I have a fine arts degree.

As predicted, Hailey was frustrated from the first cut. She had trouble holding the scissors. Her thumb ending up loosely in the big hole, her fingers crammed into the little hole, palms too small to open the scissors all the way and instead of trimming she’d end up tearing. Forget about explaining the correct way of holding and snipping to my independent thinker/doer, any assistance from me or Kim was (is) strictly prohibited. A few weeks of trial and error ensued and eventually she was able to make a few clean cuts. I was proud of her cut-above achievement and congratulated her, “You did it! Good job sweetie!” with high-fives, opposite her hand holding the scissors, obviously.

After a couple months of storing the scissors on a high shelf in Olivia’s closet we decided it was ok to keep them in the accessible-anytime craft box. This wasn’t a noticeable problem until Olivia’s slashing experimentation expanded from the limitation of her craft table or easel to any object she deemed detachable. I have caught her trimming the yarn-like hair from her groovy girl doll, by explanation, needed the hair out of her eyes. I also have found many of her little two-piece doll-house toys freed from the strings that hold them together, for instance, a miniature nightstand with half a string and a missing tiny hair brush or a bathtub figurine now minus a tiny washcloth. Also the doodle etch a sketch toy is now missing the etching pen. An alphabet caterpillar (I think that’s what it is) pull-along toy needed string repair. A wear around your neck toy drum is no longer wearable. On day she diligently chopped-up half of a fat neon green skein of yarn into tiny pieces, she was making grass. Do I ever stop her from what some may think is destruction? No. I say things like “I love your lawn, you manicured it so nicely.”

Am I negligent in teaching her what is right and wrong or am I allowing creative freedoms? All the lost or detached toys are irrelevant why not let her learn about the value of her possessions though making a few inconsequential mistakes. Until she finds my shoe laces or worse, my skates, I won’t keep her tied down. If I did, she’d probably cut herself free anyway.

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One Response to “No Strings Attached”

  1. March 20th, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Teresa says:

    Love how you write. I thought the same thing untill the oldest gave the youngest a hair cut. Well from that point on they had to ask to use them.

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