The baby’s first build

Growing up, my parents always included my siblings and me in whatever was happening at our house. Maintenance, building, painting, renovating, cleaning–we were all involved. Some of it was chores. Some of it was just how our family rolled.

Looking back, I can see how these experiences gave us confidence, responsibility, skills, teamwork, work ethic, understanding and much more. This foundation set us up for our own homes and our own lives.

I don’t think my parents necessarily thought too deeply about the long-term benefits their approach would have. They liked doing things with us and wanted us to be involved. Or they needed help, and they had 8 extra hands hanging around. … Or, more likely, they had 8 extra hands and needed to keep them busy.

Today, a year into parenting, my sense is that most people spend a lot of time thinking–and worrying–about how to raise our children. What type of person do I hope my child grows up to be? How do I help her become that? I don’t think our aspirations are too much different than those of our parents. But I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves and spend a lot of time reading different theories, trying different techniques and thinking about how to set our children up for success.

Admittedly, I’ve only been doing this Mom thing for a year. I have a long way to go, and I expect that we will face many challenges. However, I’m hoping that I can channel my own parents and remember how much I benefited from simply being involved in whatever they were doing.

Ellie and I did our first real build recently. You’ve seen her previously helping to make our invisible bookends and supervising some sanding. But this time she actually got her hands on some of the tools and materials. Of course, she also got her mouth on them too.

Baby playing with screwdriver and drill

My Mom gave Ellie a set of table and chairs for Christmas. I decided that since they were hers she should be part of putting them together.

Baby leaning on a box

I of course spent a fair amount of time making sure she didn’t drop the drill on herself, stick the screwdriver too far down her throat, cut herself on the scissors, or eat too much of the packaging. But we also had fun talking things through, finding the right pieces and putting it all together.

Baby excited to be holding a piece of wood

Fun is the best word I have to describe how it felt to build this little table and chairs with her.

Mom and baby sitting a child size table

I hope we have a lot more fun in the future. And I hope that she grows up to be a confident, capable, helpful woman, in part because of the things we do together.

13 thoughts on “The baby’s first build

  1. Too fun! I remember as a very small child “helping” my father wallpaper the walls in the house I grew up in, and then various building projects throughout my childhood. I try to do the same with my nieces and nephews. It’s great fun!

  2. Our children were always in there around us as we did tasks and so as a former preschool teacher, I engaged them in household chores, however small. I believe they’ve grown up feeling included and appreciating some of what goes into daily life. Get them hooked while they want to help and then when they need to help, they’re already a part of it. Good on you for including your daughter. Nice set of table and chairs too.

    • You’re right that there’s a time when cleaning or other “chores” are fun and novel. One of my nephews loved to sweep as soon as he could walk on his own. Now he helps a lot around the house and seems to like having responsibilities. I like that you made it the norm in your family, and I hope I can do the same.

  3. What great photos! She will benefit enormously from the skills she learns and from being included as a valuable member of the family.

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